Named after the naturalist Charles Darwin is the relaxed, tropical capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin. With a population of around 130,000, Darwin maintains that small city feeling of intimacy, while offering an array of tempting destinations for the traveller. Here are Kate’s top five sights that you absolutely cannot afford to miss:
Sunsets over the beaches
Darwin is renowned for the quality of its sunsets. Pull up a chair, or sprawl out on the beach as the sun slips into the water. Booking a harbour tour at sunset is the best option, however. Enjoying a glass of champagne from the deck of a restored schooner as the sun goes down is simply magical. Don’t forget a camera to capture the moment.
To market to market
Between April and October on Thursday and Sunday nights Mindil Beach comes alive with a sprawling market. With a huge range of local and indigenous crafts, a vast array of cuisines and culinary delights, not to mention souvenirs, palm reading, buskers, performing artists, bands and entertainers, there’s something for everyone. The atmosphere is electric, and strolling around is a joy. Or you can simply buy a glass of wine and watch the market go by from the comfort of the beach.
Into the wild
Kakadu national park is not technically in Darwin, but it’s within range for a day trip and offers a stunningly diverse range of habitats and wildlife. Go on Safari and see a wealth of exotic animals, learn bush craft, cooking and traditional survival techniques, take in the majestic Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls, or swim in the cascade of pools above Maguk. Visit Nourlangie and marvel at 5,000-year-old cave paintings of the Rainbow Serpent, creator of the landscape, and then visit the Warradjan Cultural Centre to discover more about Australia’s Aboriginal heritage. Kakadu is an experience you will not forget, and you may need several days to make sure you see it all.
Step back in time
For the more culturally inclined, head over to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Packed with Aboriginal art and artifacts, you should be sure to make time for the Cyclone Tracy display. The small, dark room at its heart where a recording of the cyclone’s howling winds plays on repeat is haunting and eye-opening. The museum is open daily and won’t cost you a cent.