Hiding out in Darwin, Australia

 If you felt like disappearing from your life, where would you go?

I’d head for Darwin, Australia.

A long way from anywhere, Darwin is a city that knows all about reinventing itself, having been reconstructed twice in its lifetime – once after the Japanese bombed it during WWII and again after Cyclone Tracey in 1974.

But if you’re planning on going heading to Darwin, there are a few things you need to know.

First, the weather. Timing is everything with Darwin. Don’t think four seasons, think two – the wet and the dry. Most people visit during the dry season (April – October). If you decide to visit in the wet season (November – March) be prepared for rain (lots of it) and a place where most attractions are shut down. 

Second, getting there is not all that simple or cheap. Just getting into your car and driving is not really the answer as it’s a very long, dry and dusty journey. Personally, if I was heading to Darwin, I would arrive in style by train. After all, what’s a better way of disappear than by waving goodbye from the steps of The Ghan.

Once there, check into the SkyCity Darwin Hotel at Mindi Beach. Only minutes from the Central Business District, you could hide away for days on end, venturing out occasionally to the casino, the beach, and the city as you felt inclined.

Darwin is a true ethnic melting pot and no better example of this exists than the Mindi Beach Sunset Market just opposite the hotel. Held every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season, it’s quite a sight to explore as locals, armed with chairs, tables, drink, and kids, arrive and settle under the coconut palms.

Follow your nose and wander through a maze of food stalls emitting fabulous aromas. And if you time it right, you’ll discover what the locals already know –  for pure joy, nothing can beat watching the sunset in Darwin.

The open-sided Tour Tub bus  provides a fun and entertaining way of getting around. Sit and  watch the tourists, watch the locals, and check out the sites as it passes by all the major attractions, including SkyCity Casino (and hotel).

Other stops worth making include the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory  for its aboriginal art collection, and Aquascene  at Doctor’s Gully, especially at high tide when hundreds of fish show up looking for a free feed. 

And of course, when you get tired of hiding out in Darwin, there’s the rest of Australia’s North Territory to explore.

So where would you go if you wanted to disappear ?

(image source:  Tourism Australia HRS; Copyright NTTC)

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