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About Darwin - Accommodation - Tours and what to do - Transport and car hire - Photos - Map

Darwindarwin tourist information

Darwin lies at the northern end of the Stuart Highway and is the capital of the Northern Territory, informally known as the Top End, and it is named after the English naturalist Charles Darwin.
Main reason for tourists visiting Darwin is to see crocodiles in the wild, see some Aboriginal culture and to visit the nearby National Parks like Kakadu, Litchfield and Katherine Gorge / Nitmiluk.
In between people entertain themselves with a city tour or a visit to Mindil Beach Markets.

darwin northern territory
Smith St. mall in Darwin city centre

Nowadays it is a modern city but not so long ago it was still a large outback town with, due to the hot climate, the highest beerconsumption of any city in the world. It is very cosmopolitan though there are no ghettos of certain nationalities like in some of the bigger cities and the international mix of people becomes evident at the many markets in Darwin where you can find cheap eats from almost any country you can think of. The city is also surrounded by beautiful beaches and enjoys spectacular sunsets. Within a few hours drive of Darwin you find spectacular national parks like Kakadu, Litchfield and many other attractions.

Darwin is known for beer drinking and crocodiles and hardly a day goes by without some news on crocs in the local paper, though most crocodile attacks seem to occur on locals that ignore the basic safety rules. Luckily at TIO Insurance you can get crocodile insurance.

Darwin has a compact city centre but a drive out to the suburbs can be up to 20 km. as the city is built around the big international airport, also the main police station and hospital are in the most remote corners of the city.
Darwin's climate has only two seasons, wet and dry. During the dry there won't be a drop of rain for half a year and temperatures are pleasant, especially at night. During the wet the landscape makes a rapid change from brown to green and there are spectacular lightning storms that attract photographers from all over the world. If you visit Darwin in the wet you will find that it is less crowded, easier to find accommodation and the rains most of the time only consist of a late afternoon downpour.
This city is the main arrival and departure hub for all those that want to see Kakadu, Litchfield and other Top End attractions. Darwin's population is fairly transient and it is a relatively new city as it was virtually wiped out by cyclone Tracy in 1974 and had to be almost completely rebuilt, though some of the old sandstone buildings survived.

darwin northern territory
Lyon's cottage, the old Telegraph Residence

In the early days of Australia the British were worried the French or Dutch would make themselves at home in the north so it was decided that the Northern Territory needed a settlement. But with the heat, cyclones and a malaria outbreak, early settlers found it hard going trying to establish themselves here and from 1824 onwards several attempts were made and later abandoned until finally in 1869 Darwin was founded. It was first named Palmerston but as it became unofficially known as Port Darwin it was renamed in 1911, now the name Palmerston has been assigned to the satellite city 15km. south of Darwin.
Darwin had a bit of a boomtime when gold was discovered at Pine Creek in 1871 but the big boom happened in World War Two. In February, 1942, the Japanese air force bombed the city in a Pearl Harbour style surprise attack. Over 240 Australians lost their lives in the raids. In all there were 64 raids on the city. Many allied forces were stationed here to fight the Japs in Asia and the Pacific, this also led to the Stuart Highway being built that connected the city with the rest of the country for the first time.
Darwin experienced a setback when on Christmas Day 1974 the city was hit by cyclone Tracy. Countless houses were totally destroyed, (only 400 survived intact), 25 ships sunk in the harbour, 35 planes destroyed at the airport and all communications were cut. After the cyclone thousands were evacuated to cities in the south and many never returned.
Since the 1990s the city has started growing more when the army started moving more soldiers up there from down south, finally they realized that if Australia were ever to be attacked it would be by people from the north and not by penguins from the South Pole.
Another milestone in Darwin's history is the railway, after more than a hundred years of talking about it the 1420 km. N.T. railway has finally been built and was completed in October 2003 at a cost of $ 1.3 billion, the first train arrived in Darwin on January 17, 2004, but Territorians wanting to celebrate at the arrival of the train were shocked to find it was an alcohol-free event!

Darwin is Australia's hottest city with an annual rainfall of 1659 mm, this falls between December and May, then you won't see a drop for half a year. It is hot all year round, with two distinct seasons, the Wet and the Dry. The Dry Season temperatures are very pleasant with the mercury going down overnight to around 18 degrees Celsius and up to about 28 degrees during the day with no humidity (and no rain). General temperatures for the Wet Season are 28 to 33 degrees with high humidity.
With Darwin being a very hot place someone in the 1990s tried to get Darwin to change to the Mexican system of having a siesta in the heat of the day and then returning to work later. This idea was discarded as rather than going to sleep at midday, Darwinites were more likely to go to the pub which would make them pretty useless for work after a few hours in there.



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About Darwin - Accommodation - Tours and what to do - Transport and car hire - Photos - Map

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