Darwin’s a great base from which to explore Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, but it’s also a great little city in its own right (emphasis on the little – just 129,000 people live here, which is tiny considering it’s a state capital). Contrary to what you might have heard, there’s more to do than visit a croc farm and feed the fish.The markets are excellent – and on a Thursday or Sunday night at Mindil Beach, there’s some serious bargain hunting to be had.

Those expecting to encounter a location as culturally desolate as it is geographically remote may be surprised that there are art galleries, theatres and museums here and great ways of taking advantage of the tropical nights. 

 

1. BEER CAN REGATTA

Depending on who you talk to, or believe, Darwinites are the heaviest drinkers in Australia. This comes in handy in a city that hosts the utterly insane annual Beer Can Regatta (July), in which participants take to the seas in boats made from empty beer cans.The regatta is as Territorian as you can get, but it attracts people from around the world. It originally started following Cyclone Tracey in 1974; the tradesmen employed to rebuild the town drank a shitload of beer due to the tropical climate (any excuse) and many-an empty can was strewn across the street. The regatta was started as a means to get rid of the rubbish. Resourceful. These days it raises funds for local charities. Now that’s worth drinking to.

beercanregatta.org.au

2. MINDIL BEACH MARKETS

The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets arewell worth a visit. With more than270 food and craft stalls set againstthe backdrop of the beautiful MindilBeach, these markets deserve theirreputation as a tourist ‘must see’.Running Thursday and Sundayevenings during the dry season (April-October), Darwin’s proximity to Asia isreflected here, with inexpensive foodfrom all over the continent and beyondon offer, as well as people jugglingfire and all that kind of fun malarkey.Thursday 5pm to 10pm. Sunday 4pm to9pm

mindil.com.au

 

3. MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY

The view from the NT’s Museum and Art Gallery alone is worth the visit.Situated about a five-minute drivefrom the CBD, just back from Vestey’sBeach and opposite the much-loved SkiClub, this free museum is the perfectintroduction to Darwin’s fairly tumultuouspast. It provides an entertaining, diverseand educational experience for the localcommunity as well as visitors to Darwinthrough exhibitions and events basedon the region’s art, history and culture,and through touring exhibitions. OpenMonday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au

%TNT Magazine% Mindil Beach Sunset Markets Facebook

2. MINDIL BEACH MARKETS

The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are well worth a visit. With more than 270 food and craft stalls set against the backdrop of the beautiful Mindil Beach, these markets deserve their reputation as a tourist ‘must see’. Running Thursday and Sunday evenings during the dry season (April-October), Darwin’s proximity to Asia is reflected here, with inexpensive food from all over the continent and beyond on offer, as well as people juggling fire and all that kind of fun malarkey. Thursday 5pm to 10pm. Sunday 4pm to 9pm

mindil.com.au

 

3. MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY

The view from the NT’s Museum and Art Gallery alone is worth the visit. Situated about a five-minute drive from the CBD, just back from Vestey’s Beach and opposite the much-loved Ski Club, this free museum is the perfect introduction to Darwin’s fairly tumultuous past. It provides an entertaining, diverse and educational experience for the local community as well as visitors to Darwin through exhibitions and events based on the region’s art, history and culture, and through touring exhibitions. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au

%TNT Magazine% Crocosaurus Cove Getty Images

4. CROCOSAURUS COVE

Saltwater crocs are the most famous of the NT’s creatures, and if the idea of being face-to-face with one is appealing to you then you should visit Crocosaurus Cove park in Darwin. It allows thrill-seekers to swim with massive saltwater crocodiles, such as 18-footer Choppa, (terrifying, right?). The ‘Cage of Death’ (reassuring) costs $160 for a single cage or $120pp for a double cage.

crocosauruscove.com

 

5. DECKCHAIR CINEMA

Let us paint a picture… grab yourself a cushion and a stubby cooler and chill under the stars on a tropical night, all while watching a film. What’s better than that? This is exactly what you’ll experience at the Deckchair Cinema. It is a Darwin institution screening everything from the latest blockbusters to the classics, and it turns 20 this year. $16.

deckchaircinema.com.au

 

Images via Getty & Facebook