My little sister, being the swimmer she is, gave me the opportunity to travel to Darwin with her and my mum last year to help support her at one of her big swimming meets.
Having only every travelled to QLD in Australia I quickly seized the opportunity with both hands. Seeing the whole of Australia has always been on my list of travel “to-do’s,” but overseas countries have always come first.
I was beyond excited to travel to the Top End to experience the stifling heat and damp air of the beginning of the wet season in Darwin (how very STRAYAn of me), and although it was humid, I had more fun than I thought I would and found myself really relaxing and taking in each beautiful sunset.
So if you were ever thinking of travelling up to Darwin, I’m going to show you what I got up to between watching my sister swim, and what I recommend doing, so that if you ever think that there isn’t anything to do in Darwin, you can take a peek at this and know that there is in fact a lot of cool things to get amongst!
WHERE WE STAYED:
Club Tropical Resort at Lee Point was perfect for our week-long trip. It was new, fresh, modern, had BBQ facilities and a good restaurant with delicious food, large rooms, beautiful bathrooms and the most important thing: comfy beds and air conditioning.
The location was definitely out-of-the-way, but it was close to Lee Point Beach and only a 5-10 minute drive to the nearest shopping centre (which had everything by the way). It had a nice little cafe-restaurant which served amazing food. I would highly recommend for families!
THINGS TO DO:
The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are a must if you’re ever in the Top End in the dry season! They run annually from the last Thursday in April to the last Thursday in October. They’re open two days a week (Thursday and Sunday) and play host to the most delicious street style food and gorgeous sunsets. You can bring along chairs and eskys to sit around and enjoy your food, and there is also entertainment such as fire twirlers and local bands. They also have a variety of stalls which sell items such as whips, snake-skin/crocodile leather goods, photographs, jewellery, soaps and beauty care products.
Unfortunately when we went to the markets, it was just starting to rain. And although the food stalls remained open, the live music had to cease due to the weather. Mum, Macy and I all shared a couple off yummy wood fired pizzas and wondered around looking at all the different food options and stalls under a tiny umbrella. Even with the rain, it was still ridiculously hot. We ended up stopping by a stall which sold photographs of the NT’s outback featuring beautiful constellations, and watching a fire twirler who had the kids in awe.
Some of the main food stalls which I remember where:
Thai, Greek, wood fired pizza, ice cream, Vietnamese, churros, Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Italian, Mexican and even an “outback NT” stall which served kangaroo and crocodile.
All in all it was a good place to visit, but it would have been so much better if it hadn’t been raining, which is why I guess they only hold them during the dry season.
My sister got the chance to go on the crocodile river cruise as part of her nationals inclusion. She showed me some videos of how close the crocodiles actually got. The boat was relatively low in the water, whilst the wranglers dangled massive pieces of red meat via a fishing rod like contraption in order for the crocodiles to jump up out of the water. It looked both terrifying and exhilarating to be in such close proximity to such a large creature which we don’t get to see much of, apart from in zoo’s.
The Defence of Darwin Experience is perfect for those who are interested in the second world war which consequently hit the shores of Darwin, and has always been overlooked in the history of war in Australia, with places such as the Kokoda track taking priority. There are tonnes of amazing artefacts, including remakes of the gun machinery, real uniforms and pieces of the war ships in the oceans just outside of Darwin.
There is even an interactive board which tells you the stories of the survivors of the bombing, and their location during the waves. It is interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend to those who have no interest or history involved in the second world war. However, it is definitely a piece of history I’m glad I got to interact with.
If you prefer to be visually stimulated, I highly recommend going and viewing the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Even better is that it’s free entry and there a hundreds of gorgeous Aboriginal artworks which showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous people of the NT. Along with these artworks, there are various models of the evolution of man, animals, and the solar system which can interest adults and children alike.
They also have an awesome and stimulating reenactment of Cyclone Tracy, the biggest cyclone to hit Darwin. It includes audio and visual representations of the people and places which were affected by the vicious cyclone, such as a dark room which has an audio recording of the high-speed winds, and the destruction and rebuild of the typical 70’s themed home during the storm.
PLACES TO SEE:
Lee Point Beach
Lee Point Beach was only a short five-minute drive from our accommodation and provided the most spectacular sunset.
Although you’re not supposed to walk in the beach (crocodile warning signs everywhere) we felt brave enough to venture through a shallow sand bank to watch the sun sinking below the horizon.
There was a large group of people there who were setting off fireworks and drinking by the water, the perfect place for a summer BBQ!
PLACES TO EAT:
Foreshore Cafe and Restaurant provided the goods one early morning, their menu is filled with delicious and fresh foods, and their coffee was amazing! They also have lounge seats and stools spread on the grass surrounding the cafe to take in that gorgeous sunset.
A takeaway window was also in operation for those on the go! Something I’d only ever seen in my hometown before.
The boat club is located right on the harbour with dining areas both inside and outside on the grass. Local musicians frequent the outdoor area with beautiful folk music to entertain diners, and their seafood menu was out of this world. It is a bistro style set up, with food collection at the kitchen after your buzzer went off, and a bar close by.
The location provided yet another spectacular orange, pink and purple sunset, the perfect backdrop to a delicious cocktail and fresh battered fish.
Overall, Darwin is the perfect location for a quick retreat, that is if you can stand the damp heat 😉