Above: The "stone country" landscape at Kakadu National Park

Layover in Darwin, Australia

Located on the Timor Sea in the so-called “Top End,” Darwin is the state capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. With a population of about 138,000, the city provides a springboard for expeditions into the Outback, notably to the vast 7,720-square-mile Kakadu National Park, which has been continuously occupied by Aboriginal people for at least 40,000 years. Heavily bombed by the Japanese in World War II and flattened on Christmas Eve 1974 by Cyclone Tracy, Darwin has the atmosphere of a frontier town with a thin overlay of urban sophistication.

For our one-night layover en route to The Berkeley River Lodge, we stayed at the adequately comfortable Adina Apartment Hotel, which is nicely located on the waterfront, spent a fascinating afternoon at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and enjoyed a delicious Southeast Asian meal at Hanuman (93 Mitchell Street, Tel. [61] 8-8941-3500).

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