Darwin in my dreams
I am a person full of contradictions. So much so that sometimes even I am amazed at myself. I am that much organized with some things, mostly frivolous, as I am unorganized with other things, mostly very important ones. On one hand, I can’t proceed if I don’t have a system in place, and on the other hand, I keep on procrastinating till it is too late. Did you know I am a compulsive list-maker and that I have meticulously prepared a long list of pending things? It is another matter that I have not fulfilled any of them. What is the point of making a list if I don’t even bother to take it up, you may ask. Well, that’s how contradictory I am. Now you know.
But if I had to tell you one thing I am good at, that would be my travel plans. I love to plan and research and dream before embarking on a trip. While the husband is more of ‘spur-of-the-moment’ and we-will-see-when-we-will-need-to-see types, I obsess about the predicaments we might find ourselves in if we don’t plan ahead.
Recently, I came across a place called Darwin in Australia in a travel and living channel and since then I can’t stop dreaming about visiting the place. On my own, for a change. I have been secretly doing some research on it and maybe I will share my plans with you. I have no idea if this travel dream of mine will come true but there is no harm in planning, is there? So, here goes my PoA:
- Destination – Darwin.
Darwin is a remarkable land with interesting character. Situated on the Timor Sea, it is the capital city of Northern Territory, Australia. I was surprised to see the diverse cultures existing in that tiny patch of land, ranging from South-East Asian to Greek. The mystery behind the presence of South East Asian origin inhabitants in Darwin cleared when I saw that it was an important Australian gateway to countries such as Indonesia and East Timor, although the aboriginal people of the Larrakia language group are the traditional custodians and the first inhabitants of Darwin.
There is an interesting story behind how the region came to be named Darwin. Apparently, Charles Darwin, the renowned British naturalist, had once travelled on the ship that docked in the harbor of the region. In honour of his illustrious former shipmate, the ship’s captain named the port Darwin. By the early 1870s, this little known part of land had become the source of a gold rush in Australia. Presently, Darwin is one of Australia's most modern cities.
I would like to spend around 4 days in Darwin and my travel dates would tentatively be 13th September (outbound) and 17th September (inbound).
- Places to see/things to do
Darwin is absolutely my kind of place. A place where I can get lost in the midst of nature, the lush green tropical forests and the bubbling brooks. Some places where I can dip my feet are the refreshing pools of Berry Springs Nature Park. I might as well take my binoculars along the loop walk – bird life is abundant in the park and the clear pools are flush with a variety of fish and other aquatic life.
Litchfield National Park is another place I am keen to visit in Darwin. The varied landscapes of this pristine park offer vistas of giant magnetic termite mounds and towering sandstone pillars of the Lost City. There are also a number of delightful short walks within the park, such as the Wangi Falls Walk which leads to a viewing platform above the waterfall.
Berry Springs (Image source: www.jazclass.aust.com)
Termite mounds at Litchfield National Park (Image source: flickr.com)
I would also like to spend some time in Howard Springs, a quiet and picturesque hamlet on the outskirts of Darwin. Reason? The Barramundi Fishing Park – a billabong teeming with more than 3000 barramundi, where I plan to try out my angling skills and luck.
Another place I would not like to miss is the mining town of Jabiru, located in Kakadu National Park, an area famed for its exquisite lush and remote landscape. The park is apt for birders and wildlife lovers like me and is also known for its culturally significant ancient rock sites. Besides, there are many walks such as the Bowali Bike and Walking Track which is a 4 km track winding its way through woodlands.
Kakadu National Park (Image source: www.40before30.com)
My stay in Darwin would not be complete if I don’t visit Charles Darwin National Park. It is considered to be a perfect getaway for Darwin’s streetscape and a popular haunt of mountain bikers. The park protects wetlands, significant aboriginal cultural sites and interesting wartime artefacts.
- How to reach
Here comes the most important part of my travel plan – how to reach Darwin at the most economical rates. Thankfully, for this I don’t need to break my head - the amazing portal of Skyscanner is there to help me out. I just need to fill in my preferred dates of travel and I am presented with the all the routes possible to Darwin, the cheapest fares coming first. The best part in this portal is its ease of navigation. It is absolutely simple and hassle free and at the same time comprehensive, taking into account all the major airlines.
Here’s a little step-by-step sample of my flight plan to Darwin from Mumbai:
I chose the cheapest option of Rs.61476, of course.
- Where to stay
And again, I will reserve my energy here. Instead of spending hours surfing the internet, painfully staking out the best place to stay in Darwin, I shall rely on Skyscanner to find the same. If you take a look at the pictures above, you will notice that the moment I started searching for flights to Darwin I was asked if I needed a hotel in Darwin, too. I clicked on the ‘Search’ hotels and to my joy a long list of hotels appeared on my screen. I could take my pick based on my budget, location preference, amenities offered and attractions nearby. There are scores of reviews and they helped me decide on the hotel quite efficiently. Here, take a look at ‘my hotel’:
Not surprisingly, I opted to go for the cheapest deal at Rs.31942.
- The budget
Finally, we have come to the most important part of this travel plan. At least for me. A friend of mine had once told me sagely that you need only one lakh rupees for a trip abroad. That thought has stuck with me and when I started planning for Darwin I kept one lakh rupees as my approximate limit, excluding food and travel within the city. I was unsure whether I shall be able to book flight tickets and hotel room within that budget. Now I know that I can, with the help of Skyscanner! My total expense of flight tickets and hotel comes to Rs. 93,418. Isn’t that a great deal?
So there, I let out my secret plan. I have realized now that if I work smartly, taking help of sites such as Skyscanner, planning a trip is not much of a headache. It is, in fact, a time and money saver and I can enjoy my stay in Darwin concentrating on sightseeing alone. Here’s hoping for my wish to come true, then. Maybe my plans won’t go waste and one day I shall be able to visit the place of my dreams – Darwin.