Australia’s only tropical capital city, closer to Indonesia than any other major city in Australia and dictated by two seasons rather than four, Darwin is unlike anywhere else in the country. Once a frontier outpost, the city is today dictated by its strong cultural heritage, war history and being the gateway to endless tropical wilderness. A growing business hub means Darwin is also welcoming more business travellers from around the country. If you’re in town on business this summer, here are five ways to escape the heat once you clock off.
Art Gallery and Museum of Northern Territory (MAGNT)
The Northern Territory’s premier art institution, MAGNT was founded in 1966 and today has six locations across the state. The main museum is at Bullocky Point in Darwin, about 4 kilometres from the CBD. Admission is free and the collection includes over 1.2 million natural history specimens and 30,000 art and culture pieces. Explore the Cyclone Tracy exhibit, discover indigenous art and visit the museum’s most popular resident, Sweetheart, a 5 metre long male saltwater crocodile, renowned for a string of attacks on fishing boats in the 1970s. A second must-visit location of the MAGNT is the Defence of Darwin Experience at East Point. This exhibit tells the powerful story of the Japanese bombing of Darwin during World War II.
WWII Storage Tunnel Tours
Staying on the WWII theme, a tour of Darwin’s Storage Tunnels is another great way to escape the heat. After the city’s oil storage tanks at Stokes Hill were bombed in the first Japanese air raid on 19 February 1942, engineers began working on an underground fuel storage system. Approximately 15 metres below the cliffs of Darwin city, a short walk from the Esplanade, the five tunnels that still exist today can be explored on a self-guided tour. The tunnels feature information on how the tunnels were built as well as photo displays of Darwin during WWII.
Dive Into The Cage Of Death At Crocosaurus Cove
No trip to Darwin would be complete without seeing one the region’s most iconic reptiles, a saltwater croc. Crocosaurus Cove is home to almost 200 crocodiles, which you can interact with in the aquarium, fishing for crocs, croc feeding and holding baby crocs. The main attraction, and best way to cool off, is the Cage of Death. Contrary to its name, this completely safe dive experience puts you inside the crocodile enclosure in a protective cage for 15 minutes with the giant inhabitants. There’s nothing like an adrenaline rush while you cool off.
Darwin Waterfront Wave Lagoon
Since Darwin’s beaches and waterways are off-limits due to crocodiles and sharks, the best way to cool off is in the pool. The Darwin Waterfront has two lagoons, the Wave Lagoon and the calmer Recreation Lagoon, open year round. Right in the heart of the city, this is the perfect place for a post-meeting dip and or early morning swim.
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
Just two kilometres north of the CBD, the Botanic Gardens are a shaded haven in the top end heat. Cool off under the canopy of rain trees, explore the different gardens including the Desert Rose Garden, Cycad Garden and African Madagascar Garden. Relax at the cafe, view local art and the Eco House art gallery or enjoy a picnic on the lawns.
Feature image courtesy of Getty.