Darwin, Tuesday 2 April 2019

We docked at what appears to be a temporary cruise terminal. As we now had Internet access via the Australian mobile phone network, we caught up with phone messages and email. We received an email from Scott and Sally Petrick advising us that they had set off on their trip to the Kimberleys a couple of days ago. This was the only time that was convenient for Sally to take time off work. We were very disappointed to miss them, but this freed up our day a little. We will definitely catch up with them in July.

Disembarking the Majestic Princess at Darwin, ready for a day of adventure
Majestic Princess at Darwin Cruise Terminal

We had not booked any tours, but disembarkation was very smooth. We headed for the Big Red Bus and bought a $35 ticket each for the day. There are four double decker buses that travel a loop around Darwin, with 12 stops. Ticket holders can ride the bus and hop on and off as much as they like through the day. The top floor is open where the windows would be, and this allowed great ventilation when we were moving. The weather was warm and humid. Our first stop was at Cullen Bay, where we had a late breakfast at the Boatshed. Never had such a large bowl of muesli in my life! We originally planned to have lunch at Cullen Bay with Scott and Sally, but now we could have lunch elsewhere, possibly in the town centre.

To kill some time before we hopped back on the bus, we walked around Cullen Bay, which is a waterfront medium density housing development. Katie checked out a gift shop, and we immediately found a dress that suited her and will be perfect for one of the two remaining formal nights on the ship.

We enjoyed a long bus ride to East Point, which is a good place to have a picnic sunset. We started marking on our map provided by the bus company all the places we will come back to and spend time when we are back in Darwin in July, hopefully with Scott and Sally.

We disembarked the bus again at the Waterfront. This is just east of where the Majestic Princess was docked. We walked around shops, restaurants and bars, then walked up the Traveller’s Walk into the town centre.

Katie at start of Traveller’s Walk
History of Traveller’s Walk

The hub of Darwin is the Smith Street Mall. After looking at hundreds of watches over the past year on the Sun Princess, in Hong Kong, in Australia and on the Majestic Princess, Ian finally found the watch he was looking for—a solar powered Casio G-Shock digital watch that is water resistant to 100 m. However, our tummies were telling us it is lunch time, so we found Shennanigans—an Irish pub of the same name as the one in Maitland. We had a huge lunch—Katie had Thai beef salad, and Ian had fish ‘n’ chips, which he usually did on Friday lunches when working. The Guinness (Ian) and lemon, lime and bitters (Katie) helped to rehydrate us.

Katie hopped back on the bus and rode most of the circuit back to the cruise terminal. Ian walked back to the mall to reconsider the Casio watch, which he eventually bought for $129. Ian then walked back to the Waterfront across Skywalk and tried some One Mile Brewery Red Ale and IPA as part of his research into craft beers.

Skywalk to Waterfront
Waterfront

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Mile IPA
One Mile Brewery commitment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We met up back in our cabin. We had had a big day in Darwin, and hit the sack early after a quick snack in our room. Tomorrow, we had to get back to ukulele practice, including Brown Eyed Girl. By the way, saw this caravan that made me smile…

Nice van

The Poyer’s and Moonshadow Dinner Cruise, 15 March 2019

Wharf 1 at Nelson Bay

We have not actually started our overseas or national travels yet, but we took the opportunity to use Matilda the motorhome and try out a top restaurant in the Port Stephens area with family. Together with Ian’s cousins Lesley and Phill of Nelson Bay and Avril of Old Bar, Ian and Katie boarded Moonshadow at Wharf 1, Nelson Bay, to enjoy twilight cruising on Port Stephens. Moonshadow has a bar that was very popular, and Ian was pleased that it served Whale Ale from the local Murray’s Brewery. We disembarked at The Poyer’s restaurant at Lemon Tree Passage for a four-course dinner.  

Friday night rowing

This function was fully booked with 70 guests on board.

Settled in Moonshadow

The dinner was delicious, and most guests purchased wine to accompany each course. Course One was Oyster Champagne Sabayon (a single oyster in its shell with a lovely sauce). Course Two was a choice of Scallop a la Provencale’s or Goat Cheese with Smoked Speck, Walnut and Croutons. Course Three was a choice of Barramundi, Olive Oil Potatoes, Asparagus, Capers, Lemon Parsley and Croutons, or Canard a l’Orange. Course Four was a trio of Crème Brulee, Banana Trifle and Chocolate Mousse.

Lonely oyster
Goat cheese salad
Scallops
Two Rivers Cuvee
Rutherglen Pinot Grigio
Barramundi
Duck a l’orange
Trio of Desserts

The serving portions were small, but very nicely presented. Service was excellent. However, it was surprising that there were no bread rolls, or bowls of shared vegies to help soak up some of the alcohol.

We had a calm evening cruise back to Nelson Bay after dinner. We had set up Matilda on Lesley and Phill’s driveway. Dexter enjoyed the company of Lesley and Phill’s dogs–Meeka and Gidget–while we were on our dinner cruise. He slept in the motorhome with us.

There were thoughts of running the Fingal Bay parkrun with Dexter the next morning. However, we had a slow start to the day after a big night out, so we gave it a miss. Overall, it was a good first travel adventure for these two grey nomads.