Travel

Five reasons to fall in love with Darwin

From sunrise to sunset, here are the best experiences you can't miss!
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Say goodbye to winter and enjoy an early summer by visiting the Top End where you can enjoy warm weather, great food and easily accessible natural beauty.

Wangi Falls is the best-known and most popular attraction in Litchfield National Park – a park renowned for its accessibility and pristine natural beauty. (Credit: Tourism NT)

Take a tour of Litchfield National Park

Litchfiled National Park is perfect to do as a day trip from Darwin. Drive for just 1.5 hours and you could be in the midst of beautiful quintessentially Australian scenery – think majestic termite mounds, lush billabongs, succulent forests and cascading waterfalls. On the way, you can enjoy a swim at Berry Falls – a rock pool on the outskirts of the city. Arrive early and it’s very likely you could have the pools to yourself – total bliss!

Then head on over to Wangi Falls in Litchfield Park itself – featuring a stunning waterfall, a large deep-water pool and a café selling essentials. If you are feeling adventurous you can take a 40-minute walk up over the top of the waterfall and take in the wonderful vista of the surrounding Litchfield National Park, then cool off by swimming right up to and under the falls. What sets these two spots apart is the amazing accessibility. A bitumen road takes you to well appointed parking areas with clean toilets and change rooms, and paved walkways take you on an easy walk to steps to enter each waterhole.

From the sparkling harbour and WWII history to the city’s Asian-influenced food and tropical outdoor lifestyle, Darwin is an adventurer’s paradise. (Credit: Tourism NT)

Enjoy the local produce

Try breakfast at the markets. Parap Village Saturday Markets is full of local produce, arts and crafts, and delicious food stalls. Don’t miss the world-famous laksa which locals queuing from early morning onwards. Markets are all year round on Saturdays 8 am to 2 pm.

Enjoy lunch with a native ingredient twist. Aboriginal Bush Traders is a stunning gallery and café selling everything from art to bush medicines and beauty products. The café has all your morning and lunch favourites with delicious bush tucker flavours. Don’t miss the protein ball with lemon myrtle.

Dine with a view. After a full day of exploring, head to Pee Wees at the Point for dinner. This stunning restaurant has pole position situated on the point overlooking Fannie Bay – and, even better, the menu, atmosphere and service are just as good as the sublime views.

The iconic Mindil Beach sunsets always draw a crowd. (Credit: Tourism NT)

Watch the Sunset at Mindil Beach

Mindil Beach Sunset Market is Darwin’s largest market running alongside Mindil Beach – famous for its stunning sunset. With over 200 stalls selling food, drinks, and arts and crafts, it’s the social heart of Darwin. Watching the sunset on Mindil Beach with nearly 200 like-minded people who clap with appreciation once the sun has sunk under the horizon is one of the most wholesome things you can experience. Markets are on Thursdays and Sundays (4 pm to 9 pm). Last Thursday in April to last Thursday in October.

Watch the sunrise from the Harbour

Take an early morning walk on the Esplanade around the foreshore. There’s a track all the way around past the Deckchair Cinema on the south-western edge of the harbour. Take advantage of the outdoor gym along the way to do some deadlifts, squats and pull-ups if you’re feeling energetic. Time it right and you’ll be able to watch the sun rise over the bay from the wharf.

As you walk the vibrant streets of Darwin, make sure you look up to the multi-storey murals that now adorn the once uninteresting buildings. (Credit: Tourism NT)

Bar hop while enjoying the Darwin Street Art

Over 108 Darwin buildings have had their facades transformed by local and international artists who have helped turn the city into a large open-plan art gallery. These larger-than-life canvases – some up to three storeys high – imbue the city streets with vitality and fun that thrills art lovers from near and far. Download the app for tours and to see some of the paintings brought to life using augmented reality. Start your walk with an afternoon drink at the Babylon Bar, hop into the Stone House Wine Bar &Kitchen and finish with dinner at Ella by Minoli.

How to get there:

Virgin Australia offers direct flights to Darwin from several major cities in Australia, operating daily services from Brisbane to Darwin and Melbourne to Darwin with additional services added during peak periods. Virgin Australia also operates five flights per week from Perth to Darwin and seasonally operates up to three flights per week from Adelaide to Darwin between April and September.

Where to Stay:

The Hilton Garden Inn is the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the city and surrounds. Across the road from the Foreshore Esplanade overlooking the harbour, it’s peaceful but still close to all the action. Relax with a snack and a cocktail by the pool after a day touring and sightseeing.

The writer was a guest of Virgin Australia and NT Tourism and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn.

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