After being let down by two German girls (who attempted to palm off their tragic car from the 80s on us just before it broke down on their way to meet us) we booked flights from Perth to Darwin, via Bali of course. Having previously visited Bali I wasn’t too fussed about ever going again, but when the flights were cheaper to fly Perth-Bali-Darwin than they were direct from Perth-Darwin, it seemed like a bit of a no brainer. Kerry really wanted to visit Bali and having just reunited in Perth after almost a year, we were like two kids in a sweet shop booking flights.
Bali was… character building. But we were excited to get to Darwin and give our organs a bit of R&R.
We were sadly mistaken. Darwin is absolutely thriving. I would even go as far to say it’s one of my favourite places in Australia so far. It’s the dry season here now so it’s full of tourists and backpackers alike. There’s something for everyone in Darwin. Every single night of the week you can find live music and dance on the stage in Monsoons (which is now our Oceana Leeds of Darwin). There’s a safe swimming lagoon down by the waterfront where you can cool off (for free) without fear of being ingested by a croc. Or for a mere $7 you can enjoy the wave lagoon (not advisable on a hangover).
Down at Mindl beach every Thursday and Sunday there is a night market with yummy food stalls, live music and a beautiful sunset to top off the evening.
There is plenty to do around Darwin too; Litchfield national park is a day trip away and Kakadu national park is about a 4 1/2 hour drive away which we have booked to visit on a 3 day trip next month.
We initially arrived at Crack Den Central aka Gecko Lodge and were greeted by alcoholics, drug users and hectic aboriginals. It’s fair to say our 2 night booking was 2 nights too long so we checked into Dingo Moon. Here we have resided for the past 4 weeks. It’s quaint, has a pool, free laundry and free breakfast and if you’re a backpacker you’ll understand the importance of free stuff.
We made the classic backpacker mistake of coming to the Northern Territory in search of regional work (88 days to be completed in either agriculture, fishing, pearling, mining or construction). Without this we can’t extend our visa for a second year.
We assumed there would be lots of work here and the weather lured us in. Upon arrival we sharply realised that in fact there was zero farm work. Not a single piece of fruit to be picked. Nothing. So we popped our CVs in a few bars, restaurants and hotels and landed a job together working at a hotel.
The hospitality award in WA and NT means you earn $23p/h Monday-Friday, $27p/h on a Saturday and $32p/h on a Sunday plus extra bonuses for working past 7pm. So it’s pretty good money when you compare it to the UK minimum wage. But let’s not forget we are on a working holiday visa here, emphasis on the holiday. So yes, we are going out and getting absolutely obliterated and sleeping in until 2pm when we get the chance. That’s what backpackers do. Deal with it.
Our plan is to stick it out until August when I will really have to pull my finger out and organise my regional work. My visa runs out in December so I don’t want to piss around much longer or else I’ll be getting deported. So until August it really is just a case of work hard, play harder.