Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, is also it’s only tropical capital, a city closer to Asia than it is to Sydney. The cosmopolitan city’s massive natural harbor is home to Fort Hill Wharf, the Darwin Port cruise terminal, a stop-off point for long, around-the-world itineraries and short, small-vessel cruises along coastal Australia. The markets and cultural festivals of this youthful and highly multicultural city are famous throughout the world.
How to get to Darwin
Located 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from downtown Darwin and just over half a mile (1 kilometer) from the Esplanade, it’s possible to walk to town in around 15 minutes. You’ll always find taxis waiting by the pier, and some cruise lines also operate complimentary shuttle buses into the city. Darwin International Airport is located 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of the city center.
One Day in Darwin
If you’re visiting Darwin during the dry season (May to October), plan to spend your morning in one of the excellent local markets. The Mindii Beach Sunet Markets take place every Sunday and are the largest in the region. Other options include the Parap Village Markets on Saturdays and the Palmerston Markets on Fridays. If you’re looking for Aboriginal arts and crafts to take home with you, check out the Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery.
As one of the few Australian capital cities to be attacked during World War II, Darwin has a tumultuous history, one you can explore during an afternoon in the city. The Wharf Precinct, where cruise vessels dock, was the target of Japanese bombing and still has some historic landmarks. The East Point Military Museum displays artifacts and information from the war, as does the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre. Finally you can tour the World War II Oil Storage Tunnels, used to protect the city’s oil reserves from aerial attacks.
If you’re more of a nature lover than a history buff or shopper, you could opt to spend your day on a visit to Litchfield Park, located about 90 minutes south of Darwin. This natural park draws visitors to its waterfalls, natural plunge pools, giant termite mounts and excellent walking trails.
The air-conditioned Fort Hill Wharf is located just a short walk from the city center’s shopping districts, where you’ll find several ATMs and banks where you can exchange currency. Currency here is the Australian Dollar (AUD).