Nightcliff Jetty, DarwinNightcliff Jetty, Darwin

Darwin in The Dry

Images: Shutterstock

Northern Territory: If you had to pick a favourite out of the Top End’s two seasons, most people would choose The Dry. The Wet has its own appeal: you might love the spectacle of afternoon thunderstorms rolling in. But it’s Darwin in The Dry (May–October), with its clear blue skies, balmy nights and 20°C to 33°C temperatures, that really shines.

When the Dry arrives, Territorians kick up their heels (not that they every really need an excuse to do that). Calendars fill as Darwin transforms into a city replete with festivals, events and colourful experiences - many on the same day or week and all deliciously fun and social.

One of the first cabs off the rank is the Darwin International Film Festival, with a unique focus on South-East Asian cinema, Northern Australia and Indigenous stories. Held in two parts this year, it kicks off in May when all the stuff put on hold in 2020 will get a showing. In September, it will be back with its popular deckchair cinema and outdoor screenings accompanied by splendid sunsets and the occasional friendly possum.

The Merlin Darwin Triple Crown returns to Hidden Valley in June with adrenaline-pumping motorsport including the Supercars Championship, superbikes and super trucks. Music legend Bernard Fanning will headline the post-race concert.

Make a splash at Darwin’s newest aquatic attraction, Aqua Park, an inflatable obstacle course for young and old alike (children must be over six). It’s on the Darwin Waterfront, where you’ll also find a Wave Lagoon, parks, shops, restaurants and pubs. 

In July, Darwin Fringe Festival, a community arts festival with bite, paves the way for hot August nights. From August 5 to 22, Darwin Festival demonstrates loudly and proudly that Darwin is the beating heart of First Nations culture. Its huge program of experiences and events shines a spotlight on indigenous music, art and fashion. 

Free in the Botanic Gardens’ amphitheatre on the festival’s opening night is Buŋgul, a celebration of Gurrumul’s final album, Djarrimirri (Child of the Rainbow). Created on country in North East Arnhem Land, it will feature live performances by Yolŋu dancers, songmen and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra.

The Dry is a perfect time to explore Darwin on foot. During the annual Street Art Festival in September, you’ll see artists from around the country transform the streets into a giant art gallery. Until October, keep an eye out for illuminated lightboxes created by talented artists ranging in age from 12 to 24.

Darwin’s jam-packed events calendar offers a bright note in a Covid world, but the passion and creativity of these young artists suggests the city’s future will be even brighter.

Where to Stay

This Darwin Waterfront leisure precinct is a short walk from the relaxed and friendly Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront and Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront. If you’re thinking of settling in for the long haul, Adina’s serviced apartments and studio rooms are perfect for both short and long-term stays. Both hotels are close to the CBD.

In the heart of the CBD but still close to the waterfront, the family-friendly Travelodge Resort Darwin has been completely transformed with new Dreamcatcher beds, smart TVs and a bold new look that captures the laidback essence of the Top End. This urban oasis has two swimming pools, a waterfall and expansive tropical gardens surrounding its rooms and self-contained townhouses. The latter boast new kitchens, washing machines and dryers. Did we suggest settling in for the long haul?

Peace of mind when you stay with us: Introducing Clean Touch.

*Activities listed may be subject to Covid restrictions.

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