Darwin, Northern Territory (Part 3)

Hi everyone, I’ve been busy with Smallville-marathon (just started season 3) and Exhibition (Ekka). Now I got more task to do both for my blog and my academic life.

But, anyway, I’m still continuing my Darwin journey. This time I visited the Northern Territory Parliament House. Uniquely, inside the Parliament House there is the Northern Territory Library. NT Library is the place where I stayed for the next 3 hours after my lunch.

First, I went to Level 1 (mind you, in Australia a building storey starts with ground floor) where I went to the toilet. After that I entered a room. It turned out to be public seats in the House. The Westminster-style parliament seating seems very similar to the parliament seating in Canberra as both use green-leather seats.

Since there is nothing to do in the public area and photography is forbidden, I walked around Level 1 only to see the former and present Speakers of the House.

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From Level 1, I was surprised that not only Northern Territory and Australian flags were hoisted but also other states (I reckoned Queensland and New South Wales flags thanks to State of Origin games; South Australia thanks to South Australian election; and Western Australia thanks to the swan on its flag) and even some Pacific nations such as Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati; and even more surprising Timor Leste’s flag.

I went to the “backyard” of the House to see Darwin’s Esplanade from afar. There is a café and fountain located in the “backyard”.

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Darwin is still virgin, I must say compared to its southern cousins. If only Darwin is more vibrant like the east coast, I wouldn’t mind migrating to Darwin (and not forgetting grocery prices as well as the importance of Native Title for the Aborigines).

There is a souvenir shop before you exit but it was already closed when I was bound for airport.

NT Library is Northern Territory’s equivalent to State Library in other Australian states. It is the smallest state library that I ever visit. Perhaps of the population size of Northern Territory (which is only about 200,000).

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NT Library entrance with the flags of Vanuatu and Fiji

I spent my time there browsing the web since it is free. The library was filled with backpackers, one example is the guy who sat across me who is from Germany.

I was also quite surprised to find that Indonesian newspaper Kompas is subscribed by the library. I also found Singapore’s Straits Times as well as other international newspapers. SLQ, please do the same thing!

About 4.45pm CST, one of the librarians told us from table to table that the library is closing and the internet connection would be switched off 5 minutes before 5pm (which is the closing time). I was among the last patrons to leave the library, concerned about not visiting the exhibition on the second level of the library. That’s the problem if your transit time is too short.

After I left NT Parliament House, I went back to Darwin Transit Centre (or was it Mitchell Street Transit Centre) to take the airport shuttle back to the airport. It hadn’t arrived yet. I asked a man who works for the company saying that the bus would arrive at 8.30pm. Damn! The only things in my mind were either take taxi or miss the flight. I thanked the man and rushed back to Darwin CBD.

Taxi was nowhere to be seen, even if there were all were occupied. I tried to call Darwin’s taxi hotline but I didn’t understand what the recorder was saying. I was somewhere between Mitchell and Smith Streets. I thought may be there were taxis at Visitor Centre which is located just next to Civic Centre (and my previous post has shown).

Just before I got there, I found a taxi driven by an Aborigines man. YAY!

I told him to go to the airport. I felt totally relieved at that time. Well, another down point took place when I reached Ngugrah Rai Airport actually.

I asked him how long would the journey be. He answered, “about 15 minutes”. He asked me back what time was my flight. I said it was at 1940 and he replied “still a long time”. Long time but I need to be there 2 hours in advance. We then chatted about where was I from, what did I do in Australia etc etc. Then he talked about the differences between Darwin and other Australian capitals.

When we reached the airport, I paid AU$26 for that taxi trip. He said, “Thanks, mate, you’re a legend!”

“A legend” synonymous to Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Kevin Crease or because I might be the only Indonesian student to ever transit in Darwin on my way back home?

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be back with posts on my short journey to Surabaya and Ekka.

N.B.: In my opinion, Darwin deserves better than what it is now.

