If you are on a round the world cruise (and how I wish I was!) Darwin, the northernmost city in Australia, will be one of your ports of call. We went there when we were on one sector of a world cruise, the voyage between Auckland and Singapore.
I really knew very little about Darwin, except that it was tropical, hot, had been devastated by a cyclone in 1974, and was in crocodile territory. I was pleasantly surprised at the thriving modern city we found there.
Darwin puts on a great welcome for cruise ship passengers. The cruise terminal at the port just down the hill from the main shopping area, was set out like a market with stalls showcasing local artists and crafts people's creations. As well as aboriginal art, handmade jewellery, printed textiles, hats and bags, there were a few surprises in store for us.
How about a baby wallaby in a shopping bag 'pouch'; a python to drape around your neck; a black cockatoo that was very interested in everyone who came near it, nodding its head, raising its crest, and squawking loudly; and a frilled lizard that looked as if it would be quite at home in Jurassic Park.
It was a great way for us to meet and chat to some of the locals - both of the human and wild life varieties.