Darwin, Northern Territory - Stein Travel
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Darwin

The city of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, presides undefeated over the top end of Australia. Set on a rocky peninsula that stretches into one of the most beautiful natural harbours on the north Australian coast, it is surrounded by water on three sides, which allows it to be fanned by cool breezes that temper the tropical heat and humidity of its climate.

Darwin has survived destruction three times. Firstly by a cyclone in 1893; it was then bombed by the Japanese in 1942 during World War II; and more recently in 1974 Cyclone Tracy levelled the city on Christmas Eve. It is a tribute to the pioneering spirit of its cosmopolitan population of 87,000 that it has not only overcome these calamities, but gone on to thrive.

The city is compact, and easy to explore on foot. The tropical climate encourages outdoor living and simply strolling through the leafy streets, browsing art galleries and enjoying refreshments at a sidewalk cafe is a pleasure for visitors. Shady parks are to be found behind busy shopping streets and are a delight with exotic flowering trees like frangipani, banyan and tamarind.

The Tour Tub, an open-air bus, is a good way to tour the city and view its major attractions, which include the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; the Overland Telegraph Museum; Fannie Bay Gaol; the Botanic Gardens; the Australian Pearling Exhibition; and East Point Military Museum. The city is a good base from which to explore the surrounding national parks. Note that sea swimming, particularly between October and May, is generally unsafe around Darwin because the sea abounds with deadly box jellyfish.

Information & Facts

Climate

Darwin experiences two distinct seasons known as the 'Wet' and 'Dry' seasons. The dry season is almost always rain free and extends from May to October with temperatures averaging around 77ºF (25ºC) during the day and becoming cooler in the evenings. The weather during these months is pleasant and consistent. The wet season from November to April brings high humidity and high temperatures resulting in electric storms in the afternoon that leave the countryside lush and green.

Getting Around

City bus services run from the terminal on Harry Chan Avenue and the Smith Street corner. Fares are on a zone system and routes take in the main attractions. Buses do not run on Sundays. Darwin also has a number of bicycle trails and from the city there are easy rides to picturesque destinations such as Fannie Bay or the Botanical Gardens. Taxis are available and a private bus company offers a tourist circuit of the city for a flat rate. However Darwin is small enough to get around most of it on foot.

Language

English is the official language of Australia.

Money

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

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