Darwin by Jenny Brewer
My first trip to Darwin was
as breathtaking as my last. It is a city of diversity, culture and heritage,
located in the vast outback at the top northern end of Australia. There
is an endless vista of scenery, and it is an ideal location for a self
drive holiday as you need wheels to explore the beauty of the surrounding
natural attractions. Set in the tropics, the climate is cooler and dry
from May to October, and April to November brings tropical storms and hot
days. Bring some warm clothes but expect clear skies and incredible sunsets
overlooking the ocean. Always come prepared with plenty of water if you
are travelling out of the city, and remember that you can't swim in the
ocean or rivers unless there is a sign that says you can. Crocodiles and
sharks are also a few of the locals.
could spend a week enjoying the city of Darwin alone. One favourite of
mine is the Thursday night / Sunday afternoon markets, located on the waterfront
at Mindil Beach. Locals and tourists alike can be found here sampling the
local cuisine, enjoying the entertainment and relaxing along the beach
strip. The best time to wander down is around 4pm, as you can stay to watch
one of the most famous sunsets in Australia. Sunset cruises are popular,
or enjoy a glass of wine (with the multitudes) on the sand.
A great family event is the
Aqua Scene Fish feeding. For decades at high tide the fish arrive in the
droves to be hand fed. Fantastic for a Kodak moment, this is a must do!
Expect to feed fish like the famous barramundi, bream and catfish.
Crocodylus Park is another
well known attraction, which old and young alike will enjoy. You will find
buffalos, emus, ostriches, iguanas and more, with crocodile shows throughout
the day. This is a safe environment to see the well known wildlife that
the kids will pester you to visit until you bring them here.
For a great night out, head
to the Darwin Wharf Marina. Leave early as it is very popular, with fantastic
views of the sunset, and plenty of seafood restaurants and delicious meal
selections combining to bring a relaxing atmosphere. It is common for huge
fish to swim below waiting for food to nibble on.
Afterwards, you could head
to The Deckchair Cinema down the road, where you can enjoy an outdoor movie
with the added bonus of the Darwin Harbour and starlit sky as a backdrop.
Where else could you experience this?
My first impressions of the
Museum and Art Gallery were of awe and wonder at how many collections of
bird, mammal, reptile, insect displays, boats and ships, history and artwork
could be found in the one place. There is an interactive room based on
the devastation of Cyclone Tracy which even has a recording of the actual
Just a ferry trip away, the
town of Mandorah is steeped in Aboriginal history, and there are great
fishing spots not far from the jetty. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a drive
around the top of the top end.
About 45 minutes out of town,
the Territory Wildlife Park is fantastic for the whole family. There are
long walking trails that take you through plenty of exhibits, with a nocturnal
house, aviary, monsoon forest walk and all of the animals you would expect
to find in the Territory. You need at least 3-4 hours to make the most
of this vast park which stretches across 1000 acres.
Double up with a trip to
Berry Springs Nature Park afterwards for a refreshing swim in the natural
pools. Enjoy the rockwaterfalls, and watch out for the little fish that
try to nibble your toes.
The picture perfect views
in the Kakadu National Park cannot be compared with any worldwide destination.
You need a couple of days to get into the heart of Kakadu, and there are
a number of camping sites located in the park. The Wet season is the best
time to visit where you will experience incredible birdlife, scenery and
of course crocodiles. It is advised to visit Alligator River with an experienced
guide for obvious safety reasons.
Litchfield National Park
is close to two hours out of Darwin, and apart from Kakadu, truly is an
oasis in the desert. From the Tabletop Range to the cascading waterfalls
and tropical paradise below, there is so much to see here. There are walking
trails and camping spots scattered around the park. This is perfect for
those who want to get off the beaten track.
Known for its aboriginal
culture, vast horizons and magnificent scenery, Darwin has something for
everyone. Enjoy the freedom of a car to choose when and where you will
embark on your next adventure, and prepare for the trip of a lifetime.