As the winter sets in, the alarm-clock shrieks and our commute to work gets evermore dreary.
Thoughts turn to a blue-sky escape, a white beach on which to wiggle our toes, and jaunty palm trees tossing their fronds like cheerleaders with pompoms.
We dream of a tropical getaway. Hot sunsets, warm sands, cool mojitos.
Amid all these seductive stereotypes, you might want to think out of the box. Darwin probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind when it comes to getting away to a tropical resort.
But at Mindil Beach Casino Resort, you don’t just get the standard tropical holiday, but much more. And who doesn’t deserve it, after a difficult year, with winter unwinding ahead?
Do things differently
This is a tropical destination with a difference.
For a start, Mindil Beach Casino Resort has fantastic access to Darwin which, if you haven’t been before, ought to be explored.
This city is buzzing, youthful and multicultural, with interesting museums and a great food scene. And of course, it’s the exciting gateway to the Top End’s national parks and great orange explosion of outback.
Mindil Beach Casino Resort itself is a sleek, modern low-rise structure in dazzling white, just a hop from the city centre, yet tranquil enough to make you feel as if you’re in your own little world.
It sits on a beautiful stretch of Mindil Beach on the sunset side of Darwin, which glows with the Top End’s famously fiery sunsets over the Arafura Sea every evening.
This is the ultimate premium accommodation experience in the Top End, with beautiful room options that range from Deluxe Kings to Grand Suites, many with spas and private balconies overlooking the water.
Guestrooms with interconnecting doors are great for families – as is the lagoon pool just beyond.
Strawberry daiquiris, anyone?
This is a tropical resort for those who want to treat themselves.
Slide into the largest lagoon pool in Darwin, and one of the largest in Australia, reserved exclusively for resort guests.
Perch at the swim-up Lagoon Bar, where tropical bliss meets poolside chic and you can enjoy a frozen strawberry daiquiri and beach-inspired nibbles while squinting at the scintillating water.
Swim in the big blue. Lounge on a sunbed and soak up the Top End heat at the beach club-style INFINITY.
Order another cocktail – the tropical highball or infinity sunset are perhaps the most appropriate for this setting, along with nibbles such as crocodile and lemon myrtle croquettes or, if you aren’t that adventurous, simply a satisfying classic burger or parmigiana.
When you’re ready for more hum and action, The Sportsbar features live events on giant LED screens.
Or have a flutter at the world-class Mindil Beach Casino, which features more than 600 gaming machines and table games for excitement such as baccarat, American roulette, blackjack, and Texas hold’em.
Check out the neighbourhood
You’ll hardly want to leave the seductive surrounds of the resort but you should make an exception for the conveniently adjacent Mindil Beach Sunset Market, held every Thursday and Sunday evening between April and October.
Browse the handicraft stalls at Darwin’s most popular (and world-famous) attraction, for Aboriginal art, jewellery and kangaroo-leather products, listen to the buskers, and watch the sun set like a fireball into the sea.
Then tuck into Darwin’s multicultural cuisines at the food stalls, where you’ll find everything from gado gado to Bangladeshi curries – and a Filipino halo halo shave ice dessert to finish it off.
Walking and jogging tracks border the resort along the beach, and you’ll find the Gardens Park Golf Links just across the road, which also has an 18-hole mini-golf course to entertain the kids.
Right beside it, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens brings together a great collection of northern Australian plants, resident monitor lizards and abundant butterflies.
Stroll on to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory for excellent exhibitions on the region’s natural history, art and culture.
The Cyclone Tracy Gallery is fascinating; it’s devoted to the 1974 natural disaster that had such an impact on the city and it’s well worth a visit.
Work up an appetite
There’s all this and plenty more to see and do in Darwin. But this is a holiday; take your time.
There are occasions you’ll just want to soak up the peace at Mindil Beach Casino Resort and unwind by the lagoon pool as you listen to the palm trees rustle in the breeze.
Enjoy the beachfront and the lush tropical gardens bright with blossoms you mightn’t see at home. Everywhere you look there are beach and water views.
Some of the best views unfurl beyond the windows of The Vue restaurant, just the place for a light, bright breezy lunch or evening meal.
Many of the dishes have lovely Top End influences, such as duck leg with coconut and lemongrass, braised Angus beef rendang with jackfruit curry, and wok-tossed vegetables with Aussie snapper fillet.
For a romantic meal, the seafood platter for two surely can’t be beaten.
Meanwhile, Il Piatto is Darwin’s best Italian restaurant.
Think authentic Italian flavours and good wine in a relaxed setting overlooking the Arafura Sea, with seating on the deck if you’re after the stars.
It creates a night to remember. Grilled calamari in white wine, gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and risotto with scallops and crab are just some of the indulgences – save room for a classic cannoli or tiramisu afterwards.
Mindil Beach Casino Resort is the ultimate tropical escape, wedged in a vibrant city and yet its own oasis of tranquillity framed in cheerful palm trees. It’s a great entertainment destination, but never loud or in-your-face.
This is a getaway for playful couples or families looking for a different destination. The sort of place you daydream about as you commute to work on a chilly morning, and feel tempted by the tropics.
Mindil Beach Casino Resort sits in parklands a five-minute taxi ride from Darwin city centre.