Home' LOTL : August 2006 Contents 42
TOP END GIRLS
To me, Darwin has always
seemed terribly exotic. In my
mind’s eye, Darwin was in the
middle of a rainforest, probably filled
with Tropicana architecture, a whole
bunch of male and female Mick Dundee
types, and copious crocodiles.
Imagine my curiosity, then, to receive an
invitation to explore some of Darwin and
the Northern Territory during Darwin’s
own 21st Gay and Lesbian Pride festival!
“Gays? Lesbians? In Darwin? Really?”
I said. The answer: You betcha!
Darwin turned out to be almost entirely
different from what I expected. It isn’t a
bush-whacked outpost: instead, Darwin
feels like a large town – untouched by
big-city worries but with a surprisingly
earthy and international outlook.
Perched on the edge of Australia, Darwin is
surrounded on three sides by open water
and has a sky so bright, cloudless and blue
that it almost hurts your eyes. With the
area’s flatness and a strange treelessness
since Cyclone Tracey, it feels as if you’re
standing on the rim of the continent.
Despite this sense of isolation, Darwin
is a vibrant and tropical place where
the cultures of immigrants from over 60
countries mix together with Australians
and Darwin’s traditional owners: the
Larakia Nation. And yes indeed: the gay
and lesbian scene is alive and well.
As I travelled around the city, I was calmed
by how peaceful the place is and how
relaxed and unbothered most of the locals
are with each other and with all visitors.
That attitude didn’t stop at Darwin’s
gates, either. It was the same when
I ventured out of the city.
Only a couple of hours outside Darwin
is the Australia the world recognises:
the quintessential Northern Territory: the
dusty browns, reds and greens of Kakadu
and Nitmiluk National Parks. These are
places where the original Australia is
discovered – and it is awesome.
While one week is hardly enough to soak
up the entire region and everything it entails,
I did compile the following list of Must
See NT hotspots for first time visitors.
AFTER AN ADVENTURE INTO
AUSTRALIA’S TOP END,
DISCOVERED A VIBRANT,
Kakadu (Photos courtesy NT Tourism)
LOTL visited the Northern
Territory courtesy of NT
Tourism. Visit travelnt.com
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