Living in Darwin isn’t all red clay and crocodiles. The Top End’s capital holds a fascinating history, along with some of the most laidback locals in the country.
If you’re considering moving to Darwin and looking for advice, give this a read before you pack your bags for this unique city.
Living in Darwin: Pros and Cons
Sure, it’s a bit hot and sticky, but there’s plenty of stuff to love about Darwin that doesn’t involve being submerged in water inside a cage and circled by a large aquatic reptile.
Pro: There’s plenty to do
It’s hard to be bored in Darwin. From the bustling city and the calming surf to the lush greenery of nearby Kakadu National Park, Australia’s only tropical capital city offers a range of environments and activities to fill your days – especially if you’re the outdoorsy type. Top attractions include the Mindil Beach Markets (stay for an unforgettable sunset) and the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens (pack a picnic, throw some snags on the public BBQs, or browse the menu at Eva’s Café).
Con: The wet season can ruin your summer
Forget pleasant summer days soaking up the sun on the beach; Darwin’s summer brings high humidity, monsoonal rains, and storms. The wet season lasts from November-April, when humidity can surpass 80%, and the only refuge from the unforgiving heat and stickiness (not to mention the sand-flies and mosquitoes) is inside with air-conditioning.
Pro: The education is world-renowned
Charles Darwin University is kind of a big deal. It’s been ranked in the top 2% of universities in the entire world, making the NT a great spot to spend your uni years.
Con: It’s a fair hike to the other capitals
Darwin is pretty isolated. If your favourite band or sports team is visiting a different state, you can expect to sit in a plane for around 4 hours before arriving in another Australian capital city. The proximity from other capitals can make Darwin feel a little lonely.
Pro: It’s pretty easy to find a job
Depending on your industry, of course. But in recent years, Darwin has been named the best city in Australia to find a job, with 2.24 jobseekers per vacancy. So if you’re looking for a new professional opportunity, Darwin could be your best bet for employment.
Best Darwin Suburbs to Live In
Settle down in the CBD or hide away in family-friendly suburbia. Whatever your lifestyle, Darwin can accommodate.
Stuart Park – Inner Suburb
Home to a primary school and childcare centre, great public transport, and just minutes from the CBD, Stuart Park is perfectly located for young families. It also offers a small shopping centre and combines large old homes with modern apartments to suit many lifestyles. Quiet, safe, and near plenty of parks, this suburb is one of the locals’ favourites.
Fannie Bay – Inner Suburb
Nestled on the coast of Darwin, Fannie Bay is close to some of the city’s best beaches. It’s loved for its recreation, sports, and education, and is just a 10-minute drive from the CBD. Fannie Bay is also nearby Charles Darwin National Park.
Wulagi – Northern Suburb
With parks, gardens and walking tracks aplenty, it’s no surprise Wulagi is one of Darwin’s favourite northern suburbs. With easy access to the CBD and airport, and offering a primary school, early learning centre and music school, this leafy suburb is great for young families.
Gunn – Eastern Suburb
Located around 25 minutes southeast of the CBD, Gunn offers peace and quiet with the convenience of inner-city living. This quaint and modern suburb boasts beautiful parks, and is close to great shopping and cinemas.
Darwin’s Dining Scene
Multicultural Darwin is a mixing pot of delicious eats from around the world. Whether you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned serving of steak and veg, or you’re craving exotic cuisines, Darwin can deliver.
Darwin Waterfront Precinct – Darwin City
If it’s a meal with a view you’re after, the Darwin Waterfront Precinct has an alfresco seat with your name on it. Treat your tastebuds to a range of restaurants and eateries including authentic Asian, Italian and Irish fare along with fresh seafood and hearty pub grub.
Pee Wee’s at the Point – East Point
Award-winning food and ocean views? Yes please! Pee Wee’s at the Point is one of Darwin’s favourite à la carte dining destinations, offering delicious meals and fine wine among towering tropical palms.
Culture in Darwin
Darwin boasts a booming art and culture scene, providing ample opportunities to get your culture fix in the NT.
The Darwin Entertainment Centre – 93 Mitchell Street, Darwin
From up-and-coming local artists to internationally recognised names, the Darwin Entertainment Centre is your go-to for all things arty. Here you can witness live concerts, festivals, musicals, comedy, ballet, theatre, and more.
Maningrida Arts & Culture – 32 Mitchell Street, Darwin
Maningrida Arts & Culture hosts pieces from highly talented Indigenous Australian artists. The large gallery holds 20 exhibitions each year, allowing you to browse and buy some of the most sought-after artwork in the city (and country, at that). Artworks span across bark paintings, sculptures, musical instruments, prints, weavings, and publications.
Brown’s Mart Theatre – 12 Smith Street, Darwin
Providing entertainment to the city for over 40 years, Brown’s Mart Theatre shares the stories of the NT and its people. This intimate venue is perfect for a night of live theatre, music, and community events.
Used to your 4 seasons a year? Darwin is a little different.
Wet Season (November – April)
Monsoonal rains, anyone? The wet season in Darwin welcomes high humidity (seriously, your hair won’t stand a chance), monsoonal rains, and storms. The locals mostly embrace it, enjoying lightning shows from the local pubs.
During the wet season, average temperatures range from 24.5 to 32°C, and humidity can reach 80%. You can enjoy sunny days and wet afternoons, with January getting the most rain.
Dry Season (May – October)
The dry season brings some relief with warm, dry, sunny days and cooler nights. Temperatures average around 21.5 – 31°C, and the humidity sits at around 60%.
Getting Around Darwin
While Darwin is pretty walkable and cycling is one of the most popular means of transport in the city, Darwin also offers public transport by bus, ferry, and taxi.
Public buses in Darwin run 7 days a week and can take you around the city and outer suburbs. $3 will get you unlimited bus travel for 3 hours.
Darwin has 2 ferry services that operate daily – one from Darwin Harbour, from between Cullen Bay and Mandorah, and the other from Darwin Harbour to the Tiwi Islands.
Taxis are aplenty in Darwin – particularly in busy areas such as dining precincts and shopping centres. You can also order one online or by phone call wherever you are in Darwin.
Make your move to Darwin a little easier with these 10 tips.