Perched on the north-west coast of the "Top End" of the Northern Territory, geographically closer to Indonesia than to any major Australian cities, Darwin is laid back and cosmopolitan, home to an eclectic mix of people, many of whom allegedly came for a short visit and never left. And who can blame them?

Essentially a large town, the Northern Territory's capital is compact and friendly, with plenty to entertain the visitor within the city itself and a wealth of attractions nearby. Its northern location lends it a tropical climate, which is probably what accounts for the easy-going attitude of the locals.

More-or-less flattened by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the city centre is predominantly modern, with some surprisingly stylish architecture, such as the imposing Parliament House, designed on the basis of a classical Greek structure with a modern twist.

The water is the main focal point of the city, the lively Wharf area, lined with restaurants and bars, providing a popular outdoor venue for eating or just chilling out with a cool beer. In the evening, regular cruises take visitors out from the harbour to watch the breathtaking sunset.

Further afield, the stunning waterfalls and tropical rainforest of Litchfield National Park provide a welcome respite from the bustle of the city. Even more remote are the Tiwi islands, lying just off the north coast, which are culturally unique, but with a definite Asian flavour.

Darwin is well worth a visit for those seeking a laid back holiday in a culturally diverse city.

Stokes Hill Wharf
World War II Oil Storage Tunnels
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
Cullen Bay Marina
Harbour cruises
Cyclone Tracy Memorial at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral
Mindil Beach Market
Bathurst Island
Parliament House
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