Things to do in Darwin
Darwin is a great destination in itself as well as being an ideal base from which to explore the vast Northern Territory. It is perfect for those who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and all manner of watersports, but equally it also has lots to offer lovers of culture and food. Cruises have recently become popular. Here are some highlights to consider on your visit.
The Wharf Precinct is the place to see some of the city's historic landmarks that survived the bombings in World War II. George Brown Botanic Gardens houses examples of all the local flora and is a great place to learn about the environment. History buffs should visit the old Oil Storage Tunnels, designed to protect valuable fuel from aerial attack but now hosting an exhibition of WWII photography. The Aviation Heritage Centre has some fantastic exhibits, including one of only two B-52 bombers on display outside of the US.
The markets of Darwin are an essential experience for every visitor to the city. Mindil Beach Sunset Markets have fabulous food and allow you to picnic and watch the sunset over the ocean as you are shopping. Live music provides the soundtrack to the arts and crafts for sale at Parap Village Market, while eco-friendly products and fashion are sold at Nightcliff Market. The best mainstream shopping in the city is to be found in the areas around Smith Street and at Casuarina Square. Look out for fabulous local pearls and honey.
The dining district of Darwin is centred around Knuckey and Mitchell Street, with lots of cafes, bars and restaurants. You can choose from casual or classy but the ambience is always relaxed. You can sample modern Australian cuisine at Pee Wee's at the Point, while enjoying superb views of the bay. Crustaceans on the Wharf is perfect for seafood, with traditional fish and chips served from a converted corrugated iron shed at the end of the pier. Hanuman is an excellent Thai restaurant with an enticing Australian wine list.
The city's Entertainment Centre on Mitchell Street has a playhouse, exhibition gallery and theatre offering a regular programme of concerts, dance and drama. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory awaits you in the gardens on the harbour and is the foremost cultural institution in the Northern Territory. It features exhibits on Aboriginal, Asian and Oceanic art, crafts, archaeology, history and natural science and is a must for any culture lover. Brown's Mart is another cultural icon in the city, with regular theatre performances.
The nightlife of Darwin is surprisingly varied for such a small city. Try out the Endless Summer Party Cruise, with a bar, DJ and an after party club tour of the city. Monsoons, which features an 80-foot granite bar, has more than 20 different beers on tap. Ski Club is the place for a sunset drink and Throb offers live shows and is the centre of the city's gay scene, while the SkyCity Casino offers 24-hour gaming. Try Bogart's Bar and Grill for some of the best cocktails in town.