"A beginers guide to Darwin" Darwin by sirgaw
Darwin Travel Guide: 685 reviews and 2,050 photos
Underlined = tips, see below.
We had wanted to travel on legendary train ‘The Ghan’ from Darwin to Adelaide when a great money saving special appeared, so hang the expense we grabbed that special. In conjunction with the 3 day train trip, we decided to spend 10 days in the ‘Top End’ – 5 nights in Darwin divided into 3 and then 2 nights, rent a car and then 2 nights in Kakadu National Park, 2 in Katherine and finally 1 night in Batchelor for the nearby Litchfield National Park.
Darwin and the Northern Territory has always fascinated me, but until July 2012 I had never been there. I had read of the bombing of the Darwin in 1942 when WW2 touched Australian soil with a bang. A neighbour in the 1970’s transferred to Darwin and he and his family somehow came back alive battered and bruised when Cyclone Tracy all but obliterated the city in 1974.
I was expecting a laid back place with Crocodile Dundee like characters of all colours wandering the main street and saying G’day to everyone. What I got instead was a vibrant modern small city with many of the features I would expect in other cities, but with a real tropical flavour and feel. Darwin is Australia’s most northerly city and is actually closer to at least 3 capitol cities of other countries than it is to our national capitol Canberra and virtually all the other major cities of Australia. Flying time from my own city of Melbourne was 4.25 hours.
We arrived on the afternoon of the annual Darwin Race Carnival ‘ladies day’ and saw some of the same sort of parade of drunken women parading through the streets as I’ve experienced while cab driving in Melbourne – and not a pretty sight! Our first full day in Darwin just happened to coincide with a visit from the cruise ship ‘Dawn Princess’ and she seemed to take up almost the entire waterfront – interesting sight.
In the 5 days and nights we stayed in Darwin we based ourselves at the close to everything Palms City Resort. The 2 Thursday evenings while in town we enjoyed the Mindil Beach Sunset Market and ate well for a fraction of the cost in expensive Darwin city. We really enjoyed the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and especially the Cyclone Tracy Exhibit as well as ‘Sweetheart’ and other exhibits in the modern museum. From the museum it was across the road and that evening we dined cheaply but with a million dollar view at the Darwin Water Ski Club.
There were 2 nights we ate along the main tourist drag of Mitchell Street and were disappointed both times. One was at an Indian restaurant where we felt it was far too expensive, but OK in spite of the price. The other was at a sit outside pizza place where we had one of the worst pizzas I’ve ever had and at an outrageous price. Both nights we had dessert at the same side street ice cream palour while people watching.
We used the free for seniors’ Darwinbus for some of our travel needs within Darwin. As well we visited the Deckchair cinema, the Waterfront Area and wandered around taking in as much of the local scene as we could in the short time available.
Our last afternoon in Darwin and while Lady Gaw got on with ‘secret women’s business’ of packing and getting ready for The Ghan I managed to escape and trekked to the well worth visiting Defense of Darwin Experience & Military Museum where I went to view history of WW2 and got into a war of my own with a belligerent café worker.
I have included in the tips for Darwin the Litchfield National Park parts 1 and 2 which we visited while staying in Batchelor, but the park is a common day trip from Darwin as its only 120 km away.
We did manage to avoid the over priced crocodile experience places as we’d been there and done that during our previous holiday to Far North Queensland. If you are interested, see my Cairns and Port Douglas pages for details.
It was an interesting few days in Australia’s most northerly city and I’d like to return and see some of the other features we missed.
- Pros:Dry season its almost a balmy climate
- Cons:Everything is so expensive
Tip duplicated on my Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide pages. The Ghan is one of the Australian legendary journeys... more travel advice
As mentioned in my Darwin introduction page, part of my reason to visit Darwin was the Cyclone Tracy exhibition at the... more travel advice
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