TER­RI­TORY TREATS

WHEN YOU AND THE TRIBE HAVE LIM­ITED TIME TO DIS­COVER WHAT AUS­TRALIA’S TROP­I­CAL CAP­I­TAL CITY HAS TO OF­FER FAM­I­LIES, TICK OFF THIS DAR­WIN HIT LIST

Life & Style Weekend - - ESCAPE - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: NARELLE BOU­VENG

CROC­O­DILES FIRST

Pri­ori­tise the crea­tures that make this place an eye-pop­ping pre­his­toric ad­ven­ture for all. You don’t have to go far to find crocs in Dar­win — they co-ex­ist in the heart of the city at Cro­cosaurus Cove. You will see some of the largest salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles in Aus­tralia here, but not only that, you can swim with them. It’s def­i­nitely not for the faint-hearted (young chil­dren or cro­co­phobe mums) but in­cred­i­ble to watch as a Per­spex ves­sel, which looks like a gi­ant tum­bler com­plete with “Honey I shrunk the kids” hu­mans in­side, is low­ered into a tank where mas­sive crocs are be­ing fed. It sounds scary (and I am sure it is for those im­mersed) but for kids this is a vis­ual feast of dar­ing ad­ven­ture. With van­tage points above and be­low the wa­ter, just try to tear them away.

ICE CREAM IS AL­WAYS A GOOD IDEA

For some­thing a lit­tle less heart pal­pi­tat­ing — and a good bribe post-croc — cool off with the best ice cream in town at Johnn Johnn’s. Lo­cated in Knuckey Street and with 48 mouth-wa­ter­ing homemade ice cream and gelato flavours to choose from, Johnn Johnn’s is a part­ner­ship by lo­cals, iron­i­cally, both called John. Johnn Johnn was a child­hood nick­name be­stowed upon one of them — Johnn Koenig — and it’s the nos­tal­gia of child­like ex­u­ber­ance that’s built this place into an in­sti­tu­tion. Hun­dreds of peo­ple line up for an ice cream fix at all times of the day and night. It’s worth the wait though as ev­ery­one will find a favourite. For me, the combo of taro and co­conut was sub­lime. It’s the most pop­u­lar with lo­cals. And for my daugh­ter Tiah, a scoop of blue­berry muf­fin topped with a dol­lop of mango sor­bet hit the spot nicely. Just say “yes please”.

SINK INTO A SUN­SET

Sun­sets are leg­endary in the Top End and there is no bet­ter place to en­joy watch­ing the molten ball — of­ten red in colour in these parts — sink into the Ara­fura Sea. With the kids play­ing nearby, a cold rose or beer in hand and a plat­ter full of fresh lo­cal seafood to devour, it does not get much bet­ter than the Dar­win Sail­ing Club. It’s also the per­fect place for an after­noon of sun and so­cial­is­ing with other fam­i­lies, with large grassed ar­eas for the kids to play and a beach out front on which they can frolic. The menu is rea­son­ably priced (even for seafood).

You’ve got to be quick to bag a prized front row seat, but this is one awe­some colour party you will not want to miss. GO CHAS­ING WA­TER­FALLS

Get up early — this is a day you will want to last — largely be­cause you will want to fit in as many wa­ter­falls as pos­si­ble in this stun­ning part of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory. Litch­field Na­tional Park is an easy 120km

drive from the city and, while a 4WD would be a bonus, it is not a ne­ces­sity to get a pretty sweet taste of life in Litch­field. Pack your swim­mers as there are so many ar­eas to en­joy wild swim­ming in re­fresh­ing nat­u­ral wa­ter­ways. Our first stop was Florence Falls where we could have eas­ily basked all day. Crys­talline wa­ters tum­ble down into a deep pool filled with cu­ri­ous fish and plenty of semi-sub­merged rocks to pause when you need to rest. This is also par­adise for in­flat­a­bles, so pack your own to join the bliss­fully bob­bing brigade. Ea­ger to see more, we ven­tured on to Wangi Falls and could eas­ily have stayed here all day too. With a cafe serv­ing a rea­son­ably priced lunch menu and some beau­ti­ful short bush walks to tackle, we ex­pended our en­ergy and then cooled off in the large la­goon un­der­neath the spec­tac­u­lar falls. The high­light was scram­bling up the slip­pery rocks to find a nat­u­ral spa pool etched into the rock­face. As a fam­ily sit­ting to­gether just soak­ing up some seren­ity was rare enough, but to be tucked be­hind a veil of mist­ing wa­ter while it gen­tly tick­led our skin and soothed our souls, well, it pos­si­bly doesn’t get much bet­ter than that. Travel writer and pho­tog­ra­pher Narelle Bou­veng ex­plores with her fam­ily in tow, in­clud­ing daugh­ter Tiah. She was a guest of Oaks Ho­tels & Re­sorts. See more of their ad­ven­tures at alit­tleat­large.com or on In­sta­gram. For more in­for­ma­tion on vis­it­ing Dar­win go to north­ern­ter­ri­tory.com

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