DARWIN – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Capital of the Northern Territory and perched on the edge of the Timor Sea, Darwin has more than 121,000 residents and is the gateway to Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park. Home to a vibrant multicultural community, the tropical climate has very distinct wet and dry seasons. Expect heavy rainfall and punishing humidity during the wet, highlighted by spectacular storms. The dry season is comfortable but hails the arrival of tens of thousands of tourists. The city has been completely rebuilt twice, once after Japanese air raids in WWII and again after Cyclone Tracy in 1974. The result is a sprawling metropolis with distinctive neighbourhood attractions, good restaurants and a focus on outdoor activities.
The best time to visit is during the "dry" season, Which runs from June until September.
Darwin’s always been a fascinating place to visit, historically more town than city, more shorts and socks than skinny jeans. But over past few years, fed by the magnetic energy of the tropical seasons, a multicultural heart (both indigenous and international) and wave after wave of energetic people moving there from “down South” the place has developed a Big City, dare we say hipster, cooler side, writes Steve Madgwick. The Top End’s capital is a natural stopover for your big ticket outback must-do's, such as Kakadu and Nitmiluk (formerly Katherine) Gorge, but ever increasing pockets of laid-back urbanity mean the...
Walking in the footsteps of Australia’s elite, Jennifer Pinkerton uncovers a Top End stay – and a curious one, at that. Moonshadow Villas is a sought-after ‘celebrity’ retreat and your privacy is guaranteed.” Do go on, I whisper to the screen. A vine of adjectives trails the homepage. Breathtaking, exotic, five-star, tranquil, tropical-bird-and-orchid-filled. Then, there among the stay’s testimonials, sits someone I recognise. Germaine Greer. “Thank you. GG,” she signs off. GG mightn’t seem a likely arbiter of fine taste but the thing is, she’s interesting. And higher-echelon places to stay in Darwin are, well, less than so. There’s a saying though,...
While at first the name might throw you – snow skiing? In tropical Darwin? – it’s actually water-skiing that gives this local institution its name. Perched in prime position on the still, wide waters of Fannie Bay, the Darwin Ski Club is fantastic for family meals, with a huge grassy expanse for children to run around on while parents catch up over a XXXX beer or two. The simple, merry scene is framed by palm trees strung with colourful light bulbs, which start to glow softly as the sun sinks into the sea, casting a coral coloured light over the...
This image was taken during my last visit to Darwin, which is more than a hot and humid place to be during the wet season. It is a place that transforms into a little paradise; it is actually the season of many colours. The amazing lightning storms, the spectacular sunsets, the monsoonal downpours, and the beautiful scenery. I took this photo early in the morning after a magnificent lightning storm had just passed, leaving some beautiful cloud formations behind. At first the photo was taken for the beautiful reflection of the clouds in the rock pools, right next to the...
A tropical spectacle that tourists usually miss Darwin in the wet, NT Darwin during the wet season might be when most travellers stay away, but it offers a tropical adventure worth seeing – spectacular lightning shows, magnificent sunsets and as Scott says, scoring it 10, “this is nature at its most powerful and dramatic.”
Closer to Bali than it is to Brisbane, Australia’s smallest capital blends 56 nationalities, a perky pulse and a laid-back tropical air. Top End, indeed. Words by Jennifer Pinkerton Why come here? Imagine stepping off the plane and straight into a Spiegeltent. That’s what entering Darwin is like. It’s another world. Not a glitzy one – though it has its moments, owing to the natural resources boom. It’s a parallel universe: Australia, but not as most know it. From the tropical weather (those ceiling fans rarely turn off) right down to the faces you’ll see in its streets, this northern...
Darwin’s beach side monolith, the SKYCITY Casino, has opened a new tropical resort. But, asks Jennifer Pinkerton, can tranquillity exist alongside roulette It’s a sweaty Saturday afternoon and I’m scooting past a belt of Tiffany blue water en route to one of Darwin’s most controversial locations. SKYCITY Casino appears on the southern end of Mindil Beach like the Egyptian-themed Luxor Hotel in Vegas. Huge, white and pyramid-shaped, it has a touch of the cruise liner-feel about it. This isn’t a building that’s trying hard to fit in with its surrounds – rather, it waves its jazz hands to passersby. Depending...
