Eight days in Darwin

Darwin has a vibe that draws you in … warm, welcoming, laid back and all amid a melting pot of culture and flavours. She’s a city that’s more like a country town, the capital of the Northern Territory but closer to Borneo or Port Moresby than any capital city in Australia.

Our week was relaxed and unhurried and a highlight for me was catching up with two old friends who left Victoria for Darwin over 20 years ago. Now I know why. Like them, I could have stayed longer than we did, but it gave us a taste … and it was tantalising.

Alfresco picnic at the Nightcliff jetty

Dinner on Stokes Hill Wharf

When I asked my ole school buddy LeeAnne where to meet the answer was obvious. Stokes Hill Wharf is the casual meeting place in Darwin. Once the site of the city’s prominent pearling industry and the tragic bombing of Darwin, the wharf is now a great place to catch up, unwind and learn stories about the city’s past, all while watching the boats come in.

There’s lots of great eateries here, right on the Darwin waterfront, from the freshest fish and chips to Thai curries.

Friendly Favourites

Both my friends are practically locals so I asked them for recommendations on favourite places to visit. Here’s what they said:

Cafe de la Plage: we can vouch this is a stunning location, family and dog friendly, with a relaxing vibe, great coffee and awesome pizza right on the Causarina beach front.

Ebb and Flow: a vegetarian cafe loved by even meat lovers so I’m told and set in a stunning marina location.

Willing Distillery: a family owned and new distillery in Winnellie producing and serving the finest gin, wine, and spirit cocktails at their cellar door.

Deck Chair Cinema: a tropical night under the stars with a giant screen. where you’ll have a hard time deciding whether to watch the sunset or the movie.

Kitty Cat: for those who want a fun feline experience paired with their food.

Lola’s Pergola: is a funky waterhole, quirky, fun and a great place to chill on the docks on lovely Cullen Bay with burgers, beers and cocktails.

Eva’s Cafe: is great for a full breakfast or lunch in the gorgeous Botanical Gardens.

Picnic on Cullen Bay: a fully catered for spread makes life easy but we settled for our own picnic near the Nightcliff Jetty.

Of course a sunset cruise from the harbour is a must. With so many to choose from we opted for Sea Darwin, a small, casual, fish and chips cruise. Two hours of fast and fun cruising on board the Sea Darwin. It was a sensational way to spend our last night here.

Step back in time at the WWII Tunnels

Learn about the history of Darwin and the war by going underground and visiting the WWII tunnels. They’re within walking distance of the waterfront and fascinating to learn about their role in the Second World War.

These tunnels, hidden beneath a cliff right in the city, are the original tunnels built during WWII and were used to store fuel.

For a small entry fee you can walk through some of the tunnels, for an insight into their use during the war. They’re lit up and filled with lots of interesting information boards.

MAGNT – Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Darwin has a pretty cool museum and art gallery and it’s completely free.

The Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery are both in the same building located a 5-minute drive from the city center.

The exhibits on during 2021 include stories on Cyclone Tracy through to maritime, ecological, an exhibition on Unruly Days and Territory Life. They have a fascinating exhibit on evolution as well as one on Sweetheart the Crocodile.

If you want to see traditional Aboriginal artwork this is the place to go with the gallery showcasing the best of Indigenous art from all over the country.

The NT Museum and Art Gallery is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day. It’s easy to get around Darwin and on weekends the parking is free all around the city.

Market Days and Sunset Nights

Darwin is famous for its sunsets (if you haven’t already gathered) and it’s markets. The most well known, Mindil Beach Sunset Market, is held every Thursday and Sunday from 4 till 9pm. A tip: get there early to find a park. It also gives you time to browse all the amazing food choices so that you can go back later and try your favourites, whether it’s Thai, Vietnamese, Asian, Greek, Italian or even a bit of road kill.

Live music, tantalising aromas, market stalls and of course that sensational sunset is all part of a night at Mindil. Even with smoke hanging over the city it’s magic.

There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.
Jo Walton

Head to the Mindil Beach Resort and Casino if you want a touch of glamour or you could do as we did and drive to Casuarina Reserve or Nightcliff Jetty which was just ten minutes from our caravan park at Lee Point.

There’s so many waterfront places to enjoy a bbq or picnic with food and coffee vans lined across the foreshore. Alfresco dining is a way of life here, the perfect way to enjoy the balmy weather and nature’s marvels.

A Great Base for Day Tripping

Though we mostly stayed in Darwin for our week, it’s easy to get to some awesome places. Our longest day trip was to Berry Springs, just 45 minutes away and a tropical oasis in every sense of the word. The natural warm swimming pools rivalled Bitter Springs with an added waterfall that, when you were under it, felt like the ultimate body massage

Darwin is close to Litchfield National Park, jumping crocodile tours and more waterfalls but Litchfield will be a separate journey. We were here to relax and enjoy Darwin. And that we did. In this colourful city the ordinary things became extraordinary.

For those of you who don’t know it’s history, Darwin Harbour was bombed by the Japanese in 1942 during WW11 and then devastated and almost flattened by Cyclone Tracy on December 24. 1974. She hasn’t had it easy.

But here she stands, in 2021, rebuilt, resilient, not as flashy as other Australian capital cities perhaps but beautiful nonetheless, strong and tempered by both the wet and dry seasons and a melting pot of cultures. Darwin stands a long way from any other capital city in Australia but maybe that’s why she’s unique. She has her own story, a will and free spirit that peserveres no matter what. Maybe that’s a lesson for humanity today.

