The capital and most populous city of Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is a friendly Australian centre renowned for its attractions and as the ‘multicultural capital of Australia’.

Still very much a part of the modern city, the settlement’s first inhabitants were the Indigenous Larrakia people some 40,000 years ago, who enjoyed strong trading links with Southeast Asia. Under this tribe, the settlement was a crucial regional centre and remained untouched by European explorers until the arrival of the Dutch in the early 17th century. Indeed, British presence was felt a further two centuries later when the HMS Beagle landed in 1839. Once a British presence was established in the area, the settlement was christened Darwin in tribute to the famous naturalist, who had accompanied the crew on previous voyages. Initially under the control of South Australia, Darwin was only placed under Commonwealth jurisdiction in 1911, reflecting the site’s growth in connection with the discovery of gold in Pine Creek three decades previous. Despite significance damage courtesy of Japanese bombing in 1942 as part of World War II, Darwin continued to expand, finally gaining city status in 1959.

Although susceptible to natural disasters, most notably Cyclone Tracy in 1974, Darwin remains a popular tourist destination thanks to its welcoming atmosphere and wealth of entertainment.


Darwin is often used simply as a departure point for visits to the sights of Litchfield National Park, Katherine Gorge and, most typically, Kakadu National Park. However, while Darwin may lack obvious Australian cultural landmarks, it still possesses a number of attractions.

The most popular locations reflect Darwin’s strong links to the surrounding countryside, such as the Crocodylus Park in McMillans Road (a wildlife park naturally specialising in crocodiles), Aquascene in Doctors Gully Road and the Indo-Pacific Marine in Smith Street West (which contains a beautiful aquarium).

Darwin also contains two notable museums, the Museum of the Northern Territory in Conacher Street (focusing on local history but emphasising the aboriginal past) and Fannie Bay Gaol Museum in East Point Road (revolving around the former colonial jail’s history).

Located on the coastline, Darwin also has a number of beaches. The most popular of these are Mindil Beach and Casuarina Beach. However, be warned that the latter does have a designated nudist area!

Darwin takes pride in its numerous annual festivals and events. The most important of these is the Darwin Festival over the course of two weeks in August, with dancing, live music, theatre and film, culminating in the NT Indigenous Music Awards. Another popular celebration is Territory Day on July 1st, with a pyrotechnic display at Mindil Beach. Rather stereotypical of Australian culture is the Darwin Beer-can Regatta in August, a decades-old carousal where citizens are invited to make race boats out of beer cans and test their buoyancy.

Sport is naturally a large part of Darwin’s culture, particularly rugby league and Australian Rules Football. Although originating from Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs play their AFL games at Darwin’s Marrara Oval, which has also hosted cricket Test matches. Additionally, Darwin is home to the V8 Supercars touring event.


Darwin has plenty of shopping districts and centres such as the Smith Street Mall in Smith Street, Mitchell Centre in Mitchell Street and the Parap Shopping Village in Parap Road (also home to a market on Saturdays).

Perhaps the most popular spot for local crafts is the Mindil Beach Sunset Market, held twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Nightlife and Eating Out

As a centre of multiculturalism, Darwin is blessed with a huge diversity of local cuisine. The city also purportedly contains more restaurants per head than any other city in Australia, ensuring you’ll never be far from somewhere to eat. Yots in Marina Boulevard, the Sirocco Restaurant in the Esplanade and Evoo Restaurant in Gilruth Avenue are all highly recommended.

The central business district of Mitchell Street is considered Darwin’s entertainment epicentre, being home to a plethora of nightclubs, pubs and bars like Shenannigans and Rorkes Drift. However, you can find plenty of alternatives such as Rattle ‘n’ Hum in Cavenagh Street and the extremely popular Time Nightclub in Edmunds Street.

Tourist Information


Darwin is served by Darwin International Airport, some 13 km from the centre.

International and domestic connecting flights are available, but only to very limited destinations outside of Australia.

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