Yes, we’d crossed the portal into a parallel universe. But at least it was Tropical-Paradise-Cliché universe! Balmy breezes wafted through the open walls of the pub where we kicked back, drinks in hand, admiring the endless white sands, tropical palms, blue water and skies. Bob Marley played in the background. ‘Best in the world’ (albeit self-nominated) barra* and chips** on the way.
So what was wrong with this picture? Well, nothing – as a point-in-time snapshot, BUT …
- We weren’t staying in the nearby accomodation
2. We’d miss the evening entertainment
3. In a couple of hours we’d be on the ferry back to Darwin, SO …
4. we only had time for one more drink!!
And if that wasn’t enough to throw us into a raging depression, the next morning our June 08 Top End odyssey was over as we began the long drive south.
Yep, it was literally all downhill from here.
Apart from that, OK!! Actually, MORE than OK as the barra & chips arrived and we put our troubles aside to treat this great meal with the respect it deserved. Either that, or the Bob Marley had blissed us into a trance … or maybe it was the drinks 😀
As we cursed the lack of foresight that stopped us staying for at least ONE night at lovely Mandorah across the harbour from Darwin, we vowed to one day stay a little longer in this idyllic spot.
It’s a 130km drive from Darwin to Mandorah – at the time apparently on roads the polite would describe as ‘indifferent’. But it was all hearsay to us – we took the easy option! For a modest levy of around $25 per adult return, the 7km, 20 minute SeaLink ferry ride from Cullen Bay Marina Ferry Terminal across the harbour is your portal to paradise! That’s if you can ignore the perils lurking beneath the water’s sparkling blue innocence – signs at various strategic points around the harbour warn of crocodiles, sharks, stingers and stingrays. And you don’t see any of the locals taking a dip …
From the wharf or pub, there’s no sign of the Wagait Beach suburb where a few hundred locals live – while it’s close by, we were too busy with our barra and chips to take the walk. There IS a sign of what some locals do, however, with jetty fishing and boat launching aplenty visible from our vantage point.
Back down the Cox peninsula road are World War II sites, creeks, more beaches and wetlands – but taking the easy ferry option, as we did, means they’re out of reach for a day trip with no transport. BUT … put all the parts of Mandorah together and they make a perfect recipe for an idyllic few days!!
So one day we’ll head off the tourist trail once more to fully explore the delights of Mandorah. But just like famous OZ poet AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson and his vision of Clancy***, the visions of that paradise sustain me through times of trouble and despair, while the promise of travels to come keeps me sane …
* Barra = Barramundi, tropical fish extraordinaire, and ultimate aim of most northern OZ fishing adventures!
** Chips, NOT fries!!
*** Non-Australians may well require a translation to fully appreciate the nuances of this OZ gem!
- More things to do in Darwin
- Road Trip from Adelaide to Darwin
- More of Red’s Northern Territory Adventures
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