Darwin Destination Guide
Located at the Top End of Australia, the multicultural city of Darwin has long enticed travellers for its promise of the real outback, larrikin humour and laidback lifestyle. When it comes to Darwin's weather, the tropical capital only really has two seasons – the dry and the wet. Though for the most part, Darwin is a wet city no matter what the time of year with swimming holes, rivers, beaches and a waterfront precincts keeping residents cool during the consistently 30 degree days. If you do take a dip, just remember to never smile at a crocodile. Darwin has a healthy population of salt and fresh water crocodiles.
Though it's not in the city itself, Kakadu National Park is one of Darwin's most popular attractions. Located 171 kilometres from the city, the expansive park covers four river systems, six major landforms and a large population of wildlife. In addition to its fascinating natural landscape, the park also has tremendous cultural significance to the Indigenous land owners. Learn about the history of the park and Aboriginal culture at Warradjan Cultural Centre and see ancient Aboriginal rock art at the spectacular Ubirr Rock. Depending on your travel style you can also join a Kakadu tour, ranging from bushwalking to cultural, fishing tours and wildlife tours. Back in the city, other popular things to do in Darwin include the East Point Military Museum, Crocosaurus Cove and Deckchair Cinema where you can watch movies underneath the stars.
Darwin's multicultural population spans 50 nations, so naturally the cuisine served within the city is equally as diverse. Along and around Smith Street Mall are restaurants and cafes specialising in all sorts of cuisine from Malaysian to Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese and more. For fine dining, some of the best Darwin restaurants enjoy a view of the ocean on the Esplanade. Dig into a perfect piece of steak at Char or enjoy a seafood feast at Finz Restaurant located onsite at The Mantra Resort. For a drink and a dance, Mitchell Street, just near the Esplanade, is lined with some of Darwin's best party spots.
Where to Stay
Darwin's main accommodation areas lie amongst the action on the Esplanade and Mitchell Street. Along the Esplanade are a range of hotel chains such as Mantra and Holiday Inn, while backpacker hostels are scattered throughout the nightlife hub of Mitchell Street. For the ultimate in luxury accommodation, Darwin's famed casino SKYCITY is also a five star boutique resort hotel boasting a spectacular man-made lagoon beach, swim-up bar, Endota spa and onsite restaurant. Caravan and campsite accommodation is also on offer in Darwin, with many of them located just off the Stuart Highway.
A few years ago the concept of shopping in Darwin may have seemed like an oxymoron. Thankfully, the days of stubbie holder souvenirs are long gone with the city now showcasing its multicultural talents to their fullest potential. Such assets can be seen and purchased at the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, a picturesque market that sells an exotic range of crafts, Indigenous art, clothing, food and souvenirs. Local and international cuisine is also on offer including Top End produce such as kangaroo and crocodile. The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets take place during Darwin's dry season every Thursday and Sunday night. For more mainstream shopping, Smith Street Mall is where you will find a wide range of chain stores, souvenir shops and the occassional stubbie holder souvenir or two.
Darwin like a Local
Fishing in Darwin is serious business. From rivers to billabongs and along the coastline, the city and its surrounds boast some of the best fishing spots in Australia and the best fishing stories. But where to start? Take lead from the locals and throw a line in from the Darwin Wharf or Elizabeth River Bridge. Buffalo Creek is great for catching barramundi and there are plenty of spots near the boat ramp to try your luck. If you're keen to get out on the water for a fish, we recommend you join a tour or charter. Crocodiles are scarily common in Darwin's waters – even around the boat ramps.