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Darwin Harbour Cruise: Australia's Frontline Experience
- MV Snubfin: Powered by twin 300 hp outboards, this vessel speeds you across tropical waters with comforts that include a sun canopy and LCD display screen.
- World War II history: See key sites and hear about the devastating events of 1942 when Japanese aircraft struck in what's often called "Australia's Pearl Harbor."
- Harbor sights and stories: Discover how the determined people of this capital city survived a mighty cyclone and reinvented Darwin as a cool, cosmopolitan city.
About This Darwin Tour
Darwin is called the "Top End" of Australia. And it stands at the pinnacle of the country as a survivor. It had a bright beginning as a gold rush town in the 1870s, and again in the 1930s, when waves of doers and dreamers established this bustling tropical city. Then disaster struck.
During World War II, Darwin was a hub for allied ships and aircraft, wharfs and runways – and a perfect target for the Japanese who were rapidly expanding their domination over Southeast Asia. On February 19, 1942 (just two months after Pearl Harbor), the Japanese attacked with 242 aircraft, relentlessly bombing the city, sinking eight ships, and destroying 20 military aircraft. The city was virtually leveled.
This frontline experience remembers and commemorates this dramatic event, the largest attack on Australia by a foreign power. As you cruise by historic sites – Stokes Hill Wharf, the wreck of the USS Peary, cliff-top gun emplacements, Doctors Gully Flying Boat Base, and more – you'll hear the stories and relive Darwin's traumatic days.
After the war, a determined Darwin slowly rebuilt. Yet in 1974, it was once again forever changed. In a few short hours, Cyclone Tracy, Australia's strongest storm ever, nearly obliterated the city. You'll hear about this destructive event and how the city recovered once more. And you'll see how this cosmopolitan city is revived with a vibrant waterfront, commerce, arts, and culture. Darwin is back at the Top End of Down Under.
Ahoy matey, grins ahead
On this tour, you cruise aboard MV Snubfin, an aluminum vessel designed specifically for Darwin's coastal waters. Its unusual name comes from Australia's only endemic species of dolphin. Keep a lookout for the family of these shy dolphins that frolics in the harbor. You'll know them by their distinctive snub nose and facial expression. Like the rest of the resilient Darwinians, they seem to always have a smile on their face.
Please make your way to Stokes Hill Wharf, Darwin Waterfront Precinct.
Take precautions against seasickness with over-the-counter medication one hour before the tour if you are susceptible. Wear flat, non-slip shoes, suitable for boating.
A minimal amount of walking is required and this tour is suitable for travelers with limited mobility. Vessel is not wheelchair accessible.
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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