Seconds after mentioning to a colleague I was going to “Aquascene” on the weekend, I know she was internally “rolling her eyes”. For anyone who is a “local”, “Aquascene” and “Crocodylus” (where they have jumping crocodiles, and an experience where you can swim with crocodiles) must be the “ultimate tourist attractions”. And yeah, why not, “I’m a tourist”, I thought to myself.
“Aquascene” is located on the harbour where you can literally go and “hand-feed fish”. But it’s only at high tide, when fish come up to the water’s edge in search of food. For us, it was an early morning start, as the opening hours were limited to 0800-1000. Despite the early hours, lots and lots of people (from little-ones to grey-nomads, and those of us in between) were happy to oblige. We had a terrific time. The water around my feet was surprisingly warm.
From there, we caught the bus to the Parap Markets. The coffee alone was worth it. We wandered around, enjoyed the sights, the food, the stalls and the fabulous sounds. Amongst those spotted were former ABC and Channel 9 weather presenter, Monte Dwyer now back in the Territory, it seems, selling travel and adventure books he has written.
While we enjoyed the awesome coffee at a nearby shop, Sue ordered a hire care for the weekend. Though we hadn’t planned to, we thought this would be a good idea, allowing us to travel a little more broadly.
From there, we caught a bus to the Museum and Art Gallery, so Sue could experience the Cyclone Tracey exhibition. Previously when I’ve visited the exhibition, I was quite upset at entering the darkened room, where they play some of the sounds from the night the cyclone hit Darwin, devastating the city on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. There’s a warning for former Darwin residents of potential triggering memories as you enter the room. Going into the room with another person made it less upsetting, though the sounds of the strong windows and the corrugated iron scraping along the bitumen remain nonetheless confronting.
On picking up the hire-car, we headed straight out of town towards Humpty Doo, where we had lunch at the pub.
On spec, we took a turn off the road to visit “The Lake Bennett Resort”. “This feels like an old church youth camp”, Sue commented, and I agreed. It’s a resort based around an artificial lake. On arrival, The owner and manager warmly welcomed us in. “Please have a drink and stay for the sunset”, they said. Though it would have been awesome, we were keen to get back to Darwin before dark. The owner mentioned her plans for development of the resort, which sound exciting. “Good luck”, we wished her, as we made our way back to Darwin.