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Destination Darwin

Sunset Over Casuarina Beach
Sunset Over Casuarina Beach
My first trip to Darwin was as breathtaking as my last. It is a city of diversity, culture and heritage,located in the vast outback at the top northern end of Australia. There is an endless vista of scenery, and it is an ideal location for a campervan hire Darwin holiday as you need wheels to explore the beauty of the surrounding natural attractions. Set in the tropics, the climate is cooler and dry from May to October, and April to November brings tropical storms and hot days. Bring some warm clothes but expect clear skies and incredible sunsets overlooking the ocean. Always come prepared with plenty of water if you are travelling out of the city, and remember that you can't swim in the ocean or rivers unless there is a sign that says you can. Crocodiles and sharks are also a few of the locals.

You could spend a week enjoying the city of Darwin alone. One favourite of mine is the Thursday night / Sunday afternoon markets, located on the waterfront at Mindil Beach. Locals and tourists alike can be found here sampling the local cuisine, enjoying the entertainment and relaxing along the beach strip. The best time to wander down is around 4pm, as you can stay to watch one of the most famous sunsets in Australia. Sunset cruises are popular, or enjoy a glass of wine (with the multitudes) on the sand.

A great family event is the Aqua Scene Fish feeding. For decades at high tide the fish arrive in the droves to be hand fed. Fantastic for a Kodak moment, this is a must do! Expect to feed fish like the famous barramundi, bream and catfish.

Crocodylus Park is another well known attraction, which old and young alike will enjoy. You will find buffalos, emus, ostriches, iguanas and more, with crocodile shows throughout the day. This is a safe environment to see the well known wildlife that the kids will pester you to visit until you bring them here.

For a great night out, head to the Darwin Wharf Marina. Leave early as it is very popular, with fantastic views of the sunset, and plenty of seafood restaurants and delicious meal selections combining to bring a relaxing atmosphere. It is common for huge fish to swim below waiting for food to nibble on.

Afterwards, you could head to The Deckchair Cinema down the road, where you can enjoy an outdoor movie with the added bonus of the Darwin Harbour and starlit sky as a backdrop. Where else could you experience this?

My first impressions of the Museum and Art Gallery were of awe and wonder at how many collections of bird, mammal, reptile, insect displays, boats and ships, history and artwork could be found in the one place. There is an interactive room based the devastation of Cyclone Tracy which even has a recording of the actual event. Amazing!

Just a ferry trip away, the town of Mandorah is steeped in Aboriginal history, and there are great fishing spots not far from the jetty. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a drive with your campervan hire around the top of the top end.

About 45 minutes out of town, the Territory Wildlife Park is fantastic for the whole family. There are long walking trails that take you through plenty of exhibits, with a nocturnal house, aviary, monsoon forest walk and all of the animals you would expect to find in the Territory. You need at least 3-4 hours to make the most of this vast park which stretches across 1000 acres.

Double up with a trip to Berry Springs Nature Park afterwards for a refreshing swim in the natural pools. Enjoy the rock waterfalls, and watch out for the little fish that try to nibble your toes.

The picture perfect views in the Kakadu National Park cannot be compared with any worldwide destination. You need a couple of days to get into the heart of Kakadu, and there are a number of camping sites located in the park. The Wet season is the best time to visit where you will experience incredible birdlife, scenery and of course crocodiles. It is advised to visit Alligator River with an experienced guide for obvious safety reasons.

Litchfield National Park is close to two hours out of Darwin, and apart from Kakadu, truly is an oasis in the desert. From the Tabletop Range to the cascading waterfalls and tropical paradise below, there is so much to see here. There are walking trails and camping spots scattered around the park. This is perfect for those who want to get off the beaten track.

Known for its aboriginal culture, vast horizons and magnificent scenery, Darwin has something for everyone. Enjoy the freedom of a campervan to choose when and where you will embark on your next adventure, and prepare for the trip of a lifetime.

Jenny Brewer 2007

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