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19 Unique Things You’ll Only Find in Darwin, Australia

Darwin is a unique city in Australia. It is the capital of the Northern Territory and is located on the coast of the Timor Sea. Darwin is known for its tropical climate, its diverse wildlife, and its laid-back lifestyle.

1. Eating a spicy laksa in 32C heat on a Saturday morning

Well, well, well, if it isn’t my favourite subject: spicy laksa!  If you want to feel alive, eat a bowl of that fiery goodness at the Parap Markets in Darwin on a Saturday morning. It’s like a party in your mouth, and everyone’s invited! But don’t worry, it won’t burn a hole in your wallet – just in your taste buds. So grab a spoon and prepare yourself. Just bring a water bottle (or maybe get a mango lassi)…
singer and songwriter vassy from northern territory australia eating laksa
Photo by @vassy
Sunset from pool at Mindil Beach Casino
Photo by @irishontherun

2. Sunsets at _________ (fill in the blank)

Ah, there’s nothing quite like a beautiful Darwin sunset! If you want to catch one of these breathtaking displays of nature’s beauty, head to the Nightcliff Foreshore, Cullen Bay Beach, or Little Mindil. It’s a sight you won’t forget! As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky explodes in a riot of reds, oranges, pinks, and purples. It’s like a painting come to life! And the best part? You don’t need a ticket- just a sense of wonder and a willingness to be amazed. So grab a loved one, a camera, or just yourself and head to one of these spots. You won’t regret it!

3. Can’t swim in the water 😅

It can be tough not being able to dip in Darwin’s beautiful waters. With temperatures soaring and the sun beating down on you, all you want to do is jump in the water and cool off, am I right? But here’s the thing: crocs and jellyfish are lurking in those waters and are not exactly the friendly type. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with those guys! So what can you do, you ask? Well, you can always dip in one of the many swimming pools around town, visit Litchy and bathe under the gorgeous twin waterfalls at Florence Falls – or splash around in a sprinkler like you did when you were a kid! It might not be the ocean, but it’s still water, right? And who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new way to beat the heat. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, folks!
Photo by @_sarahlatham

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man putting on a seatbelt

4. Having a sticky steering wheel and seatbelts that are ‘too hot to handle’

Oh, do I know what you’re talking about! Regarding the Darwin heat, even your steering wheel and seatbelts can turn against you. That’s right – they can get so sticky and hot that you’ll think twice about driving anywhere! But fear not, my friends, for there are solutions to this pesky problem. One trick is to invest in a good windshield sun shade – that way, your car won’t turn into an oven while parked. Another option is to use a towel or cloth to cover your steering wheel and seatbelts when you’re not using them – that way, they won’t get too hot to handle. And if all else fails, just embrace the heat, folks! Roll down the windows, turn up the radio, and enjoy the ride. After all, a little stickiness and heat can’t keep us down – we’re tough as nails up here in Darwin!

5. Mould 🦠

Let’s talk about a topic that might not be as fun as some others – mould. Yes, you heard me right – that pesky fungus that can grow just about anywhere in the humid Darwin heat. It’s not exactly the most glamorous subject, but it’s one that we can’t ignore. Let me tell you, mould can be a real pain in the you-know-what. It can make your home smell musty, damage your belongings, and pose health risks. So what can you do to combat this problem, you ask? Well, one solution is to invest in a good dehumidifier – that way, you can control the humidity levels in your home. Another option is to keep your home well-ventilated – open the windows, use exhaust fans, and let the air circulate. And if all else fails, just embrace the mould, folks! After all, it’s a part of life in Darwin – just like the heat, the crocs, and the spicy laksa. So take a deep breath, put on your mould-resistant boots, and get ready to conquer the world – or at least, your mould problem!
blue wall with mould in the corner
photo of a fish swimming in the waters of a Groote Eylandt beach
Photo by @monaddi

6. Million Dollar Fish 🐠

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about one of the most exciting events in Darwin – the Million Dollar Fish competition! That’s right, a competition where you can win big bucks just by catching a fish. It’s like the lottery, but with fins! Here’s how it works: there are specially tagged barramundi fish swimming around in the Northern Territory’s waterways. If you catch one of these fish, you could win up to a million dollars in cash and prizes. Yep, you heard that right – a million dollars! It’s like a dream come true for any fishing enthusiast. And even if you don’t catch the big one, there are still plenty of other prizes to be won, including fishing gear, travel packages, and more. So grab your fishing rod, bait up, and get ready for the catch of a lifetime. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky to reel in that million-dollar fish!

