Darwin to our surprise felt a whole lot like home, a capital city with a clear cultural identity and more of a big town vibe. In typical us fashion, we rolled straight into a 3-day lockdown not long after arriving! We were however lucky enough to spend this time bunkered down in their spacious apartment overlooking the ocean. Once free from the lockdown, we ventured out to see what this beautiful place had to offer. As a result of 2 weeks of exploring the city and surrounds, here's a list of our personal favourites that we’d do again in a heartbeat!
Wow. That’s all I could say when we arrived at the waterfront! Darwin has created the most amazing spot down at harbour. We gravitated our way back here every second day relaxing, eating or swimming! You can swim in the ocean here free from the salties or if you have trust issues with the croc nets, or you’re a thrill seeker you can jump in the wave pool! When hunger strikes, there is a huge range of restaurants surrounding the swimming area. Predictably, we were feeling Mexican and chowed down on some of the best around at Hot Tamale. We were late to the party and only discovered bubble tea on this trip, but we put the menu to the test at Thirsty Zac’s over the course of our stay. The waterfront is absolutely bursting with life and places to eat, drink and play – must see.
Of all markets, food markets top the list for us. So it’s no surprise that we found ourselves down at the Mindil Beach Markets every Thursday and Sunday.
Darwin has a strong Asian influence evident amongst it’s food, I mean; it’s as close to Singapore as it is to Melbourne. With this in mind, we tried to get around and try as much different cuisine as we could, only to get hung up on one particular dish. We would walk the length of the market and find ourselves back the Laksa van again and again despite everything else leaving us salivating too. We also both have a sweet tooth and got stuck into the maple puffs and fresh fruit sodas, sometimes before dinner. With food in hand, we’d walk down to the beach to watch the sunset on the water, alongside the half of Darwin’s population. Sunsets on Mindil beach have an ethereal feel to it that doesn’t seem to get old and as the light extinguishes over the horizon, there’s a welcomed surprise that we didn’t see coming. We don’t kiss and tell, so you’ll have to find out for yourself!
Darwin Sunset Cruise
If you come to Darwin do not leave until you do the 'Sail Darwin!' Champagne Sunset Cruise! This is some of the best money we’ve spent on an experience to date! As you step foot on the luxury catamaran you are greeted by the eccentric crew and handed a magical champagne flute that never runs dry. The moment the vessel left the docks until it returned, the crew was floating around with canapes and bottles! This wasn’t even the best part! The catamaran takes you on a trip around the harbour, past the larger-than-life naval ships to watch the spectacular sunset. This is such a beautiful moment to experience on the water. Once the cruise is done and dusted its only a short walk to the Ferris Wheel and a fun way to wrap up the night. If your sea legs aren’t feeling up to it after the boat ride, don’t stress! Its meant to be just as incredible for sunrise.
Only half an hour from the CBD is beautiful Berry Springs, we could’ve spent the entire day here relaxing by the pools to escape the heat. The water was crystal clear with a hue of turquoise through it, perfect for the gram. Although it’s technically a hot spring, it was the perfect temperature, we expected bath water if we’re honest. Make sure you pack your goggles, to go exploring amongst the bream and turtles that call this place home. It’s only open during the dry season as it floods in the wetter months.
Located down by the A truly unique experience, reminiscent of the old drive-ins for us. We grabbed a big bag of caramel popcorn and a glass of red, and nestled in. Although the venue was pretty dated, it was still a nostalgic experience, there’s something about outdoor cinemas that just hits different. What's on changes daily, with Australian films a mainstay through the week and blockbusters on weekends. Tickets are $17 a head and they are closed Mondays
Visit Darwin on Northern Territory Day! I popped this as a bonus because NT Day only happens once a year and its on the 1 day of the year in this one state of Australia that fireworks are legal for anyone to purchase and use almost anywhere! By pure luck we were in Darwin on NT Day and it was crazy! It’s not for the faint hearted as there is the sound of fireworks going off everywhere, but it’s an experience we will never forget. There is also a free festival held on Mindil Beach, so you can grab your Laksa from the markets, head down to the beach to watch people let off their fireworks and listen to a few big music acts! Everything finishes up at 8pm and a huge firework display closes the evening! You can finish your night here or you can do what we did and go on a firework scavenger hunt. We jumped on electric scooters and went for ride around the esplanade, watching everyone let off their fireworks late in to the night!