Darwin has embarked upon some really great urban renewal projects of late – something I discovered when up in the NT capital for the Beer Can festival. I was struck by the number of new developments that were there from the last time I visited in the mid 2000s and how impressive they were. They’ve really made the city far more attractive and liveable with plenty of amazing venues, great eating places and fantastic markets.
I was also amazed at how popular it is amongst travellers coming on working holiday visas. Maybe they’ve all been reading Lonely Planet’s top 10 picks for 2012? Darwin was one of these.
Here are some of my favourite things:
The deck chair cinema
This totally wonderful outdoor cinema lets you recline in real old deck chairs – loved it. The choice of movies was pretty good with a lot of current flicks on, and while a little pricey at AUD$15 entry it was totally worth it. They also serve great meals at the cinema and they have RID on hand so you can ward off those Territory mozzies while you watch the show. You do need to come early to line up – an hour before is advised.
Seriously Darwin has a wave pool and it’s not corny or tacky at all. It’s really nice. They charge for entry, $5 for a half day and $8 all day. They have sun lounges and the waves aren’t working all the time so you can relax a bit in the shallows. It seems mainly populated by younger teenagers though.
This was built over reclaimed land and next to it is a beach with real sea water. They have a number of protective walls to keep out crocs, sharks and any other nasties.
Stokes Hill wharf
This historic wharf–bombed in WWII–is a real favourite for locals and tourists. There was plenty of fresh seafood here and the prices were okay – it would be good if more of the seafood was Australian but still a great ambiance looking out over the water with plenty of outdoor seating. The perfect way to enjoy the weather in Darwin of an evening.
Okay so the amazing Mindil Market everyone knows about right? Well if you don’t you should. It takes places Thursday (5-10pm) and Sunday afternoons 4-9pm so it’s really a twilight market and it’s great: varying food from across the world, excellent smoothies, a whip cracker, fantastic live music, jewelery, clothing and the usual stuff on sale.
But do note Darwin has other markets as well; Saturday morning markets at Parap, Sunday at Rapid Creek and Nightcliffe.
The WWII tunnels
I really liked these. Okay not everyone’s pick perhaps but they really bring to life one aspect of old Darwin during the war and if there’s one historical thing you want to do then this is a good choice. They tunnels aren’t far from the wave pool area in the Darwin Wharf Precinct on Kitchener Drive. Entry is $6 and you can go right inside the tunnels where old photographs bring the WWII era to life.
Finally Darwin has the Darwin festival on this month (August 9-26). So it’s a great time to check out the NT capital.
If you go we have plenty of amazing tours you could undertake up in the Top End. Here are three:
INTREPID CONNECTIONS 2 Day Kakadu Camping Safari
Camping, Crocs and Culture!
What more could you want in your Top End experience when you’re visiting for a good time not a long time??
What’s New for 2009-2010 · This tour will operate in a new purpose-built Isuzu all-terrain vehicle · Connections travel pillow and towel to use on tour and yours to take for future travels · Wine provided with dinner
Address: Check Availability Please Ask@connections.travel
Darwin Tour – Tour Tub
Visit Darwin`s local attractions on board the unique open air bus the “Tour Tub”. Savour the tropical atmosphere of Darwin and enjoy our relaxed lifestyle. This tour is a relaxed tour, hop on and off the bus visiting fish feeding, museum, botanical gardens, World War II Oil Storage Tunnels, Indo Pacific Marine, Australian Pearling Exhibition, East Point Military Museuam, Fannie Bay Gaol and MGM Grand Casino. Each stop is usually for one hour but if you need more time take another hour, no rush. Your driver is well educated and versed in Darwin`s colourful history and local information. Your ticket entitles you to free entry to World War II Oil Storage Tunnels and discounts in Darwin at all attractions visited.
Address: 5 Pandanus Street Nightcliff 0810
6 Day Darwin to Alice Explorer incl.Kakadu (PB2M)
Travel from the Top End to the Red Centre and experience the dramatic changes in the landscape. Visit national parks, small outback towns and the sacred Devils Marbles rock formation. FULL PAYMENT REQUIRED AT TIME OF BOOKING
Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There will be a blog every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org