Sunday, January 15, 2017



I went across the huge bay at DARWIN (most often called DARWIN HARBOUR although I would have thought "harbour' means a more localised area) to MANDORAH PIER  -not to see the western COX PENINSULA, but because I was thinking SEALINK's ferry trip there and back would be a bit of a cut-rate harbour cruise - with the plus of something to check out between trips. Didn't work out quite like that.

SEALINK's ferry at the company terminal CULLEN BAY abt 4km north of DARWIN CBD.
The ferry runs daily on approx a 2 hourly basis - GOOGLE the website for times, prices. 

CULLEN BAY to MANDORAH PIER is only abt 6km (40 mins) - this is way shorter than the 125km drive around the south end of the bay for COX PENINSULA commuters/shoppers. Frequent buses (#14) connect CULLEN BAY with the CBD - timed to connect with ferry arrivals.

Cabin interior pretty comfortable, had big screen TV, reasonable priced snack bar, good aircon - however......

....I spent most time out on the rear deck checking the landscape.

I have to say my "SCENIC CRUISE" idea was a bit of a bummer - the landscape both sides is flat and featureless (apart from the higher buildings of downtown DARWIN). And even if you timed your journey to coincide with sunset, you would not have the cap'n jinking around to offer best perspective - nor the wine and bikkies: let alone the fish dinner with champers.

I got a bit of a shock on arrival at MANDORAH - there is nothing there but the pier: even the tourist pub closed down a few years ago. But a kind local gave me a ride up to the nearest town, WAGAIT BEACH.

Desolate MANDORAH. 
WAGAIT BCH looks more impressive with its close grid of streets but if you look carefully only half the blocks have been built on. The rest covered with bush - this is no bustling place: I saw few people or vehicles.

My kind driver dropped me at WAGAIT's Main Beach which is probably as good as DARWIN's best. Note impact of low tide on beach width. The usual croc and wet season stinger warning signs dissuaded me from a dip, despite the 40C temps. 
Not a sole around - not even dogs: it was too darn hot!

"Few people or vehicles" - for instance, this is the street between the beach and town central - those are suburban blocks at the side. Looks like a country road.

TOWN CENTRAL - this is the municipal library. Had free PCs and delicious aircon. I donated a read paperback for my freeloading. 
Worked a charm....until the power blackout hit.

So I wandered over to the general store (its backup generator was thumping away), bought a beautiful cool beer from the refrig - and then walked the 4km back to the pier.

Pier has multiple landing stages to fit various tide levels.

Ferry arrival delayed an hour and loading on the bottom level on account of lowest tide of year - timetable variations announced on website.

Overall my "harbour cruise" was hardly a success from the aesthetic point of view. However the day was not a waste of time - I did enjoy wandering about MANDORAH/WAGAIT BCH.

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