Darwin – Day 1. Getting there

Our flight to Darwin was scheduled for 8.35am. To get there (I live about 40 mins from Melbourne Airport) meant leaving home at 5.30, and dropping the car off at the airport parking place. What I didn’t plan for was missing the turn off to the airport and having to drive across the Westgate Bridge, getting off the freeway and straight back on again in the opposite direction so I could take the correct exit. All this wasted about 15 minutes. Once I dropped off my car and we got the transfer bus to the airport I was able to relax.

In my opinion, the efforts airlines have gone to to make it “easier” to check in are only making it easier for them to not hire terminal staff. Even though we checked in and chose our seats before leaving for the airport, we still had to spend about 10 mins trying to understand the new check in system. It doesn’t seem to save passengers much time.

Next stop was the food court to buy some breakfast. I can’t eat before a flight until I’m safely checked in and ready to board the plane. We had at least half an hour to fill in before boarding so we were able to relax and watch the planes come and go from the Qantas terminal. Once we boarded we had to wait for forty minutes because a passenger had to get medical clearance before he could fly. Unfortunately he chose to tell the flight attendant after he had boarded.

To get to Darwin, you fly right over the centre of Australia, including Alice Springs and nearby Uluru (nearby being a relative term). It is while flying over the centre that you realise how Australia really is the wide, brown land. I sat in the window seat so was able to look out of the plane for a lot of the flight. There’s not a lot to see apart from the desert but it has its own beauty.

contrast

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Lake Eyre

Lake Eyre (above) is Australia’s biggest lake. It covers 9,500sq kms and is the lowest point in Australia at 15m below sea level. It only fills once every fifty years on average because it is in an arid and semi-arid part of the driest continent in the world. There are smaller floods every three or four years but they only fill it up to 1.5-2m. It is divided into two sections. The section in the photo above measures 65km x 24 km. It is a salt lake and the salt is up to 50cm thick at its thickest point. I was really glad when we flew over it. I didn’t really know the path we would fly from Melbourne to Darwin.

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