I feel that I had only a glimpse of Darwin. We landed at around noon from Adelaide, checked into the Saville Park Suites (08-8943-4333) on the Esplanade. Our guide, Steven Noble from Darwin Walking Tours (08-8942-1022), met us at 2 p.m. for a tour of the town. The tour focused on Darwin’s history, which was recounted during a stroll through the area near the Esplanade, from the pre-WWII/pre-Cyclone Tracey part of town to the fish frenzy at the Aquascene.
Steve, our walking tour guide, also mentioned his five favorite Darwin experiences.
1. Go to the deck chair cinema.
2. Visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territories.
3. Enjoy a Sunday Session at a pub or restaurant.
4. Rent a bike and discover Darwin’s bike path network.
5. Go barramundi fishing.
“One more thing,” he said, “Don’t forget the art galleries filled with Aboriginal art.”
Later we drove to the Botanical Gardens, past Mindil Beach where the Sunset Market sets up twice a week, to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territories, down to the Darwin Sailing Club, along Fannie Bay with its million-dollar homes and to East Point with its parklands.
We then headed to a sunset cruise on Darwin Cruises and Charters (08-8942-3131). The cruise curled around the Darwin breakwater, past high-rise hotels and beaches, as the sun set on the horizon. The meal was surprisingly good.
At night Darwin changes from a sleepy beach town with little traffic and few pedestrians into a pub and disco whirl. Along Mitchell Street about a dozen late-night haunts pump out pulsing music, and throngs of Darwin residents and visitors pack dance floors.
These are not bearded and aging hippies that fill the bars, but the young and beautiful Australians out for a good time. I don’t remember seeing so many miniskirts and short shorts and high heels. When I mentioned this to one of the bartenders at Ducks Nuts, he smiled and said, “We were just voted as having the best legs in Australia by one of our leading magazines. We are the city of legs.”