Visit a market
Darwin’s Mindil Beach sunset market has more than 60 food stalls with treats from Turkey, Greece, Sri Lanka, South America, North Africa, India and across South East Asia. Every Thursday and Sunday evening from May to October, locals and visitors go to the market for dinner.
See a sunset
After dinner, roll out a picnic rug on the beach and watch as the sun sinks into the Arafura Sea. The sky is streaked with burnt orange, brilliant red and vibrant yellow. The sunset is one of the most spectacular sights in the Northern Territory.
More than 80 ethnic groups are represented in Darwin, which first attracted Chinese miners looking for gold in 1874, followed by pearl divers from Japan and the Philippines in the 1880s.
The Greek community arrived from the 1950s, followed later by people from Vietnam and East Timor.
There are markets at the start of the day, one at Parap Village Shopping Precinct (Saturdays 8am-2pm), another at Rapid Creek Shopping Centre (Sundays 7am-1pm), and one at Nightcliff Shopping Centre (Sundays 8am-2pm).
A favourite haunt of locals is the Darwin Wharf precinct that was once an industrial wilderness but now offers many dining and entertainment options. Fish and chips are popular, especially the barramundi – an NT speciality.
The Darwin Wharf precinct includes the Stokes Hill Wharf that was bombed by the Japanese on 19 February 1942, killing 243 people. The story of Darwin’s role in the war is told in the Defence of Darwin Experience at East Point, next door to the Darwin Military Museum.
There is also a short self-guided tour of a World War II storage tunnel that was built to keep oil and other flammables hidden from Japanese bomber planes.
There’s a display of Darwin photographs from World War II.
Ride a chopper
If you fancy a bird’s eye view of what Japanese pilots saw, you can take a Bombing of Darwin Chopper Tour.
Take a swim
The waters around Darwin are warm but it’s safest to go to Darwin’s popular wave lagoon, near the Darwin Wharf precinct, with automated waves of up to 1.7 metres.
Meet a croc
If you want to get up close and personal with a saltie, Crocosaurus Cove, in the heart of the city, is where people are lowered in a Cage of Death into the water to come face to face with five metre crocodiles.
In 1974, Cyclone Tracy flattened Darwin, leaving a path of destruction that killed 71 and left 41,000 people homeless.
The Cyclone Tracy display at the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, one of Darwin’s most visited attractions, tells the dramatic story.
Words: Sue Wallace
Published in RoyalAuto Oct