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Celebrity Solstice Asia & Australia Blog #3 from Darwin

Ben Hall

We’ve made our first port of all in Australia in Darwin, the Northern Territory’s vibrant capital city and popular holiday destination on board Celebrity Solstice as she heads towards Sydney to begin the cruise line’s first ever full season Down Under.

(For questions or feedback check out our cruise blog.)

Darwin is a city with influences that are as much Asian as they are western and it’s becoming increasingly popular as a cruise stop on Australian and Asian itineraries. It’s no longer a sleepy outpost on Australia’s northern frontier. This is a well appointed city with a youthful and ethnically diverse population blessed with a strong economy and it’s establishing itself as an exciting holiday destination and romantic getaway in its own right.

The first thing you notice about Darwin, and it was the same on arrival this morning, is how hot it is up here. The climate is a major influence on the development and temperament of Darwin. Sharing the weather patterns of ‘Monsoon Asia’ Darwin’s climate tends to fluctuate between balmy and sultry depending on the season, but it encourages an outdoor lifestyle that is the envy of the rest of Australia.

Strangely Darwin has the reputation for doing the best breakfasts and the town itself has some great bars and cafes, but it’s also the gateway to world class national parks such as Kakadu and Litchfield.

Ship tours often take in Litchfield as it can be easily done in a day and on the way you can visit Crocodylus Park which is a privately funded wildlife research and breeding facility that is open to the public. They specialise in wildlife conservation, management and sustainable use. Large estuarine crocodiles are fed twice daily in the main pond where they exhibit their ability to propel themselves vertically to catch their food. There is an educational museum dedicated to crocodiles and there is also a range of other local and exotic wildlife on display at the park.

Also on the outskirts is the Territory Wildlife Park which showcases the unique flora and fauna of the Top End of the Northern Territory. The park is set in 400 hectares of natural bush next to Berry Springs Nature Park and the highlight is perhaps the Birds Of Prey show, the billabong aquarium with walk through tunnel, the nocturnal house and one of the largest dome aviaries (walk through) in Australia.

Litchfield National Park is centred on a sandstone plateau called Tabletop Range. Water from springs and monsoonal rains have created a number of impressive and attractive waterfalls and cascades some of which are ideal for swimming.

Litchfield National Park’s Florence Falls is an idyllic waterfall and plunge pool perfect for swimming. It can be reached via a staircase into the valley then along well formed track through small monsoon forest. Florence Falls is fed by the same creek that creates Buley Rockhole a few kilometres upstream. Buley consists of a series of terraced waterholes that are also ideal for swimming. The two sites are linked by a walking track that follows the creek most of the way. Together Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole form one of the most beautiful locations in the Top End.

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