See the new but feel the old! The stylishly designed convention centre, the hotels and the trio of contemporary apartments form a horseshoe of buildings around a brilliant green park softened with the low swaying branches of the rain trees and the fragrant smell of Frangipanis that say “this is the tropics”. The grass of the waterfront looks manicured, the trees create a wonderful umbrella of shade and the footpath is buzzing with people heading out to breakfast or coffee. It’s early so the wave pool is quiet but a few people cool off in the nearby sandy lagoon.
Now close your eyes and imagine some massive contrasts. On February 1942 45 naval ships, moored in Darwin Harbour, were attacked by Japanese bombers and much of the wharves and City Centre were damaged. The towns air-raid sirens screamed and pandemonium prevailed. Then in 1974 another major disaster struck. This time Cyclone Tracy launched a vicious attack – houses were totally destroyed and bits of roof and metal girders flew through the air dangerously attacking everything in sight. Darwin was pretty much flattened.
There’s a Heritage and Cultural trail that brings to life this fascinating history, pick up a brochure from the Darwin Waterfront office or download map here. Start at Traveller’s Walk, this walkway up the side of the escarpment was reconstructed in 2000 and dedicated to Darwin’s pioneers. The Mosaic Art Project is beautiful, a collage of art and a collection of bottles, stones and ceramics you will find along the way.