Darwin is the gateway to Asia and is Australia’s Top End to what we Asians call “Down Under”. The Northern Territory is comprised mostly of Aboriginal lands but its capital Darwin is a first world, modern and multicultural city. It has a population of only about 150,000 with many mixed migrants.
Leisure time is best spent communing with mother earth. Common pastimes are nature trails, bird watching, fishing, bushing or simply exploring the Outback. The arid lands and diverse landscape is home to a variety of animals such as birds, crocodiles, kangaroos, snakes, insects and so much more.
The weather is hot and the fashion is beach wear like shorts and thongs (slippers). It is very common to find people walking with their bare feet or without a shirt top. Every now and then you will come across bush people sitting on the grass while taking shade under the trees. I love how there is absolutely no traffic but with the right-hand drive I refuse to take the wheel.
Darwin is a small city and the people are very friendly. Another favourite activity here is going to the “markets”. The markets are a meeting place and opportunity to gather and socialize. Here you can find food stalls, crafts, clothes, services and lots of interesting finds.
A very popular market is the Mindil Beach Market. It is only open from May to October. This market also marks the start of the dry season and is an attraction for tourists to visit NT during the nicer weather. It is just sad that you can’t swim in the beach because of the crocs and the stinging box jellyfish.
At Mindil Territorians flock the beach to watch the sunset and enjoy the festivities. You can try typical Aussie food like the Barramundi fish & chips, oysters, lambs shanks, jerky, mud crabs, kangaroo and crocodile meat.
Surprisingly Darwin’s close proximity to Asia has also strongly influenced its cuisine. The different booths also showcase exciting flavours from Indonesia, East Timor, Shri lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and even the Philippines.
I arrived in time for the opening day of Mindil Beach Market. The mood was very festive as if the whole of Darwin came out to play. We watched the sunset and feasted on the freshest oysters, lamb shanks and crepes. Later in the evening there was a spectacular fireworks show. Wow! All I could think of was thank you Darwin for the very warm welcome!