Darwin is the capitol city of Australia’s Northern Territory or “Top End” as Australians like to call it. This multicultural cosmopolite has transformed itself over the last 40 years to become one of Australia’s major tourist hubs for both Australian and international visitors. Darwin lies on the tropical band that stretches across the topmost northern part of Australia. Like Bali it has its ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons with “the dry” delivering clear blue skies and refreshing sea breezes. Darwin is a modern city that has maintained some of its best colonial buildings. Parks, gardens and public events add colour and vibrancy to this once pioneer outpost on the Timor Sea.
The Top End is teaming with wild life but it is not necessary to “Go Bush” to get close to Northern Australia’s oldest resident,
the saltwater crocodile. This monster of dinosaur proportions is estimated to have been around for 150 million years. In the heart of Darwin Crocosaurus Cove can put visitors alongside these fearsome creatures with its ‘Cage of Death’. One is able to get up close and personal to them through a transparent cylinder. Crocosaurus Cove has the world’s largest collection of Australian reptiles and visitors are able to handle harmless snakes, lizards and even baby crocodiles.
A 200,000 litre freshwater aquarium holds Barramundi, Sawfish and Whip rays
below a turtle enclosure.
A short ride out from Darwin takes visitors to The Adelaide River Queen and views of saltwater crocodiles in their natural state as the boat cruses the Adelaide River. Enticed by pole hung meaty morsels, crocodiles
jump high next to the boat. This is thrilling sight and a good demonstration of
the awesome power of these creatures. An informative and entertaining commentary accompanies visitors on this fascinating boat trip.
Tourists to Darwin from April to October can visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets at Mindil Beach, close to the central business district of the city. Open on Sundays and Thursdays during these months the markets have a large number of stalls that offer arts, crafts and entertainment alongside an eclectic range of 60 food stalls that serve delights from over 30 different countries. With its westerly aspect Mindil Beach is known for its spectacular sunsets and has become a popular afternoon attraction for both locals and holidaymakers. Here masseurs, tarot readers and performing artists entertain before food and perhaps a handy bottle of wine entice visitors to settle in front of the setting sun.
Darwin appeals to many international visitors as a base from which to explore Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is a UNESCO listed world heritage site covering 19,804 Sq. Km. of escarpments, waterfalls, woodland and floodplains. Housing examples of ancient Aboriginal rock art and home to a third of Australia’s bird species and a quarter of the countries fish species this protected environment is one of the natural wonders of the world.
The best time to visit Kakadu National Park is during the months of May through to September. Good weather and open roads make for comfortable travel and easy accessibility. However other times of the year and especially on good days during the wet season, helicopter flights can be arranged from Darwin. Views from above of this majestic landscape with its waterfalls, lush vegetation and water filled flood plains expose the drama of this very precious area.
Darwin is a pillar of attraction for those contemplating an Australian destination. Starting July 1st 2013, AirAsia will reopen its direct 4x weekly route from Bali to Darwin, providing flexible opportunity to visit this amazing city.