 

7. Fans ON ALL THE TIME 💨 (sub fans for AC)

Ah, the sweet sound of fans and air conditioners humming in the background – it’s the soundtrack of Darwin living! When the heat is on (and it’s pretty much always on up here), we need all the help we can get to stay cool. And that’s where our trusty fans and air conditioners come in. In Darwin, these appliances aren’t just optional – they’re a way of life. We run them all day, every day, just to keep the temperature bearable. It’s like having a constant breeze blowing through your home or a chilly oasis in the midst of a scorching desert. And sure, our electricity bills might be a little higher than we’d like, but hey – it’s a small price to pay for comfort, right? So turn up those fans, crank the air conditioners, and embrace the coolness. After all, in Darwin, it’s not just a luxury – it’s a necessity!

 

mother and daughter using a fan to battle the heat
berrimah line road

8. Berrimah line (driving past)

Here’s a little secret about Darwin locals – we don’t often cross the Berrimah Line unless we absolutely have to. I know, I know – it’s only a 20-minute drive away, but it might as well be on the other side of the world! You see, for us, everything we need is on this side of the line – the shops, the restaurants, the beaches, you name it. And when we do have to venture into the great unknown of the other side, it’s like we’re embarking on an epic journey. We pack snacks, we make sure the car is in good shape, and we mentally prepare ourselves for the adventure ahead. It’s like we’re Lewis and Clark, exploring uncharted territory. So if you’re ever in Darwin and you hear a local say that something is “just a bit too far”, you know what they’re talking about – it’s the Berrimah Line. But don’t worry – we’ll brave the wilds for you if we have to! And in reality, Litchfield National Park is past the Berrimah Line, and we love Litchy

9. BOM

One of the most important apps in Darwin – is the Bureau of Meteorology app, or as we locals call it, the BOM app. You see, up here in the Top End, the weather is a force to be reckoned with. We’ve got cyclones, monsoons, thunderstorms, and scorching heat – sometimes all in one day! And that’s where the BOM app comes in handy. It’s like having a personal meteorologist in your pocket, giving you up-to-the-minute updates on what’s happening with the weather. Is a cyclone on the way? Check the BOM app. Is it going to rain all week? Check the BOM app. Is it safe to go for a swim? You guessed it – check the BOM app. And the best part is, it’s free! So whether you’re a Darwin local or just passing through, make sure you download the BOM app and stay informed about the weather. After all, up here in the Top End, you never know what Mother Nature has in store!

bom weather app
photo by @jonny.melon

10. Tourists

Let’s talk about the tourists in Darwin. Now, don’t get me wrong – we love having visitors up here in the Top End. It’s always nice to see new faces and share our little slice of paradise with the world. But sometimes, it can be challenging. For example parking at woolies in the city from June – August, ay yi yi.  And, asking for directions to Uluru (which is about a 10-hour drive away), and they’re always surprised when they see a crocodile. But hey, we’ve all been there, right? And to be fair, the tourists bring many good things with them – like investing in our local business and helping make Darwin the multicultural hub it is. As well as dining in Darwin restaurants, staying in Darwin hotels and buying Darwin souvenirs (who doesn’t want to go home with a kangaroo paw back scratcher?!). So, to all the tourists out there – welcome to Darwin! We’re happy to have you and promise to try our best to ensure you have a fantastic time. 

