The Northern Territory’s capital is very small compared to other Australian state capitals and with a population of only over 100,000, Darwin has a real charm to it. With a great nightlife, bustling street food markets, fun hostels, loads of work opportunities and close proximity to several stunning National Parks, Darwin is the perfect spot to start your Aussie Adventure. Here are 5 reasons why you should visit ASAP…
1. The Nightlife
Darwin is very relaxed and laid back during the day but the city comes to life after dark. Mitchell Street is the perfect spot to start your night! Definitely Chillis Backpackers and the Melaleuca on Mitchell – these are pretty cool, funky hostels and you’ll be so close to Shenanigans, Wisdom Bar & Café and Monsoon, where you can party with backpackers form around the world or you can let friendly locals showcase the Aussie drinking culture!
Some hostels such as Melaleuca on Mitchell even have their own bar and there is nothing better than cooling off at a backpacker pool party after a hot day out exploring the outback. If you are after a sundowner aka watch the sunset with a drink, pay a visit to The Darwin Ski Club. The drinks are cheap, the view is epic and it’s located in Fannie Bay (no joke)! For live tunes you can head to Viva La Vida on Friday nights, chill out to some jazz while sharing jugs of sangria with your new drinking buddies.
Darwin is also known for its throbbing nightclubs… Throb(!) Nightclub is just one of them. It’s the only LGBT venue in Darwin but popular amongst everyone who loves a themed party. Discovery Nightlclub is a three –level haven for clubbers and host to the best DJs in the country! If you’re after something a little more chilled out, head to the ‘Deckchair Cinema’ for a night of movies under Darwin’s starry sky or how about taking an evening stroll along the esplanade to the Royal Botanic Gardens, free as well as beautiful.
One of the best things about Darwin are the tropical markets. You can buy local arts and craft at the traditional Parap Village market every Saturday of the year but if you are travelling between April and October (great time to visit as that’s the dry season) make sure you are in Darwin on a Thursday or Sunday for the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Take your pick from one of many food stalls, serving everything from sushi, noodles, and decent Aussie burgers to souvlaki! Head down to the beach with your tasty dins and watch the sunset while a didgeridoo plays in the background – SO Aussie! But it’s not just didgeridoos, there are loads of quirky street performers to watch as you enjoy your dins. Finish of this idyllic feast with organic ice-cream made from the many exotic fruits that grow in the area – YUM.
While Darwin’s waterfront is breathtakingly beautiful, you can’t swim in the sea unless you want to encounter a saltwater croc (probably best you don’t) but no problem, you can still cool off from the humidity and hot temperatures at Darwin’s Waterfront Precinct. Swim in the real sea in the closed off, croc-safe lagoon or catch some waves at the Wave Pool. Definitely take your mates and hang out in the park area or at one of the many restaurants and bars. Flyboard over Darwin’s lagoon, it’s the coolest thing to do and you can feel like your favourite superhero.
Found yourself a little holiday romance or just feeling a bit romantic? Hop on a sailing boat along the waterfront and soak up the evening sun that covers Darwin in a golden light – makes for the perfect selfie-op and all your mates back home will be so jealous.
4.Work, work, work
You are here to stay! Well at least as long as your Working Holiday Visa allows you to… Darwin is a fab spot to start your Aussie Adventure with many work opportunities in and around the centre. Here’s a run-down of just a few of the things you can do; get paid to serve drinks to your mates or work in a restaurant with free food (anything is better than 2-minute noodles – right?) or how about making the big bucks on a construction site or get your hands dirty on of the tropical fruit farms. FYI: If you do fruit picking for 3 months you’ll be able to apply for your second year visa, you may not be so keen on mangoes or melons for a while after… but hey it’s worth it and the feeling will fade, promise!
Only a stone’s throw from South East Asia, the food on offer in Darwin is varied with influences from different Asian cuisines and together with local dishes this makes an Asian/Australian fusion that will make your taste buds explode! Thanks to the Brits and Europeans you can basically get all your favourite foods in Darwin and makes it one of the best places for foodies in all of OZ! Jetty and the Fish is a little food truck by Casuarina Dr that will give you the freshest seafood abd a little slice of home. The Cav is a local’s favourite and the menu is a good mix of Aussie and international dishes but if you want to try something more exotic head to ‘Chow!’ for the best Banh Mi in town. If you want to celebrate just how awesome you are and spend a bit of your hard earned dosh, then head to Rorkes or Lola’s Pergola, a cool gastropub in Cullen Bay with seaside views and the best burgers in Darwin!