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Published May 8th 2016
Finish at Darwin's Favourite Coffee Shop
Early morning is the best time for a walk in Darwin while the air is still cool. Here's an idea for a self-guided walk, close to the CBD, finishing at the iconic Roma Bar in Cavanagh Street where you can indulge in a food and coffee treat.
The Esplanade is a good place to start and finish. There's plenty of parking if you're driving into town, or if you are a visitor to Darwin, you might be staying at one of the hotels nearby. If you start near the steps down to Lameroo Beach and do this walk as a circuit, you'll walk about 3kms and it will take an hour or two, depending on how many photos you take and how long you spend at the Roma Bar.
So, let's get started. You really don't need to go down the path to Lameroo Beach as it's not that pretty. It was the site of popular swimming baths in the 1920's until the 1950's but there's nothing much going on there now so head east towards Parliament House.
You'll pass the Cenotaph and an information bay. Stop and have a read about Darwin's original inhabitants, the Larrakia people.
Look out for a sign indicating the Damoe-Ra Pathway and head down the steps. You'll come to a small, shady park, opened in 1994, that commemorates the contribution of Women to the Northern Territory. Damoe-Ra is the Larrakia name for the freshwater spring in the cliff face, above Lameroo Beach, an area of special significance to the Larrakia people.
You'll see a series of small gardens, each with a plaque featuring brief stories about NT women. Each garden has a beautiful mosaic border designed by local artist, Techy Masero.
Each year, on International Women's Day, Territorians celebrate the achievements of five outstanding Northern Territory women who have contributed to the economic, social and cultural life of the community.
Turn left on Kitchener Drive. You'll pass a large anchor and a commemorative plaque indicating the survey site of South Australian Surveyor-General, George Goyder and his team, who sailed into Port Darwin on 5 February 1869. Goyder had travelled from Adelaide to survey the lands that were to become the town of Palmerston, later called Darwin.
Further along Kitchener Drive, you'll see the entrance to a set of oil storage tunnels, built in World War Two to protect Darwin's oil supplies, and never actually used. If you want to find out more you can pay to take a self guided tour during the opening hours from 9am-2pm each day.
Climb the steps back up to the city via Survivors Lookout, you'll see a red sign. At the top, to your left, you'll see a lookout with storyboards depicting the bombing of Darwin in February 1942. It was the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia, one of many facts that went relatively unknown until quite recently.
Just a little further, on the left you'll see the beautiful, colonial-style Government House. It was built in 1883 to replace a timber structure, built 13 years earlier, that was eaten by white ants. I was fortunate to attend a few functions at Government House in a past life and I can tell you that it is a wonderful example of colonial-style architecture in a most stunning location. I could definitely live there if I decided to become NT Administrator one day. Look out for an open day and pay a visit. I'm sure you'll want to fight me for the job.
Opposite Government House is Parliament House where all manner of Northern Territory-style hijinks take place. This beautiful building also the location of the Northern Territory Library. It is open to the public from Monday to Friday 8am-6pm and weekends 9am-6pm. There are free guided tours a few times a week.
Across the large courtyard at the front of Parliament House is the Supreme Court building, which was built in 1990. The foyer at the front of the building has a giant mosaic floor designed by Aboriginal artist Norah Napaljarri Nelson, and a permanent exhibit of Arnhem Land burial poles
The Roma Bar has been around since the '70s when it opened in Smith Street. It quickly gained a following of eclectic characters, from struggling artists, musicians and journalists to lawyers and cabinet ministers. Ask any local where's the best coffee in Darwin and Roma Bar will be your answer.
Best coffee and a deliciously moist coconut cake treat
There's an all day breakfast menu which includes an Indian Breakfast, comprising dahl with lime pickle, yoghurt & roti for $15. At lunchtime choose from omelets, burgers, salads, toasties and fish specials.
You'll enjoy the Roma Bar experience. Good food, great coffee, people watching opportunities and lots of local information by way of gig posters and flyers.
To complete the walking circuit, walk further along Cavanagh, turn left on Knuckey and keep walking until you find yourself back at The Esplanade. Better still, you have walked a long way and this is Darwin, so you are probably due for a beer. The Cavanagh Hotel is just across the road and you'll be sure to find a cold one there.