Popular Things to Do in Darwin
Food and Drink in Darwin
Darwin food draws from fresh ocean bounty on its doorstep and strong Asian influences thanks to the multicultural makeup of the city. Try the following restaurants for a taste of the Territory.
Wharf One Food & Wine (19 Kitchener Drive) overlooking the lagoon on Darwin Waterfront, is known for its wood-fired tapas and stunning views. You'll enjoy a laugh and a fine feed at Pee Wee's at the Point (Alec Fong Lim Dr, East Point) where the Territory menu humour is as good as the coconut-crusted crocodile tail.
For a meat-eater's feast head to Cove at Mindil Beach Casino Resort (Gilruth Ave, The Gardens) or Char Restaurant (Cnr The Esplanade & Knuckey Street) where you'll find prime beef sourced from all around Australia. Hanuman (93 Mitchell Street) serves Thai, Tandoori and Chinese/Malaysian-fusion cuisine and has quite the following.
In Australia, the price of food includes the tax, and gratuities are welcome at informal restaurants and cafes, but not mandatory. In upscale restaurants such as Hanuman or Char, tipping is common but remains discretionary.
Parap Village Markets offer a local experience where the only thing rivalling the fabulous food is the equally incredible vibe. Grab a mango smoothie and stroll through stalls selling everything from vibrantly coloured ornamental ginger and indigenous crafts to Vietnamese spring rolls, roti pancakes and Mary's famous laksa. The latter is rumoured to be a failsafe hangover cure. Parap Village Markets are located at Parap Road and run every Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain or shine) all-year round.
Beaches in Darwin
Given the region's warm climate and beautiful beaches, swimming seems natural. However, saltwater crocodiles lurk in many coastal and riverine areas, and deadly box jellyfish drift in during The Wet.
Swimming pools and some natural freshwater pools below waterfalls provide excellent, safe swimming. Always heed posted warnings, and never swim where no one else is in the water. There is probably an excellent reason.
Best for a Half-Day Visit: Grab a boogie board at Darwin Waterfront and ride the Wave Pool swell. There's also a man-made beach at the Recreation Lagoon and nets to protect swimmers from marine stingers and lifeguards on duty.
Best for Families: Lake Alexander in East Point Reserve is filled with filtered seawater and provides safe swimming alongside playgrounds and picnic areas.
Don't Miss in Darwin
Stroll the Esplanade: The Esplanade along the Darwin Harbour cliffs links to a World War 2 seafront walking trail sharing stories of Darwin's military history.
Doctor's Gully: Daily fish feeding at Doctor's Gully is a ritual that began more than 50 years ago with bread scraps thrown to mullet. The morning feeding sessions between December and August are the most spectacular so check the daily high tide information. (28 Doctors Gully Road; 08 8981 7837.)
Crocosaurus Cove: See some of the largest crocodiles in the world and a display of 70 reptile species here. You can get close to a saltie (the local name for a saltwater crocodile) by dangling a line at the fishing platform where hungry young crocs launch themselves out of the water for a feed. There is also the Cage of Death for a face-to-face dive. (58 Mitchell Street; 08 8981 7522; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Defence of Darwin Experience: See an extensive collection of World War 2 artillery, vehicles, models, uniforms and paintings at the Darwin Military Museum. Darwin was attacked 65 times and was Australia's frontline during the war. (Lot 5434 Alec Fong Lim Drive, East Point; 08 8981 9702; open daily, 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).