If you are into experiencing a more down to Earth ( anywhere but Sydney) trip to Australia, I highly recommend Darwin, NT. Not only because I am a Darwinian, but we are tropical like Cairns, but a lot less touristy and suffocating. We welcome travellers with open arms! The average temperature during the dry season June to August, probably 25 - 30 degrees Celsius. Beautiful time and for locals this is our winter! During the wet season and the build up, December to March, it is berable to say the least, humidity is high, however, the topical storms and sunsets make it all worth it!
Best places to go: Parap Markets located in the Parap village on a Saturday morning- amazing Laksa, popia/popyia, smoothies and crepes from Ken's Crepes. Amongst the food stalls are a vast range of local treats including: Bamboo clothing stall, many local artists as well as jewelry stores. My favourite permanent shops in the village are Mad About Coffee (best coffee in Darwin) and Parap Fine Foods. This market has managed to keep itself for locals and does not try to suck up to tourism. Rapid creek produce market is the best place to get mangoes during mango season, and is home to Greenies - local organic shop. You should go to Mindil market for the experience - sunset on the beach with loads of food and live music, the biggest by far and closest to the city centre.
Some cool and local bars: The Railway Club, Parap; Dinah Beach Yacht Club, The Sailing Club Fannie Bay, The Stone House city centre (my new favourite wine bar), anywhere with a deck with outdoor seating and The Life Saving Club along Casuarina beach.
Great restaurants (keep in mind that food and beverages are expensive in Australia compared to Europe): Prickles in Parap, Nirvana in the city centre, The Cove at Skycity Casino, anywhere in Cullen Bay and along the Waterfront. Oh! The Wharf is a great experience, sit down along the wharf and feed fishes while watching the Sun set.
Must go to Burnet House on a Sunday afternoon, walk around one of the oldest residents in Darwin and then enjoy some high tea afterwards!
During October, Darwin lights up for the annual Darwin festival - local groves, comedians and writers. Definitely visit the Deckchair cinema, located outdoors with deckchairs, a bar and food cart, watch the sun set and the lay back and enjoy your movie!
Darwin was victim to over 200 raids by Japanese bombers during WWII, the devastation out does Pearl Harbour, therefore our history is quite rich concerning the war. The war museum is at East point.
Darwin is home to many Aboriginal communities, rightfully so, therefore don't be racist please.
There is so much to do in Darwin, find a local and ask! Try to avoid Casuarina square and the noticeable tourist traps.
Nightcliff beach is great for catching local events, as well as the rest of city I guess! Just look in 'Off the leash' has the most up to date info on events. Our territory's newspaper is known to have ridiculous headlines and some laughs, so don't miss NT News in the mornings! Cafe's that supply the news to patrons and amazing food include, Roma Bar, Four Birds and The Groove Cafe.
Freeee things! Swimming in the Lagoon at the Waterfront, visiting our Parliament house, taking a day trip to Berry springs and Litchfield National Park if you drive yourself.
Darwin is the gateway to Kakadu National Park, definitely recommend it's a must see. So much history and filled with controversy regarding the Australian government and ethics. One tour group I recommend is Kakadu dream's, owner named Heather, she's awesome and has the best tour guide. There is a $50 fee to enter the park if you are not a local, but from there on you get to explore waterfalls and many many lagoons. Kakadu is mostly closed during the wet season, due to crocodile's, so make sure you visit during the dry, when it's safe to swim. Remember, never swim anywhere that has a warning sign posted. Don't risk it.
Smaller town to visit would be Broome! Beautiful and home to so many beaches that are hidden to many tourists!
Sorry for the long answer! If you wish to visit Australia, we would all recommend that you buy or hire a car. So many beautiful places are hard to reach, flights are expensive and there is no national rail service. To give some perspective, it's cheaper for me to fly Darwin to Bali then it is to fly Darwin to anywhere else in Australia. Also, if you drive always carry lots of water and keep your fuel on full! Some roads won't have servos for over 500–1000kms.
Stay safe and remember, it's not that common to be hurt by our wildlife!
Most of my punctuation is shit so sorry!
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