With sparkling and seemingly never-ending views of the Timor Sea, Darwin is a beautiful, tropical city with a culturally diverse and laid-back atmosphere. It’s the business capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and is home to over 130,000 residents. Darwin is also the tourism and international gate way to Asia and is closer to Jakarta than Bondi.
The traditional owners of Darwin are the Larrakia (saltwater) people, who were the first to established trade routes in the region with the Tiwi, Wulna and Wagait people. In 1839, Lieutenant John Lort Stokes arrived in the area, and decided to name it after his former shipmate the English naturalist and biologist, Charles Darwin.
Darwin has a rich past including ten-thousand years of Aboriginal history, early pre-war pioneers and survival stories from WWII.
The median age in Darwin is 33 years old, and the most spoken language is English, followed by Greek, Tagalog and Mandarin. Majority of locals are born in Australian, however, 31.1% of the population are descendants of immigrants.
The climate in Darwin is vastly different to Sydney and Melbourne, where its sub-tropical and temperate oceanic. Darwin has tropical climate with two distinct seasons, the ‘wet’ and the ‘dry’.
The wet season (November to April)
- >80% humidity levels with monsoonal rains and storms
- Average temperature between 24.7°C– 32°C (76.5°F – 89.6°F)
- Annual rainfall is 1727.3mm (68 inches) with January being the wettest month
- Expect plenty of lightning storms during October to December
The dry season (May to October)
- Warm to hot, dry sunny days with cool nights
- Average temperature between 21.6°C– 31.8°C (70.9°F – 89.2°F)
- Humidity levels of around 60 – 65%
- Locals and visitors enjoy cooler weather from May to July, where the temperature ranges between 17°C– 23°C (62.6°F – 73.4°F)
Schools, Universities and Higher Education
Primary and High Schools
- St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
- The Essington School
- Kormilda College
- Stuart Park Primary School
- Darwin High School
- Manunda Terrace Primary School
- Sanderson Middle School
- Darwin Middle School
Higher Education institutions include Charles Darwin University and the Batchelor Institute.
Transportation in Darwin is limited to buses, ferries, driving, cycling and walking. Buses operate seven days a week, except Christmas Day and Good Friday. Buses run from the Darwin CBD, Casuarina and Palmerston regions. While ferry routes are limited to and from Cullen Bay and Mandorah, however some services also travel to the Tiwi Islands. Cycling is one of the city’s most popular mode of transportation with over 70 kilometres of bicycle paths.
There are three major shopping centres in Darwin − Casuarina Square, Gateway Shopping Centre and Palmerston Shopping Centre. However, there are plenty of boutiques and speciality stores including Paspaley Pearls, di CROCO and countless Aboriginal stores selling paintings, sculptures and textiles.
Key annual events include:
- Darwin Festival: an 18-day event during the Territory’s dry or ‘winter’ season.
- Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair: provides visitor with an opportunity to buy directly from Indigenous owned community Art Centres.
- Darwin Street Art Festival: funded by the local government and attracts local, interstate and international artists to create beautiful street art
- The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island Art Awards (NATSIAA): showcases Indigenous art from all over Australia at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT)
- Darwin Fringe Festival: a community arts festival supporting local artists
Dates changes annually, so make sure you check-out the Northern Territory website.
There are numerous entertainment venues in Darwin including:
- Darwin Entertainment Centre
- Deckchair Cinema
- Happy Yess
- Skycity Darwin
- Brown’s Mart
The largest religious group in Darwin is Catholic followed by Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Buddhism and Hinduism. Locals wishing to visit the local church, mosque, temple or other institutions can visit:
- Darwin Full Gospel Church
- Greek Orthodox School
- Lutheran Church of Australia
- Islamic Society of Palmerston
- Preeti Kunj Child Care Centre
Plants and quarantine
The Northern Territory has Australia’s strictest entry and quarantine rules. There are plenty of regulations that stop the entry of fruits, vegetables and plants. There are also laws that prevent household plants, seeds and grain, so make sure you check the local government website if you’re planning to bring these to the Territory.
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