Published on January 8th, 2018
Spotlight on DarwinPerched at the top of our vast continent, Darwin is a tropical melting pot of culture and history. It sits on the edge of huge Darwin Harbour, with water views from almost everywhere in the city.
A third of Darwin’s residents were born overseas, a quarter come from countries where English was not their first language, and almost another 10% are Aboriginal. Taken together, the demographic mix lends the city a cosmopolitan flavour that more than rivals the East Coast. It’s also the Australian city with the youngest population, with a median age of just 31 years.
The city itself has benefited from a number of infrastructure projects and new properties, meaning it’s liveable for city commuters wanting a range of options. Population growth has been slow for some years, which is being addressed by the government to encourage people to move. Get in early and you’ll find plenty of housing stock to choose from.
Once you’re there, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in this vibrant city. Being close to the equator, Darwin has a tropical climate with only two distinct seasons: the ‘Wet’ and the ‘Dry’. Come between May and October to miss the worst of the humidity and monsoons that characterise the wetter months. Temperatures sit around the high twenties during the day, and the dress code is seriously relaxed.
A young town means a thriving cafe culture, with a huge range of eateries to choose from. Whether it’s a turmeric latte or a good old fashioned burger you’re after, you’ll find it here. Try Four Birds for a quaint setting in the city centre, or melt-in-your-mouth pastries at Alley Cat. The new kid on the block is the Luck Bat Cafe, with an arty ambience to adore.
When the sun goes down, the scene heats up. Start at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct for cocktails and great restaurants, then head to Mitchell Street for bars and clubs galore.
Darwin is known for its outdoor markets, and there are plenty to choose from. Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, held on Thursday and Sunday nights from April to October, are the largest and most popular, and one trip will show you why. They’re packed with stalls offering arts, crafts and artisan goods, with live entertainment and a huge range of international cuisines to sample. Grab a barramundi burger or a hand churned ice cream and enjoy a tropical sunset over the beach.
Come in August and experience the Darwin Festival. It’s three weeks of non-stop fun, from cabaret to live music and stand up. If you’re here in July, the Walking With Spirits Festival is regarded as one of the country’s most spiritually significant Indigenous Festivals, and an unique experience for participants.
Admire the natural habitat at Charles Darwin National Park, developed to showcase the rich mangrove habitats of the area. Or why not let the cascading waterfalls of Litchfield National Park take your breath away – there are tours aplenty to choose from if you’d rather have a guide along.
You can’t visit the Top End without a crocodile encounter, and Crocodylus Park is one of the safer ways to do it! 15 minutes from central Darwin, Crocodylus showcases everything from 30cm baby crocs to adults measuring a mammoth 4.8m. If you prefer your wildlife a bit wilder, try the Jumping Crocodiles Cruise on the Adelaide River. The River is home to over 1,600 crocs, so you’re unlikely to leave without an iconic snap of them snapping at their dinner.
Darwin is as laid back as they come, with a cosmopolitan vibe that’s all its own. Come and experience it for yourself – you may never leave!