Darwin‘s experiencing a bit of a moment in the sun of late – not because it’s quite literally sunny all the time, but because Aussies are genuinely starting to notice its vacay potential.
Sure, it’s a far cry from our packed cities (eyes on you, Melbourne and Sydney) and you may have a little more trouble finding a bar open 24 hours a week, but that seems to be what people are frothing over – a break from our hectic lives in our busy cities paying ridonk money for buttered toast.
Yep, Darwin’s about as close to Crocodile Dundee‘s vision of Australia as you’re gonna get – wildlife, 11/10 weather, rich culture, hospitable people and banging restaurants, bars and hotels.
Have a gander at the super professional Location Scouts hitting up some of Darwin’s finest areas (and watch the other episodes HERE, just scroll down the page a tad).
If you’re yet to visit the Top End and you’re unsure how you can fit everything into your trip, that’s what we’re here for so don’t you worry your little head about it. As well as the location scouts, I’ve also thought of a couple of ways you can eat, play and stay in Australia’s most Australian Australia that ever Australia’d:
PM EAT & DRINK
Corner of Knuckey Street & Austin Lane, Darwin City NT 0800
If you’re into fresh, locally sourced seafood, street art and sharing big ol’ platters with your mates, you’ll cream ya jeans over PM Eat & Drink. Located on the iconic Austin Lane, you can peruse all the street artists’ handiwork before you head into PM to stuff your face.
If you’re not into seafood don’t panic – they have a smorgasbord of other options that’ll please even the pickiest of eaters (you pains in the asses).
Parap Markets, Parap NT 0820
I swear to god if I talk to one more person who’s just got back from Darwin and they rant on about this laksa you’ve never tried, I’m gonna spit multiple dummies.
Found deep in the Parap Markets, Mary’s Laksa is a stall run by the cute-as-a-button Mary (above) and she downright churns out these famous laksas like it’s nobody’s business. The result? The best laksa you’ve ever tried in your damn life – at least according to the 20+ people who insist on bringing it up every chance they get.
PEE WEE’S AT THE POINT
Alec Fong Lim Dr, East Point NT 0820
Pee Wee’s At The Point is just a little bit special because there’s a strong chance you’ll go through the doors single and dateless, and come out an engaged bride-or-groom-to-be in the space of two hours – that’s the magic of Pee Wee’s.
Genuinely though, on top of 11/10 food and service, the view is outta control and it’s a hotspot for loved-up couples insistent on tying the knot.
46 Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800
If you’ve been to Darwin or not, you’ve definitely heard of Monsoons – the joint is the definition of frantic.
The self-appointed party bar of the NT opens until the wee hours of the morning, has killer drink deals all week and is intent on putting on a show – either by hired performers or punters who are loving themselves sick.
BIG BUOY WATER PARK
Darwin Waterfront Precinct Recreational Lagoon, Kitchener Dr, Darwin City NT 0800
Can confirm that Big Buoy Water Park will tire you out for the next six months (seven if you go particularly hard). I never knew I had particular leg muscles until I was forced to use them.
The inflatable park is one of my fondest memories of Darwin because essentially it gives grown adults the chance to run, swim and scream at the top of their lungs like they’re in primary school – and it’s 100% acceptable to do so. Plus, you can push your more annoying mates off of multiple platforms so it’s the perfect way to let out any pent-up resentment you have towards them.
WALLAROO LITCHFIELD JUMPING CROC TOURS
50 Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800
Jesus take the wheel – take anything, just don’t let me crap myself. The crocodiles in Litchfield are beyond frightening and while Jesus might not be in charge, an experienced tour guide is and you bet they know what they’re doing.
The Wallaroo Jumping Crocs Tour is a thorough trip around some of the Northern Territory’s lesser-explored areas and it’s fascinating to get up close and personal with some beautiful(?) river monsters. The waterfalls are beautiful, too.
MELALEUCA ON MITCHELL – DARWIN YHA
52 Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800
Let’s start with the hostel route, shall we? Melaleuca On Mitchell is Darwin’s resident YHA hostel designed for backpackers looking to be in the thick of it without having to fork over a tonne of cash.
The cute hostel comes equipped with a pool, a (fake) croc chilling next to said pool and a bunch of like-minded backpackers just looking for a good time. It’s also an incredibly short stroll to your nearest strip of pubs and bars so you can do away with taxis for a good while.
Mindil Beach, Gilruth Ave, Darwin City NT 0820
I know what you’re thinking – this place looks expensive. Well, my naive friend, you would be dead wrong – it’s the NT remember? Everything’s that touch more affordable than the rest of Australia and therefore you absolutely can treat yourself and stay in a place like Skycity Darwin without going full joke-level broke.
While it will cost more than your average hostel or park bench, Skycity Darwin is 100% worth the coin – you don’t even have to leave the resort to have the best holiday ever. (But also you’re in a new city, don’t be that weirdo who stays in and orders room service for a week).
PALMS CITY RESORT
64 Esplanade, Darwin City NT 0800
You won’t be short of choices if you head to Palms City Resort – they offer bungalows, villas and hotel rooms so you basically sleep in whatever tickles your fancy.
If you’re into the cultural side of Darwin, Palms City Resort plants you right next to the Darwin War Memorial and a brisk walk to Maningrida Arts & Culture and Parliament House. You’ll be able to feel your brain growing and you might even go back home with a better understanding of Australia which can’t hurt.
Whatever you may be into, you’ll be able to find it in the NT so stop procrastinating, save a bit for some flights and get your ass up to the Top End – stat.