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1. Tourist Attractions

Darwin, capital of Northern Territory

Darwin is a modern city with an estimated population of 98,000. Devastated by Cyclone Tracy at 3am on Christmas Day in 1974, it has now been rebuilt into a modern, multi-cultural city. There are some 70 different racial and cultural backgrounds.

It has an easy-going atmosphere and cosmopolitan lifestyle. Because of its isolation from the other states it has developed a unique lifestyle. It has both an old style Australian and distinctly Asian feel and the genuine multicultural mix is reflected in the food available at a variety of restaurants and open-air markets. There is an abundance of parks and recreational facilities. There are several Olympic sized swimming pools, five golf courses, several football ovals and a huge indoor sports stadium. It has two major cinema centres and performing arts centre which regularly hosts performances by international artists. The city's business district is like any other similar sized city but with a tropical atmosphere.


Darwin is in the north-western corner of the Northern Territory, in an area known as the Top End. It is a classical tropical sea port situated on Fannie Bay, located between Beagle Gulf and Port Darwin.

Port Darwin was discovered by Lieutenant John Lort Stokes, and named by Capt J C Wickham, in 1839 when the HMS Beagle passed the harbour area. It was named after Charles Darwin who had once sailed in the HMS Beagle. In 1869 it was renamed Palmerston but in 1911 its name reverted to Darwin when the Federal Government took control of the Territory. By 1869 the Surveyor-General had surveyed the town and had drawn up plans. The town would have been short-lived had it not been for the construction of the Overland Telegraph, the first pole being placed at the northern end in 1870. The present Government House was rebuilt in the 1880s and is known as the House of Seven Gables, surrounded by a white fence and tropical gardens.

Darwin's prosperity is due largely to tourism and mining. In the 1890s gold was discovered at Pine Creek and a pearling industry was developed in the seas to the north.


The Top End has two distinct seasons:
Tropical winter, "The Dry" (May to September), consistently mild, clear blue skies, with low humidity, very little or no rain.

Tropical summer, "The Wet" (October to April). During this season there can be late afternoon thunderstorms, high humidity and heavy downpours. The coast is also subject to tropical cyclones (hurricanes or typhoons).

Rainfall averages 1570 mm a year.


Average Temperature (C)
Summer (Dec/Feb)
Autumn (Mar/May)
Winter (Jun/Aug)
Spring (Sept/Nov)


Shopping in three modern air-conditioned shopping centres:
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Thurs night 9am-9pm
Sat 9am to 12 noon

Tourist Attractions

Apart from its own attractions, Darwin is an excellent base from which to explore the Northern Territory, with Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park to the east, Western Australia to the west, Alice Springs and the Red Centre to the south.