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EVOLVE Travel: Darwin – Australia’s Top End Joy

As the cold months approach we start thinking of warmer destinations when it comes to holidays. Queenslanders are lucky, the humidity of summer has gone and the stunning winter months are perfection, but for those in the southern states winter is, well, fairly cold and grey.

One place that you may not have considered for your next winter solstice is Darwin – and it’s a place filled with incredible experiences.

The Northern Territory is pretty good when it comes to the marketing of its hallmark tourist destinations. Places like Ayers Rock, Katherine Gorge and Kakadu are known globally, but its capital is filled with cool things to enjoy and winter is the ideal time to take it all in.

Let’s be honest, the wet season – if you don’t like energy-sapping humidity – is not the best time to visit Darwin, but May to October is heaven. Overnight temps drop to the mid-20s, while daytime highs hover in the early 30s (Which is regarded as cold for the locals!).

The question is, if you booked a holiday and didn’t leave Darwin, could you fill in your time? The answer is an unequivocal yes.

Whether you like sailing and cruising, good food (Darwin is famous for its Barramundi), sightseeing, or tourist destinations, there’s plenty to do.

First up, Darwin is well known for its markets. You must, and that’s must, visit the iconic Mindil Beach sunset markets. There, you can sample the international cuisines from over 60 stalls, there are arts and crafts, light shows, live music, street performers as well as aboriginal artwork.

Just next door is the Star City Casino, and opposite the museum and art gallery is the Darwin Ski Club. Now, we wouldn’t normally cherry pick one F&B venue over every other but this is another must-visit place. Situated right on the beach, there is simply no better place – maybe in the whole country – to relax with a cold beverage as you watch the sun go down. 

As far as sightseeing goes, check out Crocosaurus Cove for an up-front experience with crocodiles. If you are brave you can also submerge yourself in a cage and see them face to face. The museum has already been mentioned, but it’s worth going for the Cyclone Tracey exhibit alone.

If you are into military history, Darwin offers a treasure that no other Australian city can boast. On February 19, 1942, Darwin became the only Australian city to ever be bombed by an enemy. In recognition of this you can visit the Darwin Military Museum and there are also guided walking tours that show the impact the Second World War had on the city.

Other than this, you can tour the Royal Flying Doctor tourist facility, visit the Darwin waterfront for a delicious meal or, depending when you visit, enjoy some world-class events.

In June, the Supercars Championship visits Hidden Valley Raceway. Other than Bathurst and Melbourne’s Formula One Grand Prix, the Darwin round is one of the series jewels in the crown. Promoted by the NT Government, the infrastructure is first class, so you can easily get to and from the track ensuring a great day out. 

On July 1, the Territory enjoys Territory Day with legally purchased fireworks, and August delivers the exalted Darwin Festival. There is so much to do and see that the whole family will be kept entertained.

Other than that, when the down time calls you can relax in some of the best hotels, lie by the pool or take in the sites from the Darwin foreshore. Just watch out for the local wildlife, they can bite… hard!