Wherever you are, may you have love in your heart, freedom in your soul and empowerment on the journey.

Catch you on the next step of our adventure wherever that might be.

Love and light

Follow the sun, follow the love and if you want you can follow our travels on Instagram

68 thoughts on “Eight days in Darwin

  1. It looks like a great place to visit and spend a little time evolving. It’s always nice to meet and get caught up with old friends. Beautiful photos, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. such an amazing place, such a bewitching blend of cultures … a truly amazing city for sure 🙂

    But Litchfield is my favourite by far, it’s like a poignant snapshot of Kakadu and so much easier to get around and see all that nature has to offer in tropical beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we loved Darwin and how laid back it was. But I can see what you mean about Litchfield. We’ve only just arrived this morning, we haven’t done any sightseeing and already it feels special. Doug’s currently in his new hammock and I’m relaxing and surrounded by an oasis of shady palm trees. Think I’m gonna love it here too. 😊🌴

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We lived in Darwin in the mid 1980s. It was such a fun place to be then. We returned for a visit in 2015 and wow, was it different. So modern, especially along the waterfront. None of that was there when we lived there. As for Litchfield, we used to camp there when there was no road in. We had a route to follow through the bush. With such easy access, it’s so different and not at all how we remember. Some things never change though – the markets at Mindil Beach are still amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hearing that a lot Carol, people who used to live in Darwin noticing how much it’s changed, but that’s progress isn’t it. And it’s everywhere. We’ve just arrived in Litchfield, staying in Batchelor for a couple of nights initially and it’s gorgeous. Can’t wait to get out and explore.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello dear Miriam, it looks utterly beautiful. I know some of my family absolutely loved it too and suggested we all need to see it once in our life.
    Enjoy your next adventure.

    Big hugs from me 🙋🏻‍♀️😘💐

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Diane, so nice to hear from you. Yes, it’s a wonderful place, very relaxing and a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time so it was great to finally spend some time there. Hope you’re well down south. Big hugs and much love back dear friend. 😍🌴🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome dear Miriam. So glad you were able to make it to a place you’ve wanted to visit for a long time.
        Thank you for my big hugs. Received, and very welcome at the moment.
        Much love too 😘💖


  5. Lovely you got to visit Darwin and catch up with your long time friend LeeAnne. The two of you look very happy to see each other. I’ve yet to make my way up to Darwin for a trip and I hope to at some point. I’ve had friends who have moved up there, and they never looked back. Love your orange sunset photo. Definitely can see why you mentioned Darwin is renowned for its sunsets. Berry Springs and Bitter Springs look like such refreshing places to visit, and you looked right at home in the water. Hope you are doing well and staying safe, Miriam 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mabel, yes we had a wonderful stay in Darwin and it was great catching up with both of my friends. I can see why they moved up there, much like your friends did too, they never looked back. Hope you’re doing ok back there in lockdown city. Take care. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Miriam, I saw your photos on IG and I had to come here to know more about this place. Indeed stunning, but what call my attention was the name Darwin, is it named after Charles Darwin? I was wondering if he has visited this place, many it was one of his inspiration/discovery sources.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elizabeth, this is what I learned about Charles Darwin: “John Lort Stokes aboard sailed into the waters of what is now known as Darwin harbour. Stokes named the harbour after his former shipmate British evolutionist Charles Darwin but contrary to popular rumours, Darwin himself never visited the area. … In 1911, the budding young settlement was renamed Darwin.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice! I knew should have something to do with Darwin. I’m a biologist and we named our graduation class Charles Darwin, so I was curious to know if he had been there. Thanks for letting me know about it and shared those gorgeous photos.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kamal. It was interesting to read all about the cyclone and the bombing and see how it’s changed and been rebuilt. A vibrant and resilient city for sure.


    1. Thanks Bella and yes it s.
      Darwin has a remarkable history, I’m so grateful I got to visit, it’s been on my wish list for a long time. And yes, our adventure continues! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Darwin looks an amazing place to visit, Miriam! Such a lot to see and do and a great variety too. The waterfront and coast look gorgeous, and as a cat mad family, we’d really love to try out Kitty Cat! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ali, funny you should mention being a cat mad family. On one night we were out walking along the foreshore and we came across a cat in a pram. Yep, the ultimate spoilt pussy. She even had her own Instagram account, Teabao2018. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I quit traveling after I left the Army. I saw 48 states and 40 countries. Now I am ready to travel again. My children are okay and I have five grandchildren. I need a sea and a year to write my novel. You are welcome dear Miriam. Have some fun and enjoy the days of August.


  8. It hard to believe that Darwin is a real place, it’s just so beautiful! It’s been added to my list of must-see places. It makes me so happy to know that you are out touring around enjoying life, Miriam. There is beauty all around, enjoy every second. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tanya, it’s always great to hear from you and I’m so glad you enjoyed my post on Darwin. Honestly, Australia is just a smorgasbord of beautiful cities and landscapes and I know you’d love it here. There is indeed beauty all around my friend, wherever we are. Sending you lots of love. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have never been interested in travelling up that way, as I prefer cold destinations, however that photo on the beach listening to music does tempt me to consider it. I also would find the tunnels fascinating! Thanks for expanding my impressions of Darwin. Looks like you had a great getaway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanda, yes we had a wonderful time up north but I can understand your aversion. We all have our preferences don’t we? Darwin’s tropical humidity might not be for everyone but that’s the beauty of Australia. It’s big, vast and full of different climates and landscapes. Hope you’re keeping well.


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