Friday, March 4, 2016

Australia Trip Day 1: Darwin

I could have slept longer and saved on my cab fare since the flight was delayed for 1+ hours. Truthfully I thought the flight was kinda overwhelming. There was no inflight entertainment, one of the toilet was not working properly (continuously flushing), and the plane crew were chit chating very loudly at the back. I was expecting something more from Silkair.

Darwin is very hot, even when there are plenty of clouds in the sky. It is a small city and there are not many cars although the roads are big. It seems to be kinda quiet too. Despite not preparing anything, things were pretty smooth. The airport shuttle was just outside the terminal and less than half an hour later, I reached the hotel: Double Tree by Hilton. Hot chocolate cookies were provided as welcome gift but I still feel pissed that no free wifi simply because I did not book directly from Hilton website. The hotel was facing the Esplanade but I went to explore Mitchell St behind the hotel in search for water -drinking water of course.

With the limited map I had, I failed to locate the bus terminal. The whole street is basically the life of they city although a lot of the eateries were not open yet, perhaps waiting for dinner time. Mitchell Centre is a saviour with Coles supermarket which is open until 10pm. No worries for stocking of water. I walked to the end of the street to reach the Darwin Waterfront. There was no way to estimate the distance from the map so 15-20 minutes walk to reach there was reasonable. Honestly there is nothing fantastic here. The so called Wave Lagoon is a very shallow fake beach. The sea is walled to form a safe wave pool so photos taken are not exactly great either.

Next target was Mindil Beach. Based on the estimation of distance and timing from hotel to Darwin Waterfront, it would take at least 45 minutes. It was basically walking from the east end of the city to the west end. There is a bus terminal but I have no idea how bus system works here though I know which bus number to take. I was too shy to ask strangers too but anyway we had no coins.

We walked via Smith St Mall which had all the shops already closed. My mum and sister were struggling along the way. I offered them a taxi while we saw one but they said no since they thought I was referring to the beach opposite the hotel. At the junction between Cullen Bay and Mindil Beach, my sister took out GPS and it cost us 15 minutes. Bleah.. I still trust the old paper map and road directions.

Mindil Beach is an utter disappointment. I know the night market only opens on Thursday and Sunday but I did not expect that the beach would be completely deserted on other days. We reached past 7pm and the sun was already setting. To reach the beach, we were supposed to walk over a humped area and next to the passageway, there was a notice 'Do Not Enter'. After passing the third of such thing, I decided to walk over the passageway to realise that the notice was meant for the vegetations surrounding the passageway!! Those passageways are the correct paths to reach the beach.

I am so glad that there was a taxi at the Skycity and it only cost us $10 to Mitchell Centre. After all the walking, I could not imagine walking another half an hour to walk back. The taxi meter was quite scary though. It was literally 10 cents per second. The whole street was bustling with life at this time and I am not worried about dinner for the next 2 days. Hehe.. Anyway we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant at Mitchell Centre because I had not had rice for the whole day. The food was quite authentic but I am a bit sian because some soy sauce splashed onto my shirt. We went for grocery shopping before returning to hotel.

There was a shortcut from Mitchell St to the Esplanade and it is actually through the Double Tree by Hilton Esplanade. It is a hotel just next the one I am staying at. Well I did my research and I could not find major difference between the two so I decided to choose the one with higher rating. Bleah.. the other one is better because it is also nearer to the busier part of the Mitchell St.

Oh well.. another 4am day again tomorrow for another adventure tomorrow..

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