Things to do in Darwin
Discover Darwin’s roots
If you want to get an insight into the area’s truest roots, a visit to the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (tel: +61 8 8999 8264; www.magnt.net.au) is a must. You’ll find collections devoted to aboriginal art, Cyclone Tracy (which decimated the city in 1974) and a vast Natural Sciences exhibit that’s home to over 1.2 million animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens.
Shop like a local at Mindil Beach Market
If you want to get an instant hit of Darwinian culture – taste its food, see its art, wear its clothes and see its sunset – Mindil Beach Market (www.mindil.com.au) is your literal one-stop shop. It operates Thursday and Sunday from April to October and there's no better place in the city to watch the sun sink into the water.
Strap on those walking boots
Bushwalkers looking for a lung-busting hike should head for the Tabletop Track in Litchfield National Park. This famous long-distance trek features waterfalls, tropical monsoon rainforest and blessedly cool swimming holes. It's not for beginners and takes three to five days to complete, but can be done in shorter sections. Speak to the Tourist Information Centre (tel: +61 8 8976 0282) for all the info.
Swimming options abound in Darwin. The waterfront is the place to go: grab a boogie board and ride the swell in the Wave Pool, or head for Recreation Lagoon where nets protect swimmers from marine stingers. Alternatively, an hour's drive from Darwin is Berry Springs Nature Park, a popular day trip destination where you can swim and snorkel in a creek dotted with clear pools containing fish life.
Take to the skies in a helicopter
If you want to take to the skies, companies like Darwin Helicopter Tours (tel: +61 8 8972 2345; www.airbornesolutions.com.au) offer tours of Darwin and its surroundings. One of the most popular/endearingly foolish is a ‘Flying Crocs' tour along the Adelaide River, which enables you to observe these 2m-long (6ft) reptiles up close as they leap out of the water to grab meat held out for them.