Seasoned Traveller


    Notes from the road

    Darwin is special.

    I can understand why Australians on the east and south coasts pack up their lives and move to the capital of the Northern Territory.

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    For one, there’s the climate. The temperature rarely drops below mid-20°C and days hotter than 30°C are common. It's humid, it's tropical and it feels closer to Asia than Australia. In fact, it kind of is: a flight to Timor East is only 1.20 hours, compared to the 4.20 hours to Sydney or Melbourne.

    Some say you should avoid the wet season (November to April), but heavy rain makes the waterfalls at nearby Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks even more spectacular. In the city, all the locals know that a clearing monsoon makes for the best sunset.

    And of course, there’s the food. Darwin’s proximity and similarities to Asia means that the city is filled with vibrant communities, including lots of Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai people. There’s even a yearly laksa festival, while the markets are as good for a spicy breakfast and tropical smoothies as they are for buying durian.

    With one of Australia’s highest Aboriginal populations, Darwin is also a wonderful place to learn more about culture, view and buy Indigenous art and chat to (and learn from) First Nation Australians.

    It's a city filled with characters, cruises and crocodiles (you can't swim in the ocean, aside from a sectioned-off area at Darwin Waterfront). There's jaw-dropping street art (check out Austin Lane), fantastic restaurants, museums, galleries and enough to keep you occupied for weeks on end.

    Spend at least four days in the capital, and add extra for day trips (visit Tiwi Islands for a dose of culture and history) and nearby national parks. Road trips are the best way to see Darwin and surrounds.

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