Capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin is Australia’s only tropical city, and the gateway to breath-taking wilderness parks and Indigenous culture.
Internationally celebrated ecosystems are within three hours drive of the city. Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, Mary River Region, Daly Region, Arnhem Land and Katherine Region are adventurers’ dreams, offering spectacular rainforests, hot springs, gorges and giant termite mounds, as well as unique wildlife, including crocodiles and barramundi fish.
Many wilderness areas hold sites of cultural significance to Australian Aborigines and are perfect for learning about the country’s original inhabitants — from ancient rock paintings and bush food to Indigenous peoples in contemporary society.
Darwin itself is a relaxed and multicultural city of 123,000. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney and to Singapore than Melbourne, Asian cultures have been a heady influence since the city’s late 19th century beginnings.
Start at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory for a glimpse into Darwin’s colonial history, including its Asian heritage. Then visit early buildings converted into museums, including Fannie Bay Gaol, Lyons Cottage and the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre.
Discover local treasures of another kind at Smith Street Mall in the city centre — Paspaley Pearls, Sterns Jewellers, Pearl Galleria and The World of Opal for prized South Sea Pearls and opals, and di Croco for fine saltwater crocodile leather. Try Mindil Beach Sunset Markets and the Parap Village Market for keepsakes from local artists.
Cuisine from 50 nationalities is on hand in Darwin, including kangaroo, buffalo and crocodile. The Darwin Wharf Precinct offers casual dining with sunset harbour views, while bars offer simple al fresco fare — try Deck Bar, Ducks Nuts and Fox ‘n’ Fiddle. Buzz Cafe (delicious mango daiquiris) and Yot's Café are mid-priced, while Christo's Greek and Seafood Restaurant and Crustaceans On The Wharf deliver seafood feasts. Visit E’voo Restaurant, Twilight on Lindsay and Pee Wee’s Beachfront Cafe for fine food and exquisite views.
Central, air-conditioned accommodation is readily available — from backpacker to deluxe. Major hotel chains operate, as well as: Banyan View Lodge, Quality Hotel Frontier, Botanic Gardens Apartments, Sky City Darwin and Mirambeena Resort.