Darwin Delights

Lately my Instagram has feed currently being flooded with picturesque Greece and Bali photos had me wanderlusting for sun, beaches and a fancy cocktail served in a coconut. Recently I took a trip to Darwin in the Northern Territory, and I didn’t realise at the time that Darwin would give me that same Bali-holiday-esque feel I was longing for. Stupidly I know… Sorry Darwin-ites!

While most cities including home-town-Perth are currently experiencing cold temps at this time of year, Darwin experiences it’s best weather: perfect dry, 30 degrees.  Every. Single. Day. (It isn’t called the “Dry Season” for nothing!) Hot enough for pool cocktails yet less frizzy-hair-inducing-humidity than Bali, and yes that IS a big deal, male population.

Darwin has the holiday laid back feel in spades as well as diversity from the beautiful beaches to the tropical waterfalls in Kakadu National Park, there is a lot on offer.

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What to do:
Yes, it’s true there are dangers in the NT – for one, you can’t swim at the NT beaches, unless you want to see a Crocodile smile up close! But coming from Perth where the shark alarm sirens most days in Summer I see this as the beauty of Aus. However if it does bother you you’ll be glad to know there is an amazing enclosed (ie safe) beach and a wave pool (Tokyo style) at the Darwin Waterfront. And from this pool or beach it is a short stroll to some of Darwin’s best restaurants and bars – and yes I really do mean short stroll, like 15 steps away, all the time you need to pull on the sarong. Hello Mojitos!

However if you want to see a crocodile smile up close, with (ahem) solid glass between you, (of course) the best viewing is at Crocodylus Park, situated just 15 minutes outside Darwin City. Here you can see the largest crocodiles (some up to 5 metres long) as well as these residents being fed. It’ll make you appreciate the “no swimming” warnings!

You can’t leave Darwin without having experienced Kakadu National Park. It is a World Heritage listed site after all, having some of the best Indigenous rock artwork sites in Australia.  Having previously worked for several months in the middle of Kakadu I can attest how truly beautiful this part of Australia is. Lush and green, it feels like it is worlds apart from the rest of drought ridden Australia. You can take a scenic flight or boat cruise tours through Kakadu to view the waterfalls, lotus flowers, crocs and birdlife. However, want to road trip it “old school”? You can access Kakadu via car, it’s only 2-3 hours worth of car-reoke from Darwin.

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Best NT Food: You can always try crocodile (just in case I haven’t said the word crocodile enough in this post…) but my pick is the NT Mud Crabs. What’s not to love: crab but in monster size! Head down to Crustaceans located at the Darwin Wharf for their amazing Singapore style Chilli Mud Crab. Like everything in Darwin it’s done at a leisurely pace so do not rush, it’ll take around 2 hours to demolish that sweet crabby meat! (No jokes!) So why not go during sunset; enjoy the view and a few drinks while the sun goes down over the boats and get those hands dirty pulling Sebastian apart. **Be warned: this is not first date food you will be given a bib & you WILL want to wear it!

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Best Beach Sunset: Fannie Bay is where the locals head to unwind and watch the sun go down. Unlike the Wharf there are no commercial jetties or boats in sight, just picturesque open bay. Want a cheap drink or feed to accompany the view? Grab a table at the Darwin Trailer Boat Club Bistro, but head down early the best tables on the lawn fill quickly!

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Best Breakfast: Ducks Nuts. Nope, that’s not a typo. (Can’t say Darwin doesn’t have a sense of humour.) Ducks Nuts pretty much doesn’t close – they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night drinks. But it’s the breakfast that has this place packed on a Sunday morning. They serve the best coffee I tasted while in Darwin, as well as large reasonably priced meals. My local friend has pretty much tried the whole menu, her favourite? The Corn & Zucchini Fritters. Yum!

What to Pack: Bikinis (yes pleural), cut off shorts, swingy sun dresses and thongs (of the rubber footwear variety non-Aussies!) are standard dress fare. The beauty of Darwin? Not a pair of heels in sight, so ladies leave them at home! However if you must have the height pack summer wedges, anything more & you’ll be overdressed – believe me! Guys: singlet and thongs will get you pretty much everywhere and anywhere. Remember: laid back, casual holiday vibe is the key.

Sometimes we (myself included) neglect to think of our own country as a travel destination, even though Australia is so diverse. From the great local food to the wildlife and from the red outback to the tropics, there is something for every kind of person in the NT. So sure we need to get out and see the wider world, but sometimes that world should include our own “world”; our own States and Country. We always say we live in the lucky country, but unless we travel & visit that country how can we truly know how lucky we really are?

Wanderlust, satisfied (for now…)
JB xx

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