All of the students have arrived safe and sound in Darwin, and were able to enjoy their first full day checking out some of the sites around Darwin. Students visited the Casuarina Coastal Reserve shortly after arriving, and were able to watch a beautiful sunset at East Point. No swimming on the coast though (we were told it would probably be ok but there was only about a 5% chance of being stung by an extremely painful jellyfish, and as always, watch for crocs!).
Tuesday morning after sleeping off some of their jet lag, students enjoyed an informing orientation to the Top End at Charles Darwin University with Professor Michael Lawes. Then it was off to the Territory Wildlife Park to see some of Australia’s native wildlife. TWP is an open-air zoo, with miles (wait, kilometres!) of trails separating educational and interesting exhibits on the native flora and fauna. Highlights were the echidna in the nocturnal house, the rock wallabies, the dingos, and the up close views of raptors at the Flight Deck.
There wasn’t much time to spend at Berry Springs, but the unseasonable cool weather meant that a return trip is in order for a picnic and swim.
Tomorrow promises to be a busy day as well, with a meeting at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), some errands around town, and then the scenic drive out to the private property on Coomalie Creek where we will be spending the next two months and conducting research.