NB. If you do have any tourist friends please do recommend our tours page to them to book their epic Top End experience. We’ve done the work for you 😁

11. Jumpers (for 3 days of the year!)

The weather in Darwin… we don’t really do “winter”. Sure, we might get a few cool mornings here and there, but for the most part, it’s hot and humid all year round. And that means we don’t have much use for jumpers. In fact, most of us only need to break out the woolies for about three days out of the year – and that’s being generous! So if you’re planning a trip to Darwin, leave the jumpers at home and pack your shorts and t-shirts instead. And if you’re a local, you already know the drill – embrace the heat, stay hydrated, and try not to pass out when you get into a car that’s been sitting in the sun for too long. It’s just part of life up here in the Top End!
red, blue and green jumpers
crocodile getting out of the water and catching a piece of meat
Photo by @theoutbackrep

12. Crocwise

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “crocwise”? Is that even a word? Well, up here in the Top End, it sure is. You see, crocodiles are a fact of life in these parts. We’ve got salties, we’ve got freshies, and we’ve got them in just about every body of water you can imagine. And while they might be fascinating to look at from a safe distance, they’re not exactly the friendliest creatures around. So, if you plan on spending time in and around the water, it’s essential to be crocwise. That means keeping a safe distance from the water’s edge, never swimming in areas where crocs are known to hang out, and always obeying warning signs. And if you do happen to come across a croc, remember this – they’re faster than you, they’re stronger than you, and they’re probably hungrier than you too. So, stay crocwise, folks. It could just save your life.

For more information on being crocwise check our post ‘7 Crocwise Tips for Staying Safe in the Northern Territory‘ that will help you be fully prepared and ‘crocwise’. 

 

13. Bali visits (thanks Jetstar!)

One of Darwin locals’ favourite holiday destinations is – Bali! Now, I know what you’re thinking – Bali? Isn’t that in Indonesia? Well, yes, it is. But for us Top-Enders, Bali is practically a second home. It’s just a short flight away, the weather is always beautiful, and the beaches are some of the best in the world. Plus, it’s a great place to stock up on everything we can’t get up here in Darwin – like decent coffee and affordable designer clothing. And let’s not forget the food! Balinese cuisine is simply outstanding, and we love nothing more than tucking into a plate of nasi goreng or sate ayam at one of our favourite warungs. So, if you’re a Darwin local looking for a quick getaway, or if you’re just passing through and need a break from the heat, Bali is the place to be. Just be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and your best bargaining skills. Selamat jalan-jalan! (That’s “happy travels” in Indonesian, folks.)

 

bali beautiful view
thunderstorm in darwin city
Photo by @gregcrichtonphoto

14. Thunderstorms

Now, I know what you’re thinking – thunderstorms? In the tropics? Who would’ve guessed? When a storm rolls in up here, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The lightning is so bright, it’ll light up the entire sky, and the thunder is so loud, it’ll shake your windows. But that’s not all – the rain that comes with these storms can be absolutely torrential. I’m talking about streets flooding in a matter of minutes and cars getting stuck in the middle of intersections. And yet, despite all of this, we Darwinites still love our thunderstorms. There’s something exhilarating about watching nature unleash its fury, and knowing that we’re safe and sound inside our homes. So, if you’re in Darwin and you see some dark clouds on the horizon, don’t be afraid – embrace the storm, and enjoy the show!

 

15. Being a staunch fan of either Dry season / Wet season

Let’s talk about being a staunch fan of either the dry or wet seasons in Darwin. You see, up here in the Top End, we have two very distinct seasons – the dry season, which runs from around May to October, and the wet season, which runs from around November to April. Everyone up here has a strong opinion on which season is better. Some people love the dry season for its balmy temperatures, crystal-clear skies, and perfect weather for outdoor activities. Others, however, swear by the wet season, with its dramatic thunderstorms, lush green landscapes, and refreshing relief from the heat.

But here’s the thing – both seasons have pros and cons, and it comes down to personal preference. Some people love the dry season because it’s easier to plan outdoor activities without worrying about rain, while others prefer the wet season because it’s quieter and less crowded with tourists. Whatever your preference may be, one thing is for sure – Darwin is a unique and beautiful place all year round, and there’s always something to love, no matter the season.

beautiful wet season view of darwin city in the northern territory
Photo by @steviedee22
orange scooter parked in the street

16. Orange scooters

If you’ve been wandering around Darwin City recently, you can’t have missed these zippy little vehicles whizzing past you on the footpaths. They’re bright orange with a sleek design. That’s right, I’m talking about the e-scooters that have taken Darwin by storm!

