Darwin in located in the tropical Top End in Gulumoerrgin, the lush land of the Larrakia people. This means that late June is the height of the Dry season, and the sun shines without a cloud to hide behind. Days are warm but, without the humidity of the Wet season, it brings easygoing sun-soaking to all Darwin activities. The Dry is the best time to be out on the town, and to venture further afield to explore the breathtaking and expansive natural landscapes. A trip to swimming holes and world-famous National Parks is a must during the Dry. Delight your senses with the famous night markets along Mindil beach, and visit local community markets in Nightcliff, Rapid Creek, and Parap in the mornings for all kinds of multicultural cuisines and arts and crafts.
If you are visiting from interstate for the NT Writers Festival, here are a few tips on what you can do to get the most out of your Top End trip.
Darwin is situated in Gulumoerrgin, the traditional lands of the Larrakia or Saltwater People in the tropical Top End of Australia. The NT Writers Festival will take place in the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, just 5kms from the CBD.
With the Dry season in full swing, June is the best time to enjoy the beautiful Darwin outdoors. As well as the NT Writers Festival, there are a number of exciting things to do in and around Darwin that might entice you to extend your stay.
With carefully curated exhibitions from their regular collection, as well as outstanding travelling exhibitions, MAGNT is one of the NT’s premiere cultural institutions. It also hosts the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAAs), the longest running and most prestigious award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. Head to their website to check what’s on.
The iconic Deckchair Cinema is open for screenings from the end of April until November. Showing outstanding arthouse and mainstream films with a gorgeous sunset view, Deckchair Cinema is Australia’s most unique outdoor cinema.
Thinking of heading up to Darwin before NTWF begins to soak up more sun and fun? The weekend prior to NTWF is Pride Festival, and there are plenty of entertaining events happening to celebrate the Top End’s LBGTQIA+ folk and their allies.
Enjoy a stroll through Darwin’s famous botanic gardens with a beautiful range of zoned spaces for flora to flourish from far and wide. Enjoy guided walks, events throughout the year, and cold drink at Eva’s Cafe to cool off.
Markets and Places to Eat
No Darwin holiday is complete without a trip to one of its famous markets. Pop into Parap Village Markets for a breakfast laksa, stock up on fresh herbs and groceries at Rapid Creek, or grab a freshly squeezed tropical juice at Nightcliff Markets. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss the renowned Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, where you can browse a large array of stalls and watch the glorious tropical sunset over the Arafura Sea. Mindil beach is tucked behind the Museum, a short walk away.
If you want to grab a drink, try Stone House, Babylon Bar, Hotel Darwin or Lola’s Pergola near the Cullen Bay Marina. The Darwin Railway Club is a bit further out, but worth a visit to see a band or to play some pool with a cold beer. The Ski Club and the Sailing Club are perennial favourites for watching stunning sunsets, with the Ski Club just across from the Museum grounds.
Some of Australia’s most beautiful national parks are only a car ride away. Learn about Aboriginal culture and history at ancient rock art galleries, swim in crystal clear swimming holes, see thundering waterfalls, and admire the dramatic vistas.
Admire the beauty and joy of nature with a tour to Njulbitjlk (Bare Sand Island) to see baby turtles hatching and making their way into the ocean for the first time, as the sun sets behind the island over turquoise waters. Book your tickets here and browse for similar tours through SeaDarwin.
NT Writers Festival accomodation partner, Hudson Apartments, is conveniently located in Parap, close to amenities, cafes, Parap markets, galleries such as Outstation Gallery and Northern Centre for Contemporary Art and more. From there, it’s only a twenty minute walk to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
If you are arriving by plane, catch the shuttle bus directly outside the baggage carousels to accommodation within the CBD or a taxi.
Most events and amenities are walkable from the CBD, including MAGNT, the main festival venue, walking through the George Brown Botanic Gardens en route. The Number 6 bus from the city also takes you there. There is one main carpark at the Museum, and has overflow parking on the green field behind the Darwin Ski Club.