Sunday, 26th August – Singapore to Darwin

Sadly, we had to leave the Shangri La hotel this morning at 6 a.m. Yuk! What a stunning hotel, though…..

However, we were delivered in impeccable style and remarkable punctuality to Terminal 2 at Changi Airport in preparation for our flight to Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia. Australia! Today we are going to set foot on Australian soil for the first time! Wow!!

Those who know me also know how stressed I get about going through security at airports. I hate it. Not so at Changi. Checked in with the minimum of fuss, got through the passport checks and then found ourselves sauntering toward the boarding gate. It was only when we got there that I realised that the bag scanning process actually took place at the gate itself. SO much quicker and better.

Through in no time. Plane left 20 minutes late, and four and a half hours later we landed at Darwin International! Far too many screaming kids, but noise cancelling headphones are a wonderful thing…..

Formalities quickly concluded, and to a taxi to take us to our hotel – the Mantra on the Esplanade.

Talk about entering Australia with a bang….. About 15 minutes drive from the airport, a 4×4 turned right across the path of our cab at some lights and we basically T-boned it with quite a thump. Not the fault of our driver, but nevertheless quite a shake-up. No harm done to body and soul, but the front of the cab was quite badly damaged:

Welcome to Australia!!

Police called, formalities completed, and we were delivered free of charge by another cabbie with no further incident.

Once again, we were upgraded from a room to a fully self-catering apartment with a washing machine and everything! Loads of space!! We don\’t have to get up early for breakfast!! Brilliant!

It was also really nice to see a card on the table from our two daughters, wishing us the best on our adventures (plus a bottle of fizz in the fridge, which went down very well sitting in the sun on our balcony…..). A lovely touch.

Another nice touch was the towel arrangement on the bed. Being an old fart, I get a bit fed up with these, but this one was particularly good, IMHO.

Dundee the Crocodile. Geddit? 🙂

The apartment is large, but very plain and neglected – chips in the enamel on the bath, old style sink plug and other things indicating lack of investment. Certain elements take you back in time, like an old-style agitator washing machine like wot my Mum used in the 50s!! Not a bad view, though:

Meal in the hotel, which was OK without being brilliant, but the sunset was particularly nice:

Anyway, we now have 5 nights here. 2 days of leisure to get our bearings, then two pretty full-on tours beckon.

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