FOR locals, Kerry Morse, husband, Alan and son, Corey, it was a chance to explore the outback at the top end, but while there they discovered a million-dollar reason to visit Darwin and surrounds.
The trio first spent three nights in Darwin at C2 Esplanade Serviced Apartments, with Kerry recommending the accommodation to anybody thinking of heading north, saying they were spacious and modern with harbour views and a close walk to shops and restaurants. It was wonderful in the top end, with the warm balmy Darwin nights providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy eating outside in the many open-air restaurants.
During their stay in Darwin, they headed out on the Darwin Harbour for a morning fishing trip, and while they enjoyed cruising around pulling in plenty of Golden Snapper and Cod, the Barramundi eluded them.
While on the charter they heard about the annual Million Dollar Fish competition that was about to start, and so the family made the decision to add that to their itinerary. Once registered you have a chance to catch a tagged one million-dollar Barramundi. In 2018 five of the $1M fish were released along with 100 $10,000 dollar fish, and with those odds, the Morse family were keen to catch a ‘Barra.’
While they didn’t end up catching the million-dollar fish, Alan showed off his skills and managed to finally net three Barramundi.
Next they hired a Nissan X Trail for seven nights and set off early for the drive to Jabiru in Kakadu National Park (approximately 250km from Darwin). With three nights booked in Jabiru this was the perfect base for exploring Kakadu.
Kerry said an interesting place to visit while there was the Cahills Crossing on the East Alligator River. From there you are able to spot many crocodiles feeding on fish with the incoming tide. You can see just how many there are with the family spotting about 10 saltwater crocodiles in the murky water alone, and you can bet there are many, many more hiding beneath the water’s surface.
They then left Jabiru and headed south to Katherine. Taking a detour off the main road they took the opportunity to travel over a very dusty and corrugated road to visit Gunlom Falls. Although they had been to Gunlom Falls before, this was definitely the highlight of the trip and the Morse’s say it was an area they would have loved to have had the chance to stay longer at.
They moved on, staying three nights in Katherine, spending their first morning on a three hour cruise at Katherine Gorge. When booking the cruise, it included time for a swim in the gorge and the trio were glad it did, as they were able to take in the beauty of the cliffs and surrounding gorge.
On the way back to Darwin they visited the beautiful falls and waterhole at Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park. It was a lot busier than they expected. You are able to swim right under the waterfall and listen to the thunderous noise of the water falling on and around you.
They also visited Berry Springs for a swim on the way back to Darwin, a waterhole well worth a visit. Luck smiled on them, with the waterhole being closed the following day due to a crocodile sighting.
There are many must dos in Darwin including having a meal at Stokes Hill Wharf, sitting back with a drink and movie at the deckchair cinema, taking a stroll around the Mindil Beach Sunset Market, the Darwin Military Museum and taking in the famous Cyclone Tracy exhibit at the museum and art gallery.
Finishing off the trip with four nights back in Darwin, Kerry, Alan and Corey got on their third fishing charter, which they say was a long day and actually took them back into Kakadu to Corroboree Billabong; a stunning area with lots of wildlife and vegetation, including lots of pink water lilies; a wonderful finish to a trip to the top end.