Friday, 28 December 2007

Never Smile at a Crocodile

I went to Crocodylus Park with my Mum + Giles. It's a wildlife park near the northern suburbs of Darwin, specialising in... you guessed it... crocodiles. If global warming destroys human habitats and we are no longer the dominant species then crocs are sure to take over. I for one welcome our reptilian overlords.

This trip left me completely dehydrated and I ended up sleeping for hours to recover. It is the hottest I have been in a longest time. Remember to rehydrate regularly. I didn't and I paid the price.

Giles + Mum at Crocodylus Park

Spot the log-look-alike crocs in the big pond

Mum + Giles looking at some caged animals

... or they will be eaten

One of the giant grumpy boys who measure around 5 metres

Monday, 24 December 2007

I Wonton Eat Them

I go through stages where I cook dim sims from an old family recipe of a friend of mine. Christmas Eve needed some flava so I made 60. They were all gone in a blitz. The most popular where the ones I stuffed with chillis. Must remember that in future.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Fish n Chips at Darwin Wharf

There is nothing like the fish and chips at the wharf. The whole Madden family went out for a very good dinner in a fantastic setting at sunset. We fed our left overs to the giant bat fish who hang around waiting for the easy carbs.

The barra and chips is about $6 and is too big for a mere mortal to finish. G + I didn't get through it but the bat fish and seagulls helped. If you get to Darwin one day, do try this.

The wharf overlooks Darwin Harbour which is much bigger than Sydney Harbour but not nearly as deep. The biggest ships I've seen here are naval vessels. The Americans used to frequent this place when I lived here but they don't seem to be around at the moment.

A welcoming sign for the people who arrive in Darwin by ship

One of the Paspaley Pearls boats

Bat fish on a high carb diet

A classic Darwin sunset

A boat coming in to the harbour

Nightcliff Jetty

The Nightcliff Jetty is a haunt for Darwin youngens and it was for G + I. G lived near here and even used to swim around here. He swears the crocs will just leave you alone. I'd rather be leaving the crocodiles alone. Take the initiative to save your own life - that's my ethos.

It was a beautiful tropical day. We were able to stand on the end of the jetty and watch a huge thunder storm hammering Palmerston in the distance.

Walking down the boat ramp

Walking on the rocks near the jetty

At the start of the jetty

This is Darwin relaxed

The jetty

A storm over Palmerston, in the distance

We really were here

Looking west

A Very Elfy Christmas to You

A message from G + I.

Cold Rock

Ice cream was invented for people who are trying to cope with living in the Darwin heat. Yes, it's true - I looked it up on Wikipedia.

There is a shop called Cold Rock who have a large slab of granite that is cooled from below. You go in and pick your base ice cream flavour and then add any extras you want and they mix it together on the rock for you. The video shows a chocolate base with jaffas and marshmallows.

I love this place on a hot day!

Making ice cream at Cold Rock

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Hey Sweetheart, please don't eat me

The Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery is worth a visit. I manage to end up there every couple of years and it's entertaining and educating each time. It's not big but the taxidermists are pretty freakily good at what they do.

One of the famous exhibits here is Sweetheart - a large saltwater crocodile who liked to fish for fisherman. Maybe he was restoring the balance. Famous for attacking, flipping over and biting through tinny fishing boats through 1978-79, Sweetheart was killed when they tried to capture him in Finnis River. The rope wrapped around his muzzle got tangled and he drowned. He died before his time and when they examined him they found he was an active male crocodile with all the working bits. When they opened him up his stomach was packed with egrets, tortoise, fresh long-necked turtles and a big pig that the croc catchers had tried to use as bait to catch him.

He weighed 1114.27 kg and is 5.4m long. You can visit Sweetheart now in a not so scary situation. He was preserved not long after his death by taxidermist Ian Archibald.

Giles next to Sweetheart

You would not want to meet this croc in the wild!

Witchetty grubs taste like peanuts IMHO

Spiders you can find in Darwin

A boat from Asia on display at the museum

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Cane Toads Are Ugly!

The other night after my Dad had mowed the lawn, we were visited by a disgusto cane toad. Like true tourists, we were out with video and stills cameras. Poor toad was freaked out by the freaky tourists.


The Driving Heat

G + I drove around Darwin to see what has changed and what has not. Someone moved the tank farm. That's different. Everyone has a personalised license plate. That's the same.

The Tank Farm holds petrol and diesel

Check out the size of the truck next to the huge tanks

The Port of Darwin has moved to the Trade Development Zone

A funny Darwin plate

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Intervention

It was bound to happen some time. An intervention in to my drinking habits. Well it finally happened and it was by the Federal Government :)

G + I found the only Vintage Cellars in Darwin. It's on Cavenagh Street down near where Darby's nightclub used to be all those years ago when I was young and underaged.

We were shopping for Christmas day and after we'd collected most of their stock of Chandon and Belgian beer, we headed for the counter in search of Grey Goose.

While dismissing the ludicrous suggestion of drinking Belvedere Vodka instead, the guy serving asked for my license. I assumed it was for the large amount I was putting on my Amex but it wasn't. I asked if it was a "darwin thing" and the bottle shop guy told us it was due to the intervention. If you buy more than a measley $100 worth of alcohol or 4 casks of wine then they need to take your details and ask where you will be consuming it.

So there was an intervention into my drinking by the ex-PM. I just hope that I manage to skew the numbers so they count all those bad NT drinkers who drink champs, Belgian beer and French vodka :)

Monday, 17 December 2007


The best laksa in the world or at least that I've ever ever had is from Rendezvous. Over 15 years ago, there was a very popular laksa place that everyone in Darwin knew about. It made the best laksa in town. Tourist books mentioned it and "down south" papers reviewed it and raved about it. The owners decided one day that they were over making laksa and thought they'd sell up and buy a nice little French bakery in the Smith Street Mall. It would mean pastries and something different to laksa.

Darwin is a small place. The laksa addicts hunted them down and kept turning up at the little French bakery asking for their favourite laksa. The owners realised their witness-protection had been exposed and they went back to making and selling their delish laksa out of the French bakery. All for less than $10.

That is why you will find the best laksa in Australia being sold out of a cafe with a French name :)

My chicken laksa

Mekailaeh's beef rendang

Giles' chicken + pork laksa

Sunday, 16 December 2007

The Darwin Makeover

Darwin City has changed a lot since I was last here. The old Darwin Performing Arts Centre is now called the Darwin Entertainment Centre (DEC) and looks fantastic. The outside entrance area has a sheep shed look about it with lots of corrugated iron, red Australian wood and blue tiles. I had to stop when we were driving by just to take photos.

There is a lot of development going on in Darwin City now. The buildings suit the environment with their openness for airflow and bright colours. Mitchell Street is a highlight of the city and the rest of the place is filling out. I wish it was like this when I lived here all those years ago.

Looking down Mitchell Street from under the roof of the Darwin Entertainment Centre

A new building in the new Chinatown area on Smith Street

A red flagged carpark in Chinatown

More colour

Chinatown is coming

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Low Tide at Casuarina Beach

A visit to Darwin is not complete without a visit to Casuarina Beach. G + I heard that area had been revamped so we checked it out. The tide was at it's lowest and that made the view quite beautiful. If only swimming wasn't so risky.

A windblown Giles

Looking west

Me with the low tide in the background

Outside in the Hot Room

My mum's garden is full of life. Here is some of it...

Bird's nest near Mum's pond

Pretty orange flower

Hibiscus bud

Sprinkler head

Spider near a lilly on the pond

White orchids

Ants on another orange flower

Ant flower again

A yummy leaf

A lizard on the back verandah