Published: May 8th 2012May 4th 2012
We spent most of this morning in our hostel sorting out blogs and doing our washing. Around lunchtime we walked down to the other end of the town to go to the tourist info centre. We were planning a crocodile jumping cruise and a fishing trip for the next 2 days and we managed to get them both sorted with a little help from the locals at the tourist information centre.
Next we called into Coles on our way back from to the hostel and bought some basic backpacker rations which meant we had cereal for lunch! And we then caught the bus down towards Mindil Beach to take a look at the Museum which had been recommended by our tour guide Nick.
The museum had an exhibition in Cyclone Tracy which pretty much wiped out Darwin city on Christmas Eve in 1974. The buildings at the time had been designed with the hot climate in mind, rather than the tropical storms and so weren't built to withstand the cyclone winds, 49 people were killed, 16 were missing at sea and the majority of buildings were raised to the ground. After the devastation of the storm the building regulations were
changed to require at least one room (usually the bathroom) at the centre of the house to be reinforced so it could act as a bunker in case of another storm.
There was also an exhibition on Sweetheart, a 17 feet crocodile captured in Darwin. Sweetheart had been reported to have eaten several pet dogs in the same area and due to the highly territorial nature of crocodiles she was posing a threat to humans as well. The authorities decided to capture Sweetheart and re-home her elsewhere, however this wasn't as easy as they had hoped. After several days of tracking her movements they were finally able to tie her with a rope and sedate her. But they didn't realise that the sedation would also prevent her from breathing under water as she would normally be able to do and when they came to move her she had already drowned. She is now on display in the museum but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos.
After the museum we took the coastal walk along to Mindil Beach. This walk took us through the Darwin Botanic Gardens where we spotted a whole clan of mud crabs. We thought
there was only 1 at first but as we stopped to take a photo several others started to appear from little holes in the mud until eventually there were about 30 little Mud Crabs with bright red claws all in one little area.
We continued the walk through the Botanic Gardens and down onto Mindil Beach. The beach was very quiet when we arrived at about 5pm as it was still very hot at this time and you're not able to swim in the sea here for fear of being killed by Salt Water Crocs, Tiger Sharks, Box Jellyfish, Irikange etc etc. So as we walked along the length of the beach we were almost completely alone, apart from the hundreds of little Hermit Crabs that we spotted. They would lie completely still and hide inside their tiny shells when you were walking, so that you wouldn't know there were crabs in them. But if you stopped still for a minute or two they would start racing across the sand again. Will picked up one of the crabs to take a closer look but the crab didn't like this and so decided to abandon his shell and jump back
to the sand. We felt a bit guilty about having made him give up his home so we spent a few minutes trying to get the crab to go back into his shell but he was having none of it and just wanted to escape to find a new home. We had to leave him homeless in the end but we like to think that he found a shiny new shell to live in, and that he didn't end up as a tasty snack for one of the birds.
The sun started to set at around 6pm and the beach started to fill with others who had also come to see the famous Mindil beach sunset so we sat down on the sand to enjoy the views of the sun setting.
We caught the bus back into the city early in the evening and enjoyed fish (shark) and chips on the high street before hitting the sack.
There are more photos below