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  • Annie 182 posts

    Any recommendations please for Darwin? Either a hotel or a two bedroom apartment. Don’t care about the brand just want somewhere nice and preferably with a view. Only for two nights so not worried about price.

    LD27 171 posts

    In November 2022 we stayed at one of the Hiltons (can’t recall which one). They are adjacent to each other on the Esplanade, where we saw some great sunsets. I think we had sea view room too. We were travelling for 3 months so can’t remember much about stay apart from being the only people using the pool, which was great in the heat. Think we might have had breakfast but ate out mostly in some good local restaurants/bars which were close as were supermarkets.

    Things might have changed. But Darwin seemed to have suffered badly during Covid. A lot of places had closed and there were a number of issues on the streets behind the Esplanade and also close to the library and bus station. Walking to the hotel from nearby was fine but wouldn’t have wanted to go too far away late at night. But the experience was nothing like in Alice, which really was an experience, especially when the police arrived in force on horseback.

    Annie 182 posts

    Thanks. Will definitely choose something on the Esplanade then.
    We are going to Alice too, actually getting off the Ghan there. Will spend the day and time it so that we leave with enough light to drive to Uluru. I’ve long wanted to visit Alice but yours is not the first comment about it being less than delightful. Would you care to elaborate ?

    LD27 171 posts

    Sorry didn’t respond sooner but travelling through Germany at the moment.

    We used the Greyhound bus to travel through the red centre from Darwin to Adelaide. Alice had always been on list of places to visit after reading A Town Like Alice and so glad we did. It’s unique. The School of the Air and Olive Pink Garden were worth visiting. We didn’t go to the Flying Dr service as we had visited the Flying Dr and Bombing of Darwin Museum in Darwin.

    The CBD is tiny. Just a couple of streets. It appeared quite run down with lots of businesses closed. There was a noticeable security presence in the shopping mall and entry to supermarket and liquor store adjacent, where locals seemed to be banned from entry which resulted in a number of scuffles.

    Whilst we were there mounted police were brought in and the CBD was closed. We were told that crime rates had soared, especially ramming issues with stolen cars and break ins not only to private houses but commercial premises.

    Despite this we visited the CBD when we could. Used local buses, shops and restaurants/bars.

    We then took the bus overnight to Coober Pedy, with a lot of locals. The bus driver was amazing – not only when there were too many passengers on the bus and when he checked tickets all the locals seemed to have the same name, but when we encountered dead animals blocking the highway, including a camel!

    You haven’t said what time of year you will be there. When we were at Uluru we had a lot of heavy rain and it was cold. Evening bbq and other events were cancelled because of flooding. Seeing the rivers flowing down Uluru was certainly not expected.

    You will have an amazing time. The red centre certainly exceeded our expectations.

    Annie 182 posts

    Thanks @LD27 I really appreciate all the detail.
    Like you Nevil Shute is responsible for my determination to see Alice Springs. My Australian friends think I’m insane but it has to be done, even if only for a day. We’re travelling mid Feb to mid March for 4 weeks. We’ll be flying into Darwin from either Melbourne or Canberra. Then Darwin two nights and the Ghan to Alice. Then driving to Uluru and back via Kings Canyon then flying onto Sydney. Mr Annie is semi retiring just before we leave and I will be celebrating a big birthday in Uluru so it’s a very indulgent trip.
    I haven’t been to Australia for more than 30 years and I’ve never been to the NT so I’m really thrilled to be going even if Alice isn’t quite Willstown!

    LD27 171 posts

    When we told people we were Greyhounding up the East coast and down the red centre most thought we were mad. Then when we said we were going to stop at Alice Springs and Coober Pedy they also thought we were mad – even my cousin who lives in Adelaide and who has never been on a Greyhound bus and nor visited either! As soon as someone tells me I’m mad to visit somewhere, it makes me determined to go! Even OH took a lot of convincing!

    My cousin has been on the Ghan and loved the experience. Plan now is for us to return to Australia next year and drive along the WA coast visiting friends and family in Perth en route.

    If you have any other questions, do ask and I will help if I can.

    Annie 182 posts

    @LD27 which hotel did you choose at Uluru? I’m waiting for them to release prices for March but apart from excluding the campsite I don’t know what’s the best option, value and comfort wise. I’ve been told the Outback hotel is to be avoided but nothing more.

    LD27 171 posts

    Family and friends who live in Australia had recommended Emu Walk apartments. However we were in Yulara just as the red centre was opening up post Covid. The only hotel open at the time was Desert Gardens Hotel, which was fine. Had room with balcony looking over desert. Staff very helpful and friendly. Nice pool. There is a very small but extremely busy supermarket on site as well as car hire, tour companies and tourist shops. There was a gallery selling Aboriginal art, which had the best selection of any we came across on our nearly 3 month tour of Australia. So if you see anything you like, buy it!

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