Destination: Darwin

The Northern Territory’s capital Darwin has come a long way since its original founding in 1869. Actually, the town was not always called Darwin, but Palmerston – though the port was always known as Port Darwin. Palmerston began expanding in 1871 when gold was found at Pine Creek – a small town in the Katherine region about 225 km south – and was renamed Darwin in 1911 after British naturalist Charles Darwin.

The city has a fascinating history, having been entirely rebuilt four times – three times following devastating cyclones and once due to Japanese air raids during World War II. Today, Darwin is home to over 140,000 people, which makes it the least populated Australian capital city; however, it is one of thecountry’s fastest growing. Many people are attracted to its exotic location, tropical climate, and great relaxed lifestyle. It stands as the gateway to Australia’s far north – the Never-Never and all the remarkablenatural landscapes and wildlife of Australia’s Outback.

This article provides a snapshot of some of the most popular activities that can be done in Darwin and at low cost.

Cultural activities

With its fascinating history and traditions, Darwin’s growing cultural scene offers abundant arts and cultural activities. Today, Darwin is home to more than 20 museums and art galleries–the most renowned being the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). The current building opened in 1981 and is located at Bullocky Point overlooking Fannies Bay. This impressive museum has an expansive collection of Aboriginal art, native wildlife, and historical military memorabilia as well as a fascinating exhibition on the horrible toll extracted by the devastation of Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve, 1974and the fortitude and resilience of the people of the North in rebuilding the city yet again. What’s more? It’s free!

Another popular cultural meeting point is the Deckchair Cinema. Founded in 1994, the Deckchair Cinema is an outdoor cinema located near the harbour from which you can enjoy a stunning sunset, and drink with your meal in the gardens prior to your movie under the stars. Thereis a licensed kiosk, 250 deckchairs with a further 150 regular seats and bringinga picnic ispermitted (but no BYO alcohol). Movies arescreened seven nights a week from April to November and include a range of Australian and international films. What a great way to spend an evening!

Water Activities

Despiteall the saltwater crocodiles and dangerous stingers found in the ocean, Darwin and its surroundings hasplenty of safe areas to swim, both natural and artificial. Wangi Falls, Lake Bennet, Lake Alexander and Berry Springs Nature Park are just a few of the natural locations offering beautiful and refreshing swimming spots to spend the day. Other activities may also be conducted there such as canoeing, fishing, and bushwalking. These areas are perfect to spend time with friends or family with plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Litchfield Park Photo by Nick Dunn on Unsplash

Other water activities include two man-made beaches located in the Waterfront Precinct at the heart of the city – namely the Wave Lagoon and Recreation Lagoon. Unlike some of the natural spots, these can be enjoyed all year round. The wave pool is great, producing different sets of waves. Entry incurs a small fee, but in return you can enjoy all the sun lounges, boogie boards and other water equipment. What’s more is that these premises offer lots of catering options, a shopping centre and art gallery. It truly is a great way to spend the day while remaining in the city!

Dining and Entertainment

After a day well spent in Darwinand its natural surroundings, you are bound to be hungry. The city has numerous eateries guaranteed to please everyone, from Asian fusion to kangaroo and crocodile. That being said, one of the city’s most iconic places well worth a visitis the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Located along the beach foreshore, this wonderfully diverse market takes place every Thursday and Sunday from April to October. Itwill enable you to experience a great diversity of affordable international street food, while enjoying yet again the gorgeous sunset.  Besides giving you a fantastic dining experience, the markets provide numerous arts-and-crafts stalls and live entertainment.

Mindil Beach  – Photo by Vladimir Haltakov on Unsplash

Darwin will not disappoint you! This fast growing town has a lot to offer and will give you an authentic taste of Australia!