Most American vacationers have been to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, however what number of can say they’ve ventured as much as Darwin, Australia’s northernmost metropolis? With roughly 140,000 individuals, it’s the most important metropolis within the Northern Territory and one of the crucial culturally numerous within the nation between the sizeable indigenous inhabitants and all the parents from Australian, European, Southeast Asian, Chinese and Indian backgrounds who name it residence. In different phrases, the meals right here is unbelievable, however extra on that later.
Considering Darwin is so removed from Australia’s different main metropolises, it’s nonetheless straightforward to succeed in by air because of nonstop hops from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Alice Springs and Perth by way of Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Tigerair Australia and regional airways like Airnorth—it’s also possible to fly in immediately from Singapore, Bali or Shenzhen. Whether you’re visiting for a number of days or utilizing it as a base to start an epic street journey by way of the Australian Outback, right here’s why Darwin deserves a spot in your journey bucket listing.
There’s Plenty To See And Do Downtown
There’s no scarcity of reside music venues in Darwin’s Central Business District, or CBD. Start at Shenanigans, Darwin’s quintessential Irish pub on Mitchell Street, and stroll towards the Waterfront aspect of city. You’ll move a mess of craft breweries, bars, eating places, and night time golf equipment — Six Tanks Brew Co., The Tap on Mitchell, Wisdom Bar & Cafe, and Monsoons are native favorites, as are The Lost Arc and Discovery, situated a block over on the opposite aspect of Shenanigan’s. A couple of streets away, Throb Nightclub, Darwin’s solely LGBTQ bar, hosts superb drag exhibits on Friday and Saturday nights.
Darwin’s additionally residence to a burgeoning foodie scene, with a scrumptious mixture of seafood, Greek, Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian fare on supply. Hanuman includes a menu of Thai, Malaysian, and Indian delicacies, whereas Manoli’s Greek Taverna and Stone House Wine Bar & Kitchen are all about old-world European appeal and tapas-bar-style magnificence. Little Miss Korea is understood for its artistic, trendy twists on Korean BBQ dishes, whereas Wharf One Food & Wine and Crustaceans on the Wharf stay crowd favorites close to the Darwin Waterfront. On the Cullen Bay aspect of city, Lola’s Pergola provides a carnival-like environment and attractive cocktails, whereas Boatshed Coffee House is house to the best brunch in Darwin.
During the day, head to the Darwin Waterfront and funky off within the calm, croc-free waters of the Darwin Wave Lagoon or go for a swim subsequent door on the Recreation Lagoon, the place you’ll be able to sunbathe alongside the locals. After watching an ideal Top End sundown out of your perch alongside the Esplanade, catch a film beneath the celebs at Deckchair Cinema — simply maintain your meals in your lap so the possums don’t seize it!
The Suburbs Are Pretty Lively, Too
Remember that tremendous array of worldwide meals I discussed? You can discover it at lots of Darwin’s markets, the most important being in Mindil Beach, Parap Village, Nightcliff and Rapid Creek. Opening dates and occasions range, so verify their web sites earlier than you go.
Try your luck at Mindil Beach Casino Resort or head to Infinity, its stylish poolside membership the place DJs play tunes as you absorb views from the town’s solely beachside infinity pool (observe that the resort’s lagoon pool is for lodge friends solely). Nearby, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens are additionally value a glance.
If you occur to seek out your self in Darwin on a Wednesday night time, don’t miss the Darwin Railway Club’s legendary Swing Night, the place you possibly can study to swing dance as a 20-piece huge band offers the right background music.
Australia’s Best National Parks Are Close By
Darwin’s proximity to 3 of the Top End’s best nationwide parks makes it the right base for starting a street journey to any of them.
Perhaps the preferred — and Australia’s largest — is Kakadu National Park, situated a few two-hour drive from downtown Darwin. A $17 park move provides you entry for as much as 14 days so you possibly can take your time exploring and mountaineering to your coronary heart’s want amongst beautiful riverside surroundings and marshlands, historic Aboriginal rock artwork and dramatic waterfalls reachable solely by 4WD car or helicopter. You don’t essentially need to tough it both, as there are lodge lodging obtainable contained in the park, together with the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, which was designed to appear to be an enormous crocodile. Otherwise, there’s a lodge, caravan park, and campground at Cooinda close to the middle of the park, which has a stunning pool and restaurant that will help you loosen up after an extended day of sightseeing.
Closer to the city of Katherine and a few three-hour drive from Darwin, Nitmiluk National Park is house to Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls, each favourite spots of locals and guests alike. Take a ship or canoe journey down the Katherine River to rise up near the wildlife (costs differ). The 1.Eight-km (1.1-mile) Baruwei Lookout Walk close to the Visitor Center requires a stroll up many steps, however the views of the gorge under make all of it worthwhile.
About a 90-minute drive from Darwin is Litchfield National Park, the right escape from the town for a swim at Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, or Buley Rockhole. Check out the park’s magnetic termite mounds and go for a stroll on the overlook level for spectacular views of Tolmer Falls.
Remember that no pure physique of water within the Northern Territory is assured to be croc-free always so pay special attention to any posted indicators earlier than you dive in!
You’ll Find Hotel Options For Every Budget
Whether you’re a backpacker on a finances or need to splurge in your huge journey to Australia, Darwin’s obtained an assortment of lodging for everybody. Along the Esplanade, you’ll discover two DoubleTree resorts subsequent to one another — the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Esplanade Darwin wins in my guide due to the pool — Novotel Darwin CBD and Mantra on the Esplanade.
Toward the town middle, you’ll discover a Hilton, Rydges, one other Mantra property and a number of other smaller inns hooked up to vigorous eating places and bars. There’s additionally a Travelodge close to Frogshollow park, and quite a lot of hostels with swimming pools to select from should you’re into the Darwin #hostellife scene and are on the lookout for new journey buddies.
Those trying to splurge ought to take a look at Mindil Beach Casino Resort, the place you’ll be able to keep in super-luxe resort rooms that lead out to the lagoon pool or overlook Mindil Beach. Its infinity pool is pictured above.