This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2011 Travels February 13


It was pleasant to have a normal sort of breakfast, in our apartment. Grapefruit and toast.

Spent some of the morning relaxing, and watching the marina activity from the balcony. Being a weekend, there was quite a bit of boat movement, in and out.

Looking across towards the Marina entrance at Cullen Bay

Went out and walked around the Marina complex itself, up at the end of Marina Drive, where our apartments were. It did not seem to have changed much since 2006. There were similar food outlets, including Yots, the Greek establishment where we had dined then. It was still expensive! Much as we’d enjoyed the food back then, we were not tempted to eat there again, this time.

There were some empty shop fronts and the place did still seem a bit dead.

Cullen Bay was developed in the 1990’s, by enclosing a natural bay to create a sheltered anchorage, for pleasure craft. The surrounding housing and accommodation, and the small commercial area, were developed at the same time. In 2006, we’d caught the Mandorah ferry from its terminal by the marina entrance.

Cullen Bay Marina (Wikipedia).Apartment complexes on the left and central Darwin in distance

We had a sandwich, “at home”, for lunch.

Looking the other way, from our balcony

Went out driving – felt the need to do something, rather than stay all day in the apartment.

Went to have a look at the newer port development along Frances Bay. There had been a lot more industrial development since we last saw it.

Frances Bay

Continued out Tiger Brennan Drive – very pleasant motoring along that – to Berrimah, East Arm and the Ghan Railway Station. Mainly, we wanted to check out the route and access, for later on. It was small, and closed and there was really nothing to see. Just another industrial area out here. People arriving in Darwin, for the first time, on The Ghan, would definitely not get a very favourable first impression of the city.

After that, drove back towards the city and out to Fanny Bay where we bought fish and chips for dinner. As we’d headed back from East Arm, the sky was looking increasingly black and rain seemed imminent, so we’d decided an early meal was in order, rather than venture out later in poor conditions.

Ate our meal sitting out on our balcony – it really was a most pleasant spot. The food was a bit pricey, having cost us $30 for snapper for two, 3 potato cakes, a dim sim, and a heap of chips. We drank our last bottle of wine.

After tea, John watched football on TV. I read and did some of the embroidery I’d brought from home. Predictably, it rained steadily from before dusk, on.

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2006 Travels August 16


Some, reading this, might wonder why we were not visiting the better known tourist attractions in Darwin, like croc farms, the wonderful Museum, the fish feeding, and so on. Reason was that we had been to these places on previous visits; in my case, repeatedly. So this filling-in-time sojourn was more for filling in some gaps and visiting lesser known attractions.

We drove to Cullen Bay Marina, to catch the 11am passenger ferry across to Mandorah, from the terminal there.

The tidal fluctuations and water height inside the Marina are controlled by lock gates at its entrance. The ferry jetty was outside the actual Marina, in a kind of basin formed by a rock breakwater wall. This saves the ferries from having to go through the somewhat tedious and time consuming lock procedure. Presumably though, in bad weather, they would go inside and moor safely until it passes.

Resize of 08-16-2006 09 Mandorah ferry cullen marina view

Lock gates at marina entrance. Ferry terminal to left

Tickets cost $9.50 each. It only took us a bit under 20 minutes to cross the Harbour to the Mandorah side. We passed close by an LPG tanker on its way into Darwin Harbour and the port facility at Wickham Point.

Resize of 08-16-2006 02 LPG tanker

There were interesting views back towards Cullen Bay Marina and to Darwin City centre.

Resize of 08-16-2006 04 Mandorah ferry John & Mem

Darwin skyline in the background


The jetty at Mandorah had decks at different heights, to allow for the large tidal range. We disembarked onto a lower deck – tide was down.

08-16-2006 06 Mandorah ferry them & hotel

Mandorah jetty with hotel visible between the uprights

We were not impressed with Mandorah. It was all rather basic. A rough track led from the jetty to the nearby hotel. Apart from that, dusty dirt roads went in a couple of directions -but there did not seem to be anything around that was really worth walking to.

We had assumed we would eat lunch at the hotel. But the pub and its lunch meal offerings did not appeal. Decided to catch the 1pm ferry back to Darwin and eat there.

There had been some ongoing controversy over plans to build another hotel here, possibly replacing the existing one, possibly closer to the ferry.

The hotel had a superb setting, right near the sea. Outlook great. But visitors could mainly only sit around in a cement floored area, under a large roof formed by an overhanging building, at long communal tables.

Oh well, that was one more place crossed off the mental list of those I had long been curious about.

I had a text message exchange with daughter, about where we were, the markets tomorrow, and so on. She wrote about how, one day, they hope to travel, with the grandson in tow.

It was back onto the ferry and across the entrance to Darwin Harbour, to Cullen Bay.

Drove around to Nightcliffe and bought fish and chips, then drove back around to East Point, where we parked overlooking the sea and sat out on grass to eat our lunch. It was much more pleasant than at Mandorah.

Resize of 08-16-2006 07 Mandorah ferry darwin view2

Darwin as seen from the bay

While we were lunching, John took a mobile phone call from R at the construction company but finished the call somewhat confused. John “thought” the man said we were hired! There was apparently some talk of our training. It all seemed to John a bit confusing and vague though, with nothing definite re dates or meetings. But what did the man phone to say, if not that?

Went to a place called Fone Zone, at Casuarina. There, John spent $299 on some internet link up thing that might improve our internet access in the van. Emphasis on might.

Back at camp, we phoned our house sitters. They could not extend their stay at our place, because they had to go back to Tasmania.

M, who sold up her place back in 2004 and whose only home base was to stay with her mother, said she would live at our place and mind it and the cat, for however long was needed. She would time her return to coincide with the sitters’ departure. That solved more than one problem.

I tried again to suggest that I could go home. No joy!

Phoned son and daughter. Neither were happy about the idea that we would not be home until Xmas. Well – neither was I!

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2006 Travels August 11


Back into town where I wanted to check out a couple of aboriginal art galleries.

The first of these was a let-down, both in terms of the type of offering  and the prices set. We were not tempted by anything.

I was much more impressed at the Framed Gallery. Unfortunately, could not afford any of the several works that I liked. But bought a pair of earrings – silver Lightning Man figures – for $112. That was a lot for earrings, but I love the Lightning Man legend as depicted at the Nourlangie  rock art site in Kakadu, so just could not resist these. I was sure no one else I meet at home would  have anything like them.

We returned the little Colt, which had been great to zip around town in, and got Truck back. Whatever else one can say about the Defender, it definitely does not zip in city traffic! Just hoped  it really was  finally fixed.

Went out again for tea. Funny that I could not get too enthusiastic about cooking, myself!

Went to Yots Greek Restaurant, at the Cullen Bay Marina. This had been recommended by M’s friend who lived at the Marina, and she came too. Although the food was very pleasant, it was expensive – $120 for the two of us!

Resize of 08-16-2006 01 Cullen bay marina

Cullen Bay Marina and surrounding apartment buildings