Hotels in Darwin, Australia
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Darwin: the lively gateway to the Northern Territory
Darwin is the smallest of Australia’s state and territory capitals, and is quietly situated in the remote Northern Territory, but the city by the Timor Sea offers no shortage on lifestyle, culture, outdoor entertainment and quality hotels.
The flat, coastal city presents a pristine setting overlooking Darwin Harbour, with museums and art galleries aplenty, a tropical climate that makes a hotel here an ideal destination any time of year, and a unique culture celebrated throughout the year.
Mindil Beach: the lively heart of Darwin
Beaches including Casuarina and Mindil, where a market springs to life on Thursday and Sunday nights starting from the last Thursday in April through to the final Thursday in October, offer miles of sandy beach ideal for swimming and surfing – at certain times of the year.
Box jellyfish inhabit the sea around Darwin and much of the coast around Australia’s north in the summer months, from October to May, and saltwater crocodiles have been known to paddle their way into Darwin Harbour and the popular beaches. Tourists should therefore pay careful attention to signage before escaping the heat with a dip in the ocean, or head to man-made Lake Alexander.
Darwin offers an abundance of outdoor activities, and fishing is one of the most popular with barramundi known to thrive in the region. Many hotels and tourist offices offer fishing adventures and tours for those looking to catch an iconic barramundi or try blue-water fishing.
Territory Day and other celebrations
The 1st of July is a great day to be in Darwin, when the city celebrates Territory Day with a fireworks display on Mindil Beach, the vibrant heart of the festivities. The Speargrass Festival, held on the night of July’s first full moon, also hails the unique local culture and lifestyle of the ‘Top End’, featuring local films, music, and activities such as frisbee golf, spear throwing and organic cooking.
The international influence prevalent in Darwin offers several reasons to party, with the Greek community’s Glenti in early June, the Indian festival India@Mindil later that same month, and Chinese New Year in particular rejoiced with fervour.
An historical outpost
The Larrakia people are the native landowners in the greater Darwin area, and the city itself began as a pioneer outpost settled in 1839.
Darwin’s proximity to Southeast Asia and situation on the north coast meant it was the target for the most serious wartime attacks on Australian soil, when Japanese planes bombed the city. An educational museum on World War II and Darwin’s role in it is now one of the most popular attractions in the city, and offers a prime location on East Point close to most hotels.
Art and galleries galore
Along with the Defence of Darwin Experience, there are numerous museums to take in. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory receives rave reviews, as does the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre.
Darwin has a rich Indigenous history and culture, and there are therefore many galleries like the Mbantua Fine Art Gallery and the Nomad Art Gallery showcasing the work of Aboriginal artists, not to mention the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, which takes place annually in the month of August.
The Fair showcases contemporary fine art from over 60 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres, and is held as part of the larger Darwin Festival, running for 18 days throughout August in Festival Park. The event offers food and drink stalls and free performances in a celebration of music, theatre, visual art and dance saluting the tropical city itself.
365 days of heat
Darwin is hot year round thanks to its tropical climate, with the seasons marked wet and dry. The wet season arrives in summer, bringing spectacular thunder storms, lightning and monsoonal rains, while the dry season occurs over winter, when temperatures range from 20 to 30 degrees and hotels tend to pick up business.
Darwin has an unfortunate history of cyclones, and has been rebuilt three times following devastating weather in 1897, 1937 and 1974, when Cyclone Tracy struck on Christmas Eve.
Gateway to Kakadu and beyond
Darwin is the springboard from which to launch to some of the most fascinating parts of Australia. Otherworldly Kakadu National Park is home to much of the flora and fauna that makes Australia so infamous. Estuarine or salt water crocodiles are in abundance here and easy to spot through the help of one of the many professional tours.
The park is enormous with an area over 19,000 km2, four major river systems, almost 300 bird species, over 10,000 species of insect, and 117 reptile species. The land has been occupied by Indigenous Australians for at least 40,000 years, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site.
Further afield from Kakadu, but even more iconic and a must-see for anyone visiting the Northern Territory, is the Northern Territory’s other UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock, is one of Australia’s best-known and most unique features, yet few make it to the Red Centre to visit despite the growing number of hotels and accommodation options.
By land from Darwin
Uluru might be almost 2,000 km from Darwin, but for those travelling by road along the Stuart Highway the rock deserves a detour. Darwin marks the beginning of the famous Highway, which travels over 2,800 kilometres, stretching all the way south to Port Augusta in South Australia.