The Spirit of Drawin and a glorious sunset. Below: Captain Darren in full flow with his commentary. Photo by Deanne Scott
One thing Darwin does better than most places is sunsets. They are simply magnificent as the sun sinks into the waters of the Arafura Sea in Fanny Bay in particular. One of the best ways to enjoy the daily, and often applauded, event is by joining the dinner cruises that sail out each afternoon.
There are several boats and all are different, and my wife and I chose the Spirit of Darwin, which a large double-decker catamaran. There are smaller boats – even a former pearl lugger sailing ship - but if its comfort you want it’s the Spirit of Darwin.
We boarded at Stokes Hill wharf at 5 pm ready to set sail on a 2.5 hour cruise around Darwin Harbour.
There was a great atmosphere on board as we were welcomed by Captain Darren and his wife Michelle – and a glass of bubbles (or beer or soft drink). After that it was buy your own from the bar at pub prices.
The air-conditioned lower deck was set restaurant style and for those of us who had booked dinner, tables were reserved.
The upper deck was for viewing, benches and tables and chairs range all around and they gave all patrons a perfect view of the surroundings. But here’s a tip. On the lower deck right at the bow end is a smaller space with a few beanbags. Try to grab one of those for the perfect view and comfort too. We did that and were very happy campers.
We watched the harbour views (and the slowly setting sun) and sipped on more bubbles as Darren gave an extremely well informed and fascinating commentary on what we were seeing, with heaps of historical data that left me wondering why I didn’t know more about the origin and growth of the lovely city.
When the sun had gone the other crew member, Bianca came aground with delicious canapés before we went inside and sat at our table before joining the queue for the buffet. That was delicious and there was heaps of it. Roast chicken and pork, heaps of prawns (and I enjoyed the best prawns for ages in Darwin) and for dessert was an assortment of cakes and slices and fresh fruit sticks. That was true value too for it was just an extra $30 on top of the tour cost.
After that meal was another treat - fish feeding from the bow of the boat. We were given slices of bread to toss into the water and the fish came right to the surface - Bat-fish apparently. Sometimes Queen Fish, Trevally, Barramundi and even Sharks have popped up for a feed.
It was a great experience - and Darren and Michelle had a lot to do with the fun and friendliness of the evening out. I thoroughly recommend it as I do a Darwin holiday in the dry season.
The cruise costs are: adults $70, senior $65, students $30,children 13 & under free. Add on another $30 for dinner.
A drinking problem up front of the boat.
Fish frenzy at feeding time.
The bar. Photos by Deanne Scott