These electric scooters are a fun and eco-friendly way to get around the city, and they’ve become incredibly popular among both locals and tourists alike. All you need to do is download the app, scan the QR code on the scooter, and you’re off! They can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h, so you’ll be able to zip around Darwin in no time. And the best part? You don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot – just leave the scooter wherever you finish your ride, and someone else will pick it up and charge it for the next rider.

Of course, as with any new form of transportation, there have been some teething problems – some people have been riding the scooters recklessly or leaving them in inconvenient places (don’t be one of these people!). But overall, the orange scooters have been a great addition to the Darwin landscape, providing a fun and efficient way to explore our beautiful city. So why not give them a try? You might just fall in love with the zippy little things!

17. Weekends at Litchy

Weekends at Litchfield National Park, or as the locals like to call it, “Litchy“. Now, if you’re looking for the ultimate Top End adventure, there’s really no better place to be than Litchy on the weekend. Just a short drive from Darwin, this stunning national park is a veritable paradise of waterfalls, swimming holes, and stunning natural scenery. On a typical weekend at Litchy, you’ll find the place packed with tourists and locals alike, all eager to soak up the beauty of this incredible place. You might start your day by hiking to one of the park’s breathtaking waterfalls, like Wangi Falls or Florence Falls, before cooling off with a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters below. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could explore the park’s network of hiking trails, taking in the rugged terrain and stunning views along the way. And when the sun starts to set, the fun doesn’t stop – many visitors choose to set up camp at one of the park’s designated camping areas, enjoying a night under the stars with friends and family. It’s a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with the natural beauty surrounding us here in the Top End. So if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable weekend adventure, pack up the car and head out to Litchy – you won’t be disappointed!
girl swimming at florence falls litchfield national park
Photo by @_jess_elizabeth_
couple exploring and camping in finke gorge national park
Photo by @borderlandexplorers

18. Dry season camping

If you’re a Darwin local, you know that the dry season is when the real fun begins. With the oppressive heat and humidity of the wet season finally behind us, we can finally hit the road and explore all the incredible camping destinations that the Top End has to offer.

From the red cliffs of Kakadu to the stunning gorges of Nitmiluk, there’s no shortage of unique camping spots in this part of the world. And with the cool, dry weather of the dry season, it’s the perfect time to get out there and experience them all.

Whether you’re a seasoned camping pro or a newcomer to the game, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of setting up camp in the wilderness, cooking a delicious meal over an open fire, and falling asleep under the stars. And with so many incredible camping destinations within a few hours’ drive of Darwin, it’s easy to make dry-season camping a regular part of your weekend routine.

So if you’re ready to get out there and explore all the amazing camping spots that the Top End offers, grab your tent, pack up the car, and hit the road – the dry season is waiting for you!

 

19. Territory Day (+ fireworks)

Ah, Territory Day – the most explosive day of the year in Darwin! For those who don’t know, Territory Day is a unique holiday celebrated every year on July 1st. And what makes it so special? Well, it’s the one day of the year when it’s legal to buy and set off fireworks in the Northern Territory!

For some people, letting loose with fireworks might sound a little scary. But for Darwin locals, it’s an absolute blast (pun intended). From the crackle and pop of sparklers to the ear-splitting boom of giant aerial fireworks, there’s something truly magical about watching the night sky light up in a riot of colour and sound.

Of course, Territory Day isn’t just about fireworks – it’s also a chance for Darwin locals to come together and celebrate all the fantastic things that make the Top End such a special place to live. From barbecues and picnics to live music and community events, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate this unique holiday.

So if you’re lucky enough to be in Darwin on July 1st, be sure to join in the festivities and experience Territory Day for yourself. Just don’t forget your earplugs – those fireworks can get pretty loud!

fireworks at territory day australia

Get your daily fix of Northern Territory beauty courtesy of Norther® by following @northerhq. You can also check out more Northern Territory content by following Norther. Please sign up here to join our newsletter list to be the first to get hints and local recommendations for anything awesome in Darwin and the NT!

Cover photo by @ijustinburgos

Norther

Norther

NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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