A key part of my job is to make sure that I gain a thorough education of the unique opportunities and challenges each of my hotels face. There’s really no better way to do this than to visit the hotels in person. Most recently, I flew from New South Wales (NSW) where Sydney is located over to the Northern Territory (NT) to drop in on Alice Springs and Darwin. Education, received! Here are a few things I experienced and learned.
I started my NT journey with a flight from Sydney over to Alice Springs. This town is extremely remote and practically smack dab in the middle of the continent. You can head either 1,500 KMs north to Darwin or 1,500 KMs south to Adelaide. That’s 16 hours of driving to the nearest big city. Craziness. For me, I only had about 5 hours on the ground in Alice before I had to get back to the airport and catch my second flight that day, a continuation on to Darwin. So the clock was ticking!
I was lucky enough to get a quick driving tour of Alice Springs’ CBD and other highlights. One of the best ways to view the city is from Anzac Hill Memorial, which is in honor of those who have fought in wars/conflicts for AU.
Another must-see spot in Alice was Telegraph Station. This was a station that connected Darwin and Adelaide, literally linking the north and south of Australia. The station is located on a spot of land near the original springs from which the town got its name. Sadly, the springs are long gone.
After a quick tour of the main sights, I spent some time doing the important business-y stuff with the team at the hotel. I also got to hang out with a baby kangaroo, so that checked off a life goal pretty unexpectedly!
Then it was a return back to the airport I had so recently left to catch the flight straight north to Darwin.
After the dry, fragrant heat of Alice Springs (which I truly loved – it reminded me of the deserts in Southern Utah ), I was soooooooooo ill-prepared for the humidity of Darwin NT. Holy. Gawd.
Now, it’s definitely not to say that Darwin doesn’t have its charms. But they should seriously pass a law there to make t-shirts, shorts and thongs acceptable (and expected) business attire. I actually made the mistake of bringing a blazer which I promptly removed because the main thing blazing after 10 minutes in Darwin was my armpits.
Again, I was lucky enough to get a quick tour of the city and some key areas where visitors like to hang out. There were great views, marinas and a peaceful little area called The Waterfront that seriously made me want to pick it up and drop it in Sydney (but with NT rental prices).
One of the most surprisingly awesome moments in Darwin was doing a couple WODs at CrossFit Darwin. I was trained two days by Sammy Drescher, this incredibly cool athlete who has already gone to CF Regionals at least twice and she’s ohhhhh about 22 years old. I stood next to her and tried to look as buff as possible, but she still made me look like a tiny little pipsqueak. So that pic is going in the Wilbur vault right now. 😉
After wrapping up a round of hotel visits and some great meetings with our Northern Territory team, I had to bid adieu to Darwin and the NT. I can definitely say I’d like to go back and experience more of Alice Springs (the Larapinta Trail in particular) and also do some journeying around Darwin (in something metal or electric-shock producing in case of crocodile surprises).
Visiting these two remote locations really gave me context for how vast this island-country-continent really is…and how there is real beauty everywhere. Even if you have to wipe the sweat out of your eyes to see it.
XOXO – JW