Darwin is becoming a popular place for tourists, lots wanting to head south and explore the parks of the Northern Territory. But the city itself is a place to be reckoned with these days.
Mitchell Street is the place for nightlife, restaurants, pubs and shops and all sorts of holiday-makers and backpackers flock there for a bit of fun.
Cyclone Tracey devastated Darwin in 1974 and new buildings are prominent, but the laid-back, relaxed feel it always had remains.
An attraction to which most people are drawn is the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets around 17,000 people go each week. It operates during the dry season which is from April to October, from 5-10pm on Thursday. A mini version operates each Sunday from 4-9pm.
There are the usual craft stalls, people who can predict your future, all sorts of therapies, pony rides and the variety of food stalls can create a decision problem Greek, South American, Italian, British, vegetarian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malay with crocodile, buffalo and barramundi represented in Australian choices.
You can rent a table and chairs at the market and enjoy your food selections while being entertained by roving street performers.
Buzz Cafe at Cullen Bay Marina is another great place to satisfy your hunger. Apart from serving wonderful food, John Bonnin has put an enormous amount of thought and effort into the cafe's decor and had everything made in Darwin or Indonesia from teak and mahogany.
The beautiful black stone you will see in various places came from Mount Bromo in Java after an eruption eight years ago. The three-legged tables offer each customer marina views and there are some interesting insects in resin on display in the ceiling.
To quench the top end thirst, Madison on Mitchell is a new bar and is open every day. It has introduced a new wave of sophistication, entertainment and music to Darwin and, as its name suggests, has a New York theme.
One lounge is 20 metres long, winding its way to a back wall. More decisions to make there are around 10 beers on tap and they can whip up any cocktail you name.
Madison is the first place in Australia to introduce the stock market game drink prices are displayed on a ticker board and vary depending on what is being consumed. It has the ability to crash, and provides great fun for participants.
Rorke's Drift, also on Mitchell Street, has an indoor restaurant which extends outdoors and a beer garden. It is like an old English pub and is just right for a relaxed lunch or dinner and the beer garden has a grand old tree with a friendly possum family which likes to visit.
The NT General Store has been trading for more than 25 years and their motto is "you can't go bush without seeing us first". They stock between 8000 and 9000 items maps, compasses, backpacks, blankets, swags, tents, rifles, ovens, lanterns, knives and sophisticated global positioning gadgets. You can even arrange your outback trip with them.
They began as a little operation with basic supplies for buffalo shooters and fishermen, but now you can spend hours browsing through their wide and varied stock.
Now that you have prepared yourself for your adventure, and you want to look the part, Delaneys Country and Western Store on Knuckey Street can have you looking like an experienced outbacker in no time at all. Pat Delaney opened the store in 1938 and it is now run by his son, Dwyn. They stock RM Williams, Wrangler, Drizabone, Akubra, jeans, boots and shirts and of course, crocodile items.
Darwin, capital city of the Northern Territory.
Please note that prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowlegde are inclusive of GST.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
Mindil Beach, Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8981 3454www.darcity.nt.gov.au
Madison on Mitchell
Mitchell Street, Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8942 1844
Fax: (08) 8942 firstname.lastname@example.org
46 Mitchell Street, Darwin 0801
Ph: (08) 8941 7171www.rorkesdrift.com.au
48 Marina Boulevard, Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8941 1141
NT General Store
42 Cavenagh Street, Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8981 8242
Delaneys Country and Western Store
2/20 Knuckey Street, Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8981 8144www.delaneys.com.au