Contrived spectacle or Attenborough adventure? Jennifer Pinkerton braves infested waters on a jumping croc cruise “Tell me you’re not,” snorts my mate Graham, a Territory resident of five years. “It’s a bloody circus, Jen.” He adjusts his glasses, shakes his head and scans the crowd at Darwin’s Roma Bar cafe. “Are you… checking to see who heard me say that?” I ask indignantly. What’s so bad about a little tourist activity in my newly-adopted home town? “Croc jumping is a ride. And you can only do it in the Northern Territory,” my boss Alice had urged the previous month....
This ambitious development has something to offer both local residents and visiting fans of the Medina brands, writes Quentin Long. There is something reassuring about staying in a precinct of a city where its own citizens come to play. You subconsciously feel that you have chosen your digs well because, hell, if the residents like to come here, then you ain’t a tourist but a traveller who is getting into the true heart of the place. The mammoth Darwin Waterfront development is a $1 billion, 15-year project that’s epic in any developer’s book, let alone in ‘little ole Darwin’. The...
Australian Aboriginal Art is famous throughout the world. But to truly appreciate it, you need to travel to its source and immerse yourself. It’s a journey that’s far from easy, but the rewards are great and long lasting. Words and images by Quentin Long WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following may contain images and names of deceased persons. It is the greatest Australian journey. I can say that, because I am one of the very lucky few who will ever go. It irritates me when people say they prefer to go overseas for the culture....
Experience No.033 in Australian Traveller's 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences There’s nothing quite like the assault on the senses that is walking among the food stalls of Darwin’s Mindil Beach Markets. It’s a tropical fantasy come to life. A gentle, humidity-free breeze stirs together an astonishing rainbow of fragrances from every corner of the world as the sun sets over a sandy beach lined by swaying palms. Darwinians raise a glass of wine, toast their easy life and choose dinner from one of the 60 food stalls. There are more cuisines represented here than anywhere else in Australia. From the...
Australian Traveller Magazine's 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Darwin, like every capital city in Australia, is not bereft of five star resorts. But why stay in the obligatory, generic, luxury hotel when the bedroom Villa La Vue is available? It’s on Darwin’s Esplanade in the heart of the CBD and could challenge any posh hotel in the white bed linen, twin-set china reading lamps, wall-mounted flat-screens, spotless bathrooms, complimentary toiletries and fluffy white towel stakes – only in the comfort your own home. Why wait for the waiter to bring your eggs when you can cook them yourself in your...
Australian Traveller Magazine's 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Aside from a bright yellow wall forming the backdrop to an outdoor dining area and the odd flash of colour in the wall hangings, the décor of this brand new and boldly contemporary Darwin townhouse is executed almost entirely in black and white. In contrast to its baking hot, busy and multihued tropical city surrounds, zebra-like Pearl is all smooth surfaces, crisp bed sheets, noiseless sliding doors, wafting air-con and cool floors underfoot; the sort of place where you breathe a sigh of relief as you re-enter after a long day in...
Australian Traveller Magazine's 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes From the outside, this house is a total blast from the past. Elevated from the ground on stilts, it’s pure ’70s tropical beach house all over. At least until you step inside, whereupon you’re greeted by a blast of air-con, modern cream and brown décor with the odd splash of green, dark wood floors and gleaming stainless steel bathrooms. Perched on high ground in one of the quietest cul-de-sacs in the inner-Darwin suburb of Larrakeyah, some windows have awesome CBD and harbour views, while others – like the one in the bathroom...
Upcoming events in NT and Darwin APRIL/MAY BASSINTHEGRASS 2012 May 26 Enjoy a day of fun in the sun at this musical extravaganza, where thousands gather at Darwin’s Amphitheatre to see live music by some of Australia’s hottest acts, such as The Jezebels, Hilltop Hoods and Boy & Bear. There will also be the annual Battle of the Bands competition for talented school students in the Territory. bassinthegrass.com.au NIGHTCLIFF SEABREEZE FESTIVAL May 5-13 Welcome the dry season on the Nightcliff foreshore with a family-friendly festival comprising music, art and dance from across the globe, including Aboriginal, Pacific, Asian, European and...
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