I'm a freelance travel writer living in Brisbane. Visit my blog at www.aussieglobetrotter.net.
Published May 1st 2016
Immerse yourself in Darwin's diverse culture
Darwin is a diverse, bustling city with a laidback feel. From the backpacker hotspot, Mitchell Street, full of open-air cafes and pubs; to museums, markets and harbour cruises, Darwin is more than a just gateway to outback adventures; it is a destination itself. With the dry season just beginning, now is the perfect time for a Top End getaway. Here are five ways to immerse yourself in Darwin's culture, history and tropical ambience:
Darwin's Waterfront Precinct is the ideal location to escape the heat. This trendy yet relaxing area is home to a man-made beach and a wave lagoon. Entry to the wave lagoon is $7 and boogie boards and tubes are supplied on a first come, first served basis.
History comes alive at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. A whole exhibit has been devoted to Cyclone Tracy that struck Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974. This brilliant exhibit is separated into two parts, depicting life in Darwin before and after with visitors passing through a Black Room. Here in the Black Room, you are transported to that fateful day, with an actual sound recording of the wind, flying corrugated iron and smashing glass. Entry is free.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
Awaken your senses to the sights, sounds and tastes from the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Aromas fill the air from the 1200 individual menu items. Once you've got your tucker, head down to the beach with a picnic blanket to watch the spectacular colours from the sinking sun. Thousands of locals and tourists flock to this beach every Thursday and Saturday night during the dry season.
After sunset, the markets start throbbing with buskers and visitors checking out the arts and craft stalls. There really is something for everyone here – paintings, photography, clothing, didgeridoos, and essential oils.
It is a 25 minute walk from the city or the buses run frequently with a $3 fare. Taxi's cost between $13-$15.
Right in the heart of Mitchell Street, you can swim, touch, feed and learn all about these incredible reptiles. Guests are provided with the opportunity to hold a baby crocodile and feed the juvenile crocodiles with a fishing rod. Both of these activities are included in the admission price. Feeling adventurous? Check out the Cage of Death to get up close and personal with some of the largest crocs in captivity.
Fluffy, the crocodile: Source: Outer Edge Photography, Photographer - Jenna
Depending on breeding season, this is a rare opportunity to watch turtles laying or hatching on the unspoilt, Bare Island, 1.5 hours from Darwin. During nesting season you may even have the opportunity to hold one of the ping pong ball sized eggs. Turtles, a sunset with a kaleidoscope of colours, a full moon and an island with the most incredible sea shells – this tour was perfection.
Sea Darwin operates the Turtle Tracks tour, based on tides and the lunar calendar. Whilst this tour is expensive at $230, it is worth every cent.