Darwin Travel Guide
Bicentennial Park, Darwin © Yeowatzup
The city of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, presides undefeated over the top end of Australia. Set on a rocky peninsula that stretches into one of the most beautiful natural harbours on the north Australian coast, it is surrounded by water on three sides, which allows it to be fanned by cool breezes that temper the tropical heat and humidity of its climate.
Darwin has survived destruction three times. Firstly by a cyclone in 1893; it was then bombed by the Japanese in 1942 during World War II; and more recently in 1974 Cyclone Tracy levelled the city on Christmas Eve. It is a tribute to the pioneering spirit of its cosmopolitan population of 87,000 that it has not only overcome these calamities, but gone on to thrive.
The city is compact, and easy to explore on foot. The tropical climate encourages outdoor living and simply strolling through the leafy streets, browsing art galleries and enjoying refreshments at a sidewalk cafe is a pleasure for visitors. Shady parks are to be found behind busy shopping streets and are a delight with exotic flowering trees like frangipani, banyan and tamarind.
The Tour Tub, an open-air bus, is a good way to tour the city and view its major attractions, which include the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; the Overland Telegraph Museum; Fannie Bay Gaol; the Botanic Gardens; the Australian Pearling Exhibition; and East Point Military Museum. The city is a good base from which to explore the surrounding national parks. Note that sea swimming, particularly between October and May, is generally unsafe around Darwin because the sea abounds with deadly box jellyfish.
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