To us Darwin really has two faces. Flying in from Europe the town is nothing to write home about. A rather small place with no real attraction. But leaving Darwin and coming back totally changed our minds. Once you discover the remoteness and rural beauty of the Northern Territory, Darwin is a splendid oasis and booming city in the middle of nowhere.
Darwin itself is a fast growing city but we might have caught it on the wrong foot right from the beginning. After a long flight we were not only suffering from jetlag but got sick and both were tied to bed for no less than a week. We abandoned all plans of getting organized and buying a car and instead, focused on gaining enough strength to make it to a store and buy some food once in a while.
Being back on our feet the search for a suitable vehicle took us around the whole town. In Darwin most backpackers stay in one of the many hostels along Mitchell Street. Surrounded by shops, bars and clubs there is no reason to leave this area but once you know where to go, Darwin has all you are asking for and beyond. Even on the most luxury site this little town will manage to suite all your needs.
After a couple of days we were really looking forward to leave the town. We met nice people and enjoyed the sunset market on Mindil Beach but just couldn’t wait to start our travels through the Nothern Territory and Western Australia.
It took another week before we found a car. We decided to buy an old Toyota Landcruiser, well advanced in years and kilometers. 4WD, high clearance, low fuel consumption and enough room to sleep the two of us, what else could we be asking for?
After two days of intense preperations and cleanig our new car we left Darwin and set for the Kakadu National Park. A couple of days later we were to met up with Anitas brother in Darwin again. We thought we could as well make use of the spare time and take a first glance at the natural beauty of the Northern Territory.
Coming back to Darwin after a few days in the woods is where we got to know the other side of the town. The Nothern Territory is a remote place with only two seasons, it’s either wet or dry. In the wet season it is hot and humid, in the dry everything is covered in red dust. Either way you feel like taking a shower at least 10 times a day. The outback provides no sort of luxury, no water, no showers, no cold drinks and once you get into one of the few small towns food and fuel will cost more than you want to spend.
Being the capital of the Northern Territory Darwin really fulfills its role. A hot shower and a cold drink never felt that good and stocking up on food and fuel was expensive but affordable. Taking into account how far Darwin is off the beaten track, how rural the Northern Territory still is today, the town really deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns and Brisbane.