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Darwin, Northern Territory (part 2)

After that ‘heart attack’ at Coles, I went to Subway to have lunch. I don’t want to talk about price again. Then, I took a stroll at Smith Street Mall, Darwin’s answer to Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall or Adelaide’s Rundle Mall.
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Believe me, I have never seen a shopping area so quiet like this. No Myer, no David Jones. Target department store is located at Casuarina shopping centre if I’m not mistaken.

Across Smith Street Mall is Darwin’s Visitor Information Centre.
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I didn’t go in since I had not much time in Darwin (only 4 hours).

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So far, this is the tallest building in Darwin’s CBD that I had seen. I believe this building was also used for the opener of Darwin’s National Nine News on Channel Nine Darwin (NTD-9) between 2006-2009. Channel Nine is the only television network that provides local news bulletin for Darwin, apart from ‘Aunty’ ABC.

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This is the Northern Territory Parliament House located near Darwin’s Esplanade. The territory library (NT Library, equivalent to SLQ) is oddly located inside the building. You are welcome to go inside after security screening.

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Still in the same compund, I believe this is the Supreme Court.

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This is Darwin’s Esplanade. Finally after more than five months, I saw sea again.

That’s my post for now. I’ll be back on Monday because tomorrow I’m going to UQ Open House at St Lucia campus for the whole day. Enjoy your weekend.

Copyright: myself 2010
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Darwin, Northern Territory (part 1)

Let’s proceed with the second part of my Darwin journey.

After landing, I looked for my luggage at the conveyor belt. It didn’t come.

I asked a Qantas staff saying that my luggage would be transferred to my next flight. Sigh.

After that drama, I went to buy a bus ticket to Darwin. It costed me AU$24 for the return journey. I haven’t fully used the ticket, by the way.

I took a city guide from the visitor information centre at Darwin Airport. It covers from accommodation to shopping. This guide actually did prevent me from getting lost.

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This photo was taken on the airport shuttle shortly after the minibus left the airport premise. Earlier on, the temperature was 13 degree Celsius in Brisbane. Then, suddenly it felt like 31 degree.

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Somehow Darwin reminds me of home. Yeah, welcome back to the tropic.

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The bus then turned left towards Stuart Highway, I believe this is the most important highway in Top End.

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Unlike any other Australian states or territory, Northern Territory’s flag has no credit for the Union Jack.

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This is PowerWater pipe. It provides water to all Northern Territorians. Believe it or not, Darwin’s dam capacity is always full compared to other Australian capitals.

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Apartments are springing up at an accelerated rate in Darwin. Unfortunately, the purchasing power is not that high, leaving many apartment units empty. Anyway, I do believe Channel Nine Darwin (NTD-9) city camera is somewhere around here.

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Darwin’s population is only about 100,000 yet the public transport system is as good as other Australian capitals. Denpasar, my hometown, on the other hand has a population of about 500,000 but the city council does not provide a public transport system as good as Darwin (I hope the TransSarbagita buses will operate soon enough).

A one-way ticket on Darwinbus costs you AU$2 however the ticket is transferrable within 3 hours time. Meaning, if you travel at 10.00am and get off the bus at 10.15am, for example, you do not need to buy bus ticket again if you are planning to take another bus before 1.00pm. This idea is also applied in Brisbane and Perth. A daily ticket costs AU$5 and concessions need not pay at all.

Not long after, the airport shuttle stopped at almost all Darwin’s major hotels dropping off some passengers. This was taken in one of the hotel stop. The army’s training was reported by Channel Nine Darwin (NTD-9).
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And finally, I we arrived at Darwin Transit Centre next to Mitchell Street. My first stop was Coles supermarket at Mitchell Centre. I was shocked to see most of the prices are more expensive than Brisbane’s. Yet, Darwin is Australia’s closest capital to Indonesia (where things are damn cheap compared to Australian standard).
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Copyright: myself 2010
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