Every Australian will be happy to have you know that Darwin is unbearably hot. Hot like nothing you've ever experienced before. Hats that, young traveler, you've been to the Caribbean in summer? Well, that's nothing compared to the heat that Darwin pours on its unfortunate visitors. Darwin even gets cyclones, which are nothing like Hurricanes of the Northern Hemisphere. You see, cyclones can go up to 281 Kilometers per hour, where as hurricanes only get up to 175 Miles Per Hour. Big difference.
To be truthful, since arriving on the Ghan, I have sweated more than I can drink and feel hot down to my core. I sweat when I even think about going outside. It's unlike anything I have ever experienced before.... that is, except for the time I lived in Florida for 2 years. It's actually a lot like that. So much so, I would say if you've experienced Florida heat, than you have also experienced Darwin heat. Now that I have effectively shut that case let's move on to why Darwin is a great hub for travelers.
If you're looking for a place to stay in Darwin look no further than the Banyan View Lodge. Yes, it may be "budget accommodation", but you do get a great view of the Banyan. And in case your wondering what a Banyan is, I believe it is this deep hole next to the building. We saw a few other banyans around town as well, generally next to construction sites.
If this doesn't tweak your ronies, then fear not, Darwin has plenty of backpacker hostels and hotels. The cheaper stuff is on Mitchell Street and the more expensive is only a block or two from there. Try the Holiday Inn across from the Esplanade for something a bit nicer.
The Wharf Precinct in Darwin is one great place to cool off. It is surrounded by fancy shops and high end apartments. Across the wharf you have the best seafood around at Stokes Pier. It's like a food court except with authentic Asian cuisines and fresh seafood. You can walk to all of these places very easily.
Lameroo Beach is another unfortunate example of how certain people leave their cans and bottles all over the public spaces. Not to mention this was a mere 20 meters from a sign on the aboriginal significance of the area and how we need to respect it. The sign itself would have been easier to read however if it wasn't covered in graffiti. I have seen this time and time again in Australian towns. It makes one wonder why don't cities do anything to prevent this?
The highlight of Darwin on any Thursday and Sunday night is the Mindil Beach Market. Starting just before the sun sets you have hundreds of locals and tourists showing up for a night out at Mindil Beach. Tour guides, artists and musicians show up to sell their best products to locals and tourists alike. It's a great bustling market.
Asian food stalls out number the rest, but one that stood out particularly well was the Road Kill Cafe. Meals include buffalo, gator, kangaroo, wallaby and camel. So delicious I wanted to run something over and eat it myself.
This duo is known as Raw Didge and these two put on one hell of a show. This guy rocks the didjeridoo like none other. Kind of like how Jethro Tull made the flute look cool, Raw Didge has done it with the didjeridoo. Live music continues through the night at Mindil Beach Market with the place closing up at 10pm. Do keep in mind you won't find any alcohol here as the place is BYO. Come prepared to the Mindil Beach Markets.
The nightlife in Darwin revolves around Mitchell Street, where backpacker hostels and bars line the street. Several places have regular live music and drinks will run you about $3 - $7.
Other activities that don't necessarily include drinking are the deck chair cinema, East Point Nature Reserve, Fannie Bay Gaol, Museum and Art gallery of the Northern Territory and the underground oil tanks. In fact, the Art Gallery and Museum of the Northern Territory is one of the most concise I have been to in Australia. I learned more about Aboriginal history and the local area than I have in other museums. That is a definite winner if you're looking for something enlightening and air conditioned at the same time.
Darwin is an easy place to spend a lot of time. Pubs, live music, markets and beaches are great but it has a character of its own that very is easy to get along with. It has a culture that is laid back, even by Australian standards. Couple that with the proximity of Kakadu and Litchfield and you have plenty of reasons to visit Darwin.
First Impressions of Melbourne