Saturday, June 13, 2009

Darwin By Bicycle

With only a few days remaining before I head back to the beautiful California I thought it was time to do some real sightseeing in Darwin. So far I had spent most of my time recuperating between exploits into the Northern Territory and beyond, and not done much other than a few walks in central Darwin.
Luke had suggested renting a bike, when I had asked him about places to go in Darwin, so with that in mind I booked an afternoon Bicycle Tour of Darwin. However, when I showed up at the Holiday Shop they told me that, unfortunately, nobody else had booked the tour, and they had tried to reach me earlier, unsuccessfully. However, I could do the tour myself, and equipped with a map, bike and helmet I set out on my own. I biked along the shaded trails in the Centennial Park, enjoying the view out over Fanny Bay.
After being lost for a bit, trying to find the continuation of the bike trail, I found myself on the right track, and biked out to Mindil Beach, were I got off to stretch a bit, and take a few photos of the deserted beach. As you can see from the sign, it does not exactly entice you to take a swim - even though the water looks inviting in it its blue and turquoise splendor! But the chance of a close encounter with one of the notorious box jellies definitely keeps me out of the water! Besides, Luke had told us that they had removed about 200 salties from the harbor after the wet season - another deterrent!
Instead I took a drink out of the drinking fountain, snapped a few photos, and biked on. I passed the casino, the high school, part of the botanical garden, as I kept the ocean on my left, and stayed on the trails until I reached the East Point Reserve.
It was pretty hot, but I saw no ice-cream parlors or other outlets for refreshments, other than a fancy looking restaurant along the way, so I found another drinking fountain, took a few more photos, and then proceeded to the end of the trail. By now it was well past 4 PM, so I headed back, getting myself lost a few more times, as the trail ended, and there was no mention of where to pick it up again! (They need to work a bit on their signage for us poor tourist bicyclists, I reckon!)

Eventually I found the right way, and pulled up at the Holiday Shop a few minutes past 5:30 PM. I apologized for being late, and wanted to pay, but to my amazement they would accept no payment, it was complimentary, because they had not been able to reach me to let me know the original tour was cancelled! How kind and generous was that!

As I walked home I was a bit sore in my legs not to mention butt! After all I had bicycled a respectable 16 KM which equals exactly 10 miles that afternoon, and it's been a while since I was last on a bike! It was a great way to see the city and surrounding areas, and definitely something I would do again!
I was tempted to join the evening crowds at one of the outside cafes for a glass of wine, but decided I better get myself home and take a shower, I was hot and dirty from the dust of the trails. Besides, once I sat down I knew it was going to get though to get going again!

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