In January of this year I made the bold decision to move from Sydneys Eastern Suburbs to the Northern Territory’s small but thriving tropical capital, Darwin. Thanks to endless outdoor adventure spots, lucrative job opportunities and a laid back friendly atmosphere, Darwin has the youngest population per capita of any capital city in Australia.
Whether you’re planning a holiday, itching for a 'sea' change or simply curious about what has lured twenty-somethings to the top end, here is a little insight into where we are eating, exploring, partying and brunching.
Brunch – Lucky Bat Cafe
As an avid brunch going millennial, I was quick to scope out the best Darwin has to offer. With its eclectic décor and menu fit for a Melbourne laneway, Lucky Bat Café quickly became my local. Featuring a funky playlist, local Aboriginal artwork and retro light shades, this café always delivers good vibes. Whether you’re looking for a creative corner to perch in whilst you sip flat whites and edit your holiday pics or you’re craving a delicious post-night out poached eggs and avo, Lucky Bat will be your best choice.
Local tip: come on a Sunday morning and the Nightcliff markets selling street food, plants and crafts, and local produce will be on the door step.
Eat – Mindil beach sunset markets
Every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season Mindil beach sets up its famous food markets with over 100 stalls, live bands and local arts and crafts. With South East Asia only a stone’s throw across the ocean, the food coming into the NT is impressive! There are so many international cuisines to choose from but Mary's Laksa, pumping out endless bowls of noodle soup, is one of the most popular choices. If you can call a food cart on the beach an institution, Mary's Laksa is it!
It’s a bizarre Darwin tradition to eat a steaming hot bowl of Laksa in the already humid climate, but it wouldn’t be a genuine Darwin experience without it.
These Markets are popular so if crowds aren’t your thing, head in early and nestle yourself on the sandy beach ready to see the sun dip below the horizon. Clapping the sunset is a thing. It’s pretty cheesy but whether you love it or hate it, the crowd will erupt in applause at the sunset each evening without fail, sometime I can’t help but get on board.
Explore – Litchfield National Park
Territorians think of the Northern Territory as their own big backyard; it's a seriously spectacular place. A lifetime wouldn’t be long enough to discover all the beautiful waterfalls, freshwater creeks and hidden thermal swimming holes, but one of my all-time favourite spots to camp for a weekend is Wangi falls in Litchfield National Park.
Just an hour and a half drive from Darwin you’ll be amidst crystal clear plunge pools and glistening cascades. Just before sunset take the 1.6km loop walk up to the top of the waterfall. Stagger over a few challenging boulders off to the left of the marked path and you’ll find yourself in plunge pool heaven overlooking the lush rainforest canopy as far as the eye can see and wait for the sky to turn every shade of pink.
If you’re lucky enough to have a few days here pack a picnic lunch and take the hike to Greenant Creek. Keep an eye out for emus and wallabies. You might also be lucky enough to spot water monitors basking on the rocks in the midday sun.
Party – Throb nightclub
If you’re in Darwin for the weekend and feel like a wild night out you won’t be disappointed if you head to Throb Nightclub (don't be turned off by the name, it's so fun!). Thanks to the buzzing backpacker scene and booming population of young professionals, there are plenty of cocktail bars, beer gardens and Irish pubs to keep you going, but a night out in Darwin wouldn’t be complete without a boogie here.
Opened in the year 2000 and now an icon of acceptance and good times, Throb Nightclub is your answer to a memorable night out! There are themed Drag Shows every evening (This month is Charlie’s Angels themed), stripper poles to show off your party tricks and a colourful menu where you can order up tasty shots such as a Wet Pussy or a Cock Tease. Its slogan is “The place where you’re free to be!” and it lives up to that. You won’t be able to help but have a brilliant time.
So what are you waiting for? Come and visit Australia's great northern region. It really does have it all!
Maddy is a twenty something human, living the yo-pro life in the Northern Territory. She loves sinking pale ales, swimming in the ocean, making extravagant plans and attending dinner parties. You can find her on instagram @madeleinedebono.