If you replace the cowboys with British backpackers and the gunfighters with Steve Irwin imitators, Darwin has a Wild West sort of energy. Sitting all alone at the top of Australia, it’s a little kooky but at the same time very endearing. In fact, most people who have decided to call this place home in the last 40 years have done so after intending to merely stop by.
Darwinites aren’t too big on the modern fashion and beauty scene, but you can get a good exfoliation by having small fish eat your dead skin at Aquascene! If you’re looking to spot something a little bigger, the Adelaide River hosts crocodile-feeding tours, or enjoy the mix of mellow and metropolitan with a movie under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema – torrential rain and cyclones permitting…
Darwin’s Top 10
10. The Wharfs Bombed in World War II, the Wharfs are now adored for their delicious eating options and unbeatable view.
5. Berry Springs About a 45-minute drive from Darwin, this is a popular area for swimming and picnicking.
9. Northern Territory Parliament House Australia’s newest parliament building is an architectural behemoth.
4. World War II Oil Storage Tunnels One of the most unique spots in Darwin, this isn’t one for the claustrophobic.
8. Waterfront Precinct This newly renovated spot has something for everyone, including a peaceful lagoon and a not-so-peaceful wave pool.
3. Mindil Beach Markets With sea views, this craft and culinary market is a great location for watching the sunset.
7. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Houses great exhibits of the history, art and culture of the region, including indigenous artefacts and paintings.
2. Litchfield National Park Known for its fantastic nature walks, swimming and world-famous magnetic termite mounds.
6. Parap Markets The buzzing local markets are a perfect way to literally eat up time on a Sunday morning.
1. Crocodylus Park Kitschy but fun, this park allows you to get up close and feed one of the thousands of crocs that call it home.
- Browns Mart – An early stone structure made in 1885.
- Lyons Cottage – The only existing colonial bungalow residence that was constructed in the new settlement era.
- Blyth Homestead – This homestead in Litchfield National park is the former location of a tin mine.
- Fannie Bay – This was a huge detention centre in Darwin for about 100 years.
- Government House – The Northern Territory’s most important and historic government building.
Darwin Art & Culture
- Territory Craft Shop – Showcases numerous crafts made by local and aboriginal artists in Darwin.
- Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory – Permanently displays products of Torres Straight and aboriginal arts.
- Cross Cultural Art Exchange (CCAE) – An exhibition of different artworks from indigenous artists in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
- 24HR Art NT Centre – A haven for contemporary art, including multimedia projects, this centre has been ran by a non-profit organization since 1990.
- Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival – A celebration focused on community involvement, culture and family entertainment, usually during the last week of April.
- Smith Street Mall – This major retail-shopping destination in Darwin has several boutiques, cafes, restaurants and specialty shops.
- Mitchell Centre – A new complex dedicated to selling various retail goods and products.
- Darwin Pearl Jewellery – Offers high-quality South Seas pearls found in the Northern Territory’s deep waters.
- Sunday Markets at Mindil Beach – The usual beach activities become more interesting because of the arts and crafts stalls set up by local artists.
- Parap Shopping Village – A site for the Parap Markets that is traditionally held every Saturday.
Gay & Lesbian Darwin
- Throb Nightclub – This hip club offers the best dance music and live shows in Darwin.
- Frangipani Holidays – This travel firm especially caters to gay and lesbian tourists to arrange trips and excursions.
- Darwin Pride Festival – The only gay festival in Darwin takes place in the middle of June.
- Casuarina Free Beach – A nude and gay beach ideal for making new acquaintances while enjoying the heat and the white sand.
- Vestey's Beach – This delightful spot becomes a popular mingling place for gay tourists and locals when the sun goes down.
- Buley Rockhole – Located in the Litchfield National Park, this swimming spot boasts cascading pools surrounded by exquisite bushes and trees.
- Darwin Botanic Gardens – Filled with trekking trails, playing areas, tropical rainforests and majestic waterfalls.
- Gardens Flower – A majestic garden created in 1886 by aboriginal prisoners.
- Nightcliff Jetty – A nice starting point for cruising and fishing, the waters in this area, whether high tide or low tide, contribute greatly to its beauty and appeal.
- Wangi Falls – A Litchfield National Park attraction because of the water flowing to a swimming hole in the middle of a rainforest.
- Experience world-class sport fishing in the coastal waters of Darwin.
- Walk the 2.7km Greenant Creek route that leads to the majestic Tjaetabe Falls.
- Test and enhance your sporting skills by participating in various sport activities at the Darwin Leisure Centre.
- Play golf on a challenging 18-hole course at the Darwin Golf Club.
- Witness an engaging NTFL (New Territory Football League) match applying Australian Rules.
Pay your respects in February at the Anniversary of the Darwin Bombing, commemorating the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the 1942 attack.
The streets of Darwin spring to life in April for the Annual Territory Craft Fair, with bustling stalls and jam-packed galleries.
Only Darwin’s elite (!) are invited to pick their vessels and partake in June’s most glorious and gaudy event, the Beer Can Regatta.
The Darwin Rodeo in August sees the best of the Northern Territory on show in feats of calf wrestling, cow roping and steer riding.
See the soft side of Darwin when families gather in the Botanic Gardens in December for Carols by Candlelight.
When To Go
April to October brings hot days – 33ºC (91ºF) – plus balmy nights, warm water and clear skies. Darwin at its best!
Between November and March, the temperature drops (although not by much) and the city witnesses intense lightning storms and spot showers, not to mention the occasional cyclone.
July is easily the busiest month, but the wonderful weather is well worth the crowds.
The city is quite compact, with many attractions within walking distance.
Buses are great for getting from the airport into the city, but not for much else unless you’re staying in the suburbs.
Rental cars are very useful as many of the most popular attractions are a few hours’ drive away.
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