When cold wintry days start to drag on in Southern Australia then its time to head for a taste of warmth in Northern Australia. Darwin is just the spot as the climbing number of tourists descending on this laid back small city in winter will tell you. A great base for exploring such places as Litchfield, Kakadu and Kathryn Gorge, the town of Darwin is also well worth a visit.
In recent years the Darwin waterfront with its Darling Harbour feel has gone ahead with its own Convention Centre, numerous hotels, flash restaurants and its artificial beach and wave pool. It’s good to have a safe place to swim in such a hot city!
For me the attractions of Darwin are very much in the natural settings along the coast where you can relish the feeling of being on the northern tip of Australia. Hot sultry days in Darwin are best spent inside but early morning walks along the esplanade from Fannie Bay to East Point with its war museum and a cafe stop along the way are rewarding. Visits to Nightcliff with its rugged coast or Casuarina with its long sandbar and inspiring outdoor beach cafe De La Plage are recommended. When sunset arrives in Darwin there is no better place to be than at one of the boat clubs at Fannie Bay enjoying a drink or a meal.
The George Brown Botanic Garden is also interesting to explore and one of the few places to enjoy a shaded walk once the sun shines strongly. Much of it has been replanted after the 1974 Cyclone and one of the best features is the children’s garden as well as a Dinosaur Garden.
The Darwin Museum and Art Gallery in Fannie Bay continues to be popular with visitors and is always one of my first stopping points on a Darwin visit. Large museums and art galleries can be exhausting but this small one is just right. Changing exhibitions are featured but there are always interesting examples of aboriginal art and documented tales of crocodile events. The exhibition on Cyclone Tracy is as powerful as ever some 45 years after the event and demonstrates how compelling black and white photos can be. And of course the verandah cafe overlooking the sea is the perfect spot to chill out.