Sydney - The Capital of Australia
The Larrakia people are the traditional land owners that have lived in the greater Darwin region since before European settlement. They had trading routes with South East Asia, as well as South and Western Australia. The city was named in 1839 when the HMS Beagle sailed into the harbor and the ship’s captain named the port after Charles Darwin, the British Naturalist.
Darwin city was officially founded in 1869. The population rapidly expanded after gold was discovered at Pine Creek in 1871. The didgeridoo, famed instrument of the indigenous Australians, originally came from Arnhem Land, just east of Darwin. During World War II Darwin was a major military base for allied troops in the Pacific. It was bombed twice on 19 February 1942 by the same fleet that bombed Pearl Harbor. From 1942 to 1943 there were a total of 64 air raids on the city.
Darwin was granted city status on Australia Day (26 January) 1959. On 25 December 1974, Darwin was struck by Cyclone Tracey, with winds recorded up to 217 kilometres per hour. Over 70% of the city's buildings were destroyed and 71 people killed. It was declared Australia's worst natural disaster. The city was subsequently rebuilt with newer materials and techniques during the late 1970's, with all buildings constructed to a strict cyclone code. Today, Darwin is a thriving modern capital city with one of the fastest growing economies in Australia, as it maximizes its strengths in industry and tourism.
Local markets are a big part of Darwin’s personality. At the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, sample international cuisine from over 60 food stalls, including Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Turkish, Greek, Cambodian, and Japanese just to name a few. Known as the laksa capital of Australia, you’ll find plenty of food stalls serving up the spicy noodle soup. If you’re looking for Australian fare, look no further than the local barramundi fish or even a crocodile dish.
Enjoy dinner on the beach as you watch the sun setting into the ocean. Darwin is famous for its spectacular orange sunsets over the Arafura Sea. After dinner, browse the art and craft stalls, then relax with a local ice-cream or mango smoothie as fire twirlers, musicians and street performers entertain the crowds.
See prehistoric crocodiles as they launch from the water to catch food on a jumping crocodile cruise. Feel how soft crocodile skin really is as you hold a baby crocodile (with its mouth safely closed). Take a scenic flight and see waterways winding through wetlands. Savour a sunset as you sail on the sparkling blue waters of the Arafura Sea on a harbour cruise. No matter what your pace, Darwin has something for you.
Darwin enjoys a year-round tropical climate averaging 30°C (86ºF). From May to September, the days are warm with sunny blue skies, while the nights are slightly cooler. This time of year is known as the 'dry season' with gorgeous weather, lower humidity and minimal rain. From December to March, Darwin experiences a tropical summer, known as the 'wet season'. It is the ideal time to see the Northern Territory at its greenest, enjoying secluded waterholes, cool waterfalls and billabongs teeming with exotic wildlife. The coolest months of the year are June and July, when daily temperature ranges from 19ºC (66.2ºF) to 30ºC (86ºF).
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