This city’s hot in so many ways

Saturday, 3rd October, 2015


THEY told us you get the best sunsets in the world on Darwin Harbour and they weren’t wrong.

You can enjoy the sunset from land, but watching the sun go down while enjoying delicious food and wine on a sunset dinner cruise is hard to beat.

Darwin Harbour Cruises offers two sunset cruises leaving from Stokes Hill Wharf – aboard the Charles Darwin, a 25-metre tri-level luxury catamaran (try to snare an outside table) and Tumlaren, a beautifully restored 20-metre motorised schooner that carries only 45 people.

(08) 8942-3131,

  • WITH average temperatures above 30 degrees, Darwin is hot, hot, hot – and nothing cools you down better than a swim. But what about the crocs, I hear you ask?

Yes, you can swim safely but you need to go to the netted recreation lagoon at the waterfront precinct or the adjacent wave pool.

The waterfront precinct serves as the city’s playground with its green shady lawns abutting the pools and spacious cafes for alfresco dining.

If you’re heading out of Darwin there are croc-free (in the dry season) waterholes in places such as Litchfield National Park but always check with someone before plunging in.

  • THE best food in Darwin is at the legendary Mindil Beach Sunset Markets every Thursday and Sunday from April to October.

Thousands of locals – it feels like most of Darwin has come with their chairs, rugs and eskies – join visitors at the beachside market that hums with music, entertainment, fire-eaters and sizzling barbecues.

Stalls sell everything from handcrafted items to foot rubs. The idea is to buy what you like from a huge array of world fare and then head down to the sand to eat as the sun sets over the Arafura Sea.

The markets have been a Darwin institution for decades and show no sign of going out of fashion.

  • WHILE there’s plenty to see and do in Darwin, one-day or two-day trips to places like Litchfield National Park and Kakadu are almost mandatory. The outback is what the Territory is all about. 

The early morning starts may cause a few groans, but once you lock eyes on the amazing landscape,roaring waterfalls and unusual rock formations you’ll be wider awake than you have been in a long time, especially if you take a dip in one of the rock pools. There’s no place on Earth like the Northern Territory and day tours from Darwin will get you there safely and easily.

  • IF YOU really want to get inside the beating heart of Darwin, spend time with a local – someone who has weathered the time and the seasons and seen the changes to this vibrant multicultural city. 

John Hart, a former long distance tour coach driver with 40 years’ touring experience under his belt, and his wife Nerida can take you on a two-hour walk around the town they have called home for 15 years, sharing insights into historic buildings such as the old Court House and Police Station, the Administrators Office and the Old Palmerston Town Hall ruins.

The heritage walk is the most popular but they can tailor walks to your particular interest such as Cyclone Tracey or the city’s World War II history.

  • ONE of Darwin’s art installations not only looks good, it sounds good too. 

A series of cast iron bronze bells make up the HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime in Civic Park. The installation was commissioned by City of Darwin in 2009 to celebrate 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin. Because Charles Darwin was amazed at the variety of parrots he saw, each bell is topped with a bird, from the small budgerigar to the large black cockatoo.

The chime is programmed to play at regular times with musical compositions from local and world composers.
If you’re musically inclined, you can make a time to play the city’s Bell Chime during your holiday using a supplied MIDI keyboard.

(08) 930-0409 or email

  • WITH such an amazing waterfront and harbour it makes sense to stay in a place with a view. 

Darwin’s newest hotel development, Oaks Elan Darwin, is a 4.5-star boutique hotel in the heart of the CBD looking out across the continually evolving cityscape to the sea.

Although the property is large, with 301 rooms including one- and two-bedroom apartments, it doesn’t have that huge hotel feel.
Its ground floor hosts the city’s first Korean restaurant with inspiring Asian-fused dishes perfect for the climate.

The hotel currently has an introductory high-season offer starting from $199 a night for a contemporary hotel room, which includes free wi-fi and a noon checkout.

* Sue Preston was a guest of Tourism NT and Oaks Elan Darwin.


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