Featured Image credit: Malcolm Williams
Australia’s only tropical capital city, there are many reasons travelers include Darwin in their Australian itinerary.
Some travel for the access to the Outback, using the city as a gateway to the spectacular wilderness the Northern Territory has become famous for. Iconic national parks like Kakadu and Litchfield are only a few hours’ drive away, and the unique Tiwi Islands are a short boat-ride away.
With sweeping views out across the Timor Sea, and being one of the best places in the world to catch a barramundi, some travel for the seafood.
A small yet cosmopolitan city, Darwin is certainly removed from the rest of the country. With a relaxed lifestyle, unique multiculturalism, and diverse history, it makes for a truly unique trip regardless of the time of year you plan to go.
Reasons to Visit Darwin on Your Australian Itinerary
Darwin has long been a melting pot of multiculturalism, and the many different ethnicities that populate Darwin makes for a truly diverse food scene.
Settlers from Thailand, China, India and Vietnam have all made their home here, and such a multicultural presence has been a major influence on Darwin’s cuisine. Asian Fusion is a particular trend that you’ll find offered among many of the city’s best restaurants.
The tropical climate of Darwin also means that outdoor dining is a huge part of the cultural scene; most restaurants will offer outdoor dining, and have shaded areas set up where patrons can escape the heat.
While international cuisine is highly present, local seafood caught daily from the coast is also a Darwin specialty.
International travelers looking for unique local meats can opt for Australian dishes like emu, crocodile, or Kangaroo.
Image credit: Terje Sollie
A Room with a View
Visitors to Darwin won’t be disappointed with the view; overlooking the Timor Sea, there is a huge range of luxury Darwin accommodation that offers a room with a stunning water view.
A couple of notes about Australian hotels if you’re traveling internationally; tipping is not required in Darwin. The listed price for items in Australia includes the charge for service, and while tipping is a nice gesture, it’s not expected, and locals don’t tip so international guests shouldn’t feel the need to.
And also, make sure you travel with the correct power adaptors, remembering that the power outlets in Australia are unique to any other country, and are highly likely to be completely different to the plugs you are used to.
Indeed, from the spectacular landscapes in surrounding national parks, access to the outback, and diving with crocodiles, Darwin is full of opportunities for adventure!
For any-one who might have ever dreamed of cage diving with one of Australia’s most feared and deadly creatures, Crocosaurus Cove offers an experience called the “Cage of Death”; 15 minutes in a glass cage sharing the same water as one of these massive creatures!
You’ll come face to face with a 5 m + crocodile, with the only thing separating you being a thin pane of glass. Feeding takes place while you’re inside the cage which means you’ll be seeing maximum movement, and they’ll have less of an incentive to try and feed on you!!
You can also take the opportunity to ride Ghan while in Darwin. This is Australia’s most iconic rail trip, running south from Darwin to Adelaide (and back), cutting straight through the center of the country, on a transcontinental journey that stretches more than 1,800 km.
Image credit: Jon Connell
A Fascinating History
Darwin’s history is a fascinating one, and by becoming more knowledgeable about Darwin’s past, travelers will have a much greater appreciation and perspective when exploring the region.
The traditional owners of the land are the Larrakia (saltwater people); part of Australian’s Indigenous population, which today has been recognized as the oldest surviving culture on earth. You can stop in at one of the indigenous culture centres if you would like to learn more about the traditions, culture and history of the local people.
Darwin, alongside many other towns and communities in Northern Australia, was bombed extensively during the war. Some of the more interesting places to visit in a historical context include the Darwin Military Museum, the Cenotaph and the B-52 bomber that defended Darwin during World War II.
Image credit: Malcolm Williams
Wildlife and beautiful scenery abound in Litchfield National Park, though an attraction that takes many travelers by surprise are the massive termite mounds!
Standing at up to 4 meters high, and all facing the same direction, the sight has resemblances to a row of tombstones. You can take a tour of this natural phenomena if you wish to, or there are information pamphlets and maps for a self guided tour at the information center.
It’s incredulous to see how insects can work together to build something taller than yourself! The mounds are a strong symbol of this area, so you have to visit them before you leave.
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