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Sightseeing in Darwin

As far as sightseeing in Darwin goes, there are quite a few attractions that will keep you busy.

The Town Centre provides a nice historical walk, visitors can appreciate the fact that a lot of the old buildings are still standing despite intensive bombing during the World War II. The 1880s Victoria Hotel; police station and old court house suffered great damage are still used as government offices. The Government House built in 1870 has been damaged by every cyclone to hit Darwin, still miraculously survives; the old Town Hall was more or less destroyed by Cyclone Tracy and now is a ghost of its former self with just the walls remaining. Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Eve, 1974 and levelled at least 50 % to 60% of all houses. Even the older, sturdier buildings were destroyed. Modern Darwin has cyclone proof houses but as yet has to face the acid test!

Further on is the new Parliament House, built in 1994 for a whopping $117 million dollars, is quite garish on the outside though worth a look inside.

The Supreme Court has interesting Aborigine Artwork on display. The Beaufort Darwin Centre, the Darwin Entertainment Centre and the Bicenntennial Park are other attractions in the city.

If feeding fish is your thing, then head down to nearby JMb Aquascene, where thousands of milkfish, mullet, catfish and batfish, some quite enormous gather to feed.

If you have any scraps of bread handy, they'll be much obliged. An added bonus for kids is that the fish eat right out of your hands. Feeding times depend on the tide, so it is advisable to check. Entry tickets have to be paid for, but the bread is free!

Like other Australian cities, Darwin has its Botanical Gardens, with an interesting collection of tropical flora and an Aboriginal Plant Use walk. The Indo Pacific Marine & Australian Pearling Exhibition has a fine display of living coral and it’s associated life forms. It also has a history of the pearling industry, which is quite interesting. It is located in the Darwin Wharf Precinct, a prime tourist area with obsolete warehouses that have now been converted into cafés and restaurants.

Museum buffs will enjoy the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, which is full of interesting displays of Aboriginal Art, Indonesian and Asian Art exhibits. The star attraction here is the ‘sweetheart’ – a 5 metres, 780 kg, saltwater crocodile who enjoyed a long dalliance with many a fisherman till it was caught and killed in 1979. Another interesting museum is the Fannie Bay Gaol Museum, a jail from 1883 to 1979. You can satisfy your morbid fascination by wandering around the gallows for the criminals, the cells for lepers and a detention centre for Vietnamese refugees.

The Australian Aviation Heritage Centre has an American B52 bomber on display, one of only two on display outside the US as well as a Japanese Zero fighter shot down in 1942. Definitely worth a look.

Other places of interest are the Crocodylus Park where all croc stuff is on display or the East Point Reserve for a nice sunset, drive and good walking and riding trails.

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