Darwin is a fast-growing city that is full of history, which gives it a unique cultural heritage. Today, more than 50 nationalities share an easy-going lifestyle in this cosmopolitan city.
Darwin might just be the ultimate budget-break destination. There is so much about Darwin that's not about spending money. Travel to Darwin during the wet season and nature puts on its own show. Watching the sky turn indigo as storms roll in over the harbour, basking under the flaming gold skies at sunset, oohing at the spectacular lightning shows or listening to the sound frogs croaking late into the night - all are wonderful and free.
It's also an excellent base to explore the nearby World Heritage listed lands - Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land.
For people planning to visit Darwin, heat and humidity are the defining characteristics of this part of the Northern Territory's tropical climate. The average year-round temperature is 32 C (90 F) and there are two seasons. The dry season runs from April/May to September/October and has warm, sunny days and cool nights. The wet season starts at the end of the year and gets wetter and wetter - the months of January, February and March are when most rain falls.
When to fly to Darwin
The dry season - April/May through September/October - is when most people visit Darwin. The middle of the dry season is particularly busy. This is when schools are out and families holiday in the region.
January, February and March are, in general, the off-peak season. This is the wettest time of the year and there's also a good chance of cyclones and floods. However, many consider this the best time to see Darwin. With the rains, the earth bursts into life. Flowers and plants bloom, animals mate and rivers fill up and run off onto teeming waterfalls.
Getting around Darwin
There are several car rental companies represented at Darwin International. A Shuttle Bus travels between the airport and hotels in Darwin city and bus/coach charters are also available. Visitors to Darwin can pick up a taxi from the taxi rank in front of the Terminal building.
It has often been said that Darwin is the only capital city in the country where you can cross the main street blindfolded at any time of the day (however, we don’t recommend trying that). Visitors to Darwin will discover that much of it is small enough to walk or bike around. Driving around Darwin is easy too. The layout is simple, traffic is generally light and parking is plentiful. There is a tourist bus called the Tour Tub that stops off at Darwin's ten major destinations including Fannie Bay Gaol, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Indo Pacific Marine and the Australian Pearling Exhibition.
Darwin insider information
- Do you enjoy markets? Darwin has several. Markets are the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or a snack. Nightcliff Market in the Nightcliff Shopping Centre is open on Sundays along with Rapid Creek Sunday Market, Darwin's oldest market, and The Parap Village Market. Most attractive of all, the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets take place every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season (May to October). Bring your own tables, chairs and alcohol and sample cuisine from more than 20 countries. Entertainment is provided by the busking musicians, tarot card readers and street performers.
- If you are planning on visiting Darwin during the dry season leave a night free to watch a movie. Deckchair Cinema is Darwin's only independent cinema and it takes place under the stars between April and November. Choose a seat from 250 deckchairs and 100 straight-backed seats. Bringing an extra cushion or two will make your evening more comfortable.
- Feed the fish at Doctors Gully, close to the Esplanade. Milkfish, mullet, catfish, bream and batfish will tickle your fingers as they take bread from your hand.