Darwin may seem more removed than other capital cities, but it has fully embraced its tippy top position and made the most of many of its quintessentially Aussie aspects. The city itself is alive with indigenous art galleries, quirky cafes and inventive museums, that's not to mention being a gateway to some of the most remote and remarkable stretches of the Outback. Put it all together and suddenly 24 hours just doesn't seem like enough, but it can definitely get you started. Here's how ...
Where to Eat
Toss any preconceptions about Darwin aside. A burgeoning food scene is in its beginning stages, bolstered by staples where loyal locals get their nosh on, starting with breakfast.
Hit up the Roma Bar. This cafe has been the spot to go for a morning cup for more than 15 years, with no signs of slowing down. Even better, breakfast is available all day, so even if you're taking a more laidback approach to your 24-hours in Darwin, you can still start the day off right. Choices range from a healthier Bircher Muesli with yoghurt, honey, fruit and seeds all the way up to the classic Big Brekky.
By the time lunch rolls around, you may very well be looking for a quick bite to enjoy as you cool down in the nearest spot of shade. Darwin has you covered at Jetty and the Fish. This little red food trailer serves up a pretty mean piece of fish, be it with chips or in a taco. Even better, the value of this lunch is hard to beat, with fish tacos for approximately $5 and combos for $12*.
Even if you can only spare 24 hours in Darwin, it's well worth slowing things down come dinner to sit back and enjoy the incredible beauty of this tropical spot. And there's no better place to do this than at Pee Wee's at the Point. This award-winning restaurant serves up Darwin's take on fine dining with a heaping side of amazing views across Fannie Bay. Fresh, local produce is key here, with dishes such as Kangaroo Carpaccio and Oven Baked Wild Caught NT Saltwater Barramundi.
Where to Stay
When it comes time to choose where you want to stay in Darwin, location is key. Situated right in the heart of the city and overlooking Darwin Harbour, the Hilton Darwin meets the convenience brief. It is within walking distance to key dining, shopping and entertainment precincts as well as Bicentennial Park, the Darwin Convention Centre and only a 15-minute drive to Darwin International Airport.
As far as amenities go, guests can expect the superior quality and service that comes standard with the Hilton brand. There are three different room configurations to choose from, allowing the flexibility to suit a number of budgets. Each one was designed with comfort and convenience firmly in mind. They all offer a light-filled contemporary space with such standard amenities as comfy beds, premium entertainment, a designated workstation and Wi-Fi access. Some also feature beautiful views over the harbour.
For your business travel convenience, the hotel also plays home to a dedicated business centre, business phone service and meeting rooms. Baggage storage is also available as is a beauty salon, concierge desk, lounge, fitness centre, pool and onsite dining at Mitchell's Bar & Grill.
Where to Play
Discovering the beauty of Darwin is easy as the city is brimming with unique experiences that won't be found anywhere else. Perhaps most famously is Crocosaurus Cove and its famous Cage of Death experience. Brave travellers can be submerged with monster crocs in a plexiglass tank for an up close and unforgettable view of these amazing creatures. Even if you're not game to hop in the water, the park also happens to be the world's largest display of Australian reptiles.
Once you've had your fill of crocs, dive into the history of this capital city at the Darwin Military Museum. Set on four acres of tropical gardens by the sea, explore this unique exhibition of Australian military heritage, with exhibits that range from an array of armoured vehicles to the bombing of Darwin in 1942.
If you're seeking a different perspective of the city and surrounding area, a cruise through Darwin Harbour is a unique option. Alternatively take to the skies for a scenic flight over picturesque Kakadu. Don't forget to make time to discover indigenous art on a Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural tour, and cap the day off at the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Running ever Thursday and Sunday, these are a great spot to pick up a cool drink, tasty treat or unique souvenir of your time in Darwin.
*Prices are approximate and correct at time of writing.