Darwin, the Northern Territory's vibrant capital, is a city with as many Asian influences as there are western. Undoubtedly cosmopolitan, boasting over 60 nationalities and 70 separate ethnic groups; this relaxed tropical city located in Australia’s sparsely populated Top End, juts out into South-East Asia and is closer to Jakarta than to any other Australian state capital.
Popular Darwin holiday activities include a visit to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, operating every Thursday and Sunday evening between May and October.
Things to do in Darwin
Food is a prominent part of Darwin society where barramundi is always on the menu. When you visit the night markets you can join the throng at 60 or more food stalls and sample an eclectic mix of international dishes, or browse the arts and crafts scene as the sun sinks into Darwin Harbour in glorious red tones. Alternatively enjoy Darwin Harbour from aboard a sunset cruise and drift by the scenic foreshore.
For more food opportunities head over to Stokes Hill Wharf for outdoor tables at which you’ll sample fresh caught seafood such as oysters or perhaps even crocodile. For entertainment, visit Mitchell Street and the Esplanade for pubs and nightclubs, theatres and cinemas and al-fresco restaurants and eateries.
Darwin still possesses all the charm of a laid-back frontier outpost. But head to the waterfront and the city transforms into a lively, tropical metropolis and this is highlighted by the plethora of cultural festivals and art fairs that take place annually in the city.
To find out more about the region, visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory for Aboriginal, South-East Asian and Oceanic arts and crafts. The Larrakia people are active members of the community and their presence can be felt everywhere.
The George Brown Botanic Gardens, located just north of the CBD, is one attraction that gets better as the weather becomes wetter, showcasing orchids and other rare flower species of Northern Australia.
Kakadu National Park
Darwin is also the gateway to the sacred Kakadu National Park, Australia’s largest protected World Heritage-listed nature reserve that is home to over 2,000 plant species and wildlife, including, rare and endemic plants and animals from saltwater crocodiles to flatback turtles. The Kakadu National Park is also where the Bininj Mungguy people have lived and cared for the country for tens of thousands of years and because of this, the region is of huge cultural significance.
Darwin can still be considered the frontier outpost of Australia, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to really get under the skin of this wonderful country and the perfect base for a bio-diverse and culturally fascinating holiday Down Under.