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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2 Days in Tropical Darwin: day 1, a taster

Check out our story on Australia's sultry 'Top End' city of Darwin on Viator. We spent a few weeks in this tropical town just before the Wet season started, using it as a base to explore Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Litchfield and we absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, for many travellers heading Down Under, Darwin isn't much more than a jumping-off point for adventures elsewhere, but we think its superb museums, buzzy markets, and multicultural vibe make it deserving of a few days stay. On Viator, we provide a more detailed itinerary for two days in the steamy city, but here's a taster:

1. Check into lush lodgings - our picks are SkyCity, home to Darwin's best restaurant EVOO (pictured), and the luxurious tropical-style Moonshadow Villas, and their chic sister apartments in the CBD. Out of the many backpacker places, we liked the look of Melaleuca on Mitchell.
2. Get your bearings with a tour - no trip to Australia is complete without an Aboriginal-led tour, so we recommend experiencing Darwin through the eyes of an indigenous guide with Batji Tours.

3. Get a culture fix - this is a hot and humid city, so it's best to spend the warmest part of the day indoors and hit Darwin’s excellent Museum and Art Gallery of the NT which boasts a stunning Indigenous Art collection and a quirky exhibit on Darwin’s tragic destruction on Christmas Eve 1974 by Cyclone Tracy.

4. Smile at a crocodile (from a safe distance!) - the region is home to some terrifying salt-water crocs, so it's essential to learn as much as you can about them before heading bush. You can get as close as you'll ever want to get at Crocosaurus Cove (in the 'Cage of Death'!) or view croc feedings on guided tours at Crocodylus Park.

5. Hit the markets - for a small city, Darwin has two brilliant markets: Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, where during the Dry season you can enjoy sundowners from the sandy beach with the locals (who bring their fold-up chairs and beer-filled eskies along!) and delicious Asian food from the stalls over the dunes (Darwin is close to Indonesia and has a large Asian population); and the year-round Parap Village Market on Saturday mornings for more spicy Asian food, crafts, hippy clothes, and Aboriginal Art.

6. Tuck into some tasty Australia seafood by the sea - dinner by the water is a must-do in Darwin, whether it’s fish and chips washed down with beer at Stokes Hill Wharf or a moonlit meal from a restaurant table overlooking boats bobbing in the water at Cullen Bay Marina.

If you want to find out what else there is to do in Darwin, see part 2 of our taster, and the more detailed piece on Viator, where you can also book tours.


Jurgen Huibers said...

Hi there! Would you be interested in a link exchange with my blog 'Beautiful Places'?

Ga's furniture said...

Lara---where was the photo of that mouthwatering dish taken??? yummm

thank you. Jean

Lara Dunston said...


See the URL in the top right column of my blog asking if you want to exchange URLs? If you can leave your link on that post that would be fab. I am so busy, I like to take a look at all the URLs together and update my blogroll in one hit. Thanks!


That photo was taken at EVOO, the restaurant at SkyCity - it's mentioned in the post - it's easily Darwin's best restaurant. The chef is Rebecca Bridges.