Darwin, population around 87 000, lies in Larrakia country. The Port of Darwin was named after Sir Charles Darwin before he published his theory Origin of the Species twenty years later. Teeming with unique and ancient species of birds, plants, reptiles and mammals it seemed only appropriate that the regions capital city be named after Darwin.
Darwin has been devastated twice in its history - first during World War II by Japanese bombs and second in 1974 by Cyclone Tracy. Since the rebuilding Darwin has prospered from tourism and mineral wealth. The Palmerston, Darwin Town Hall did not survive and its ruins can be seen opposite the oldest surviving building in Darwin, which was built in 1883 and is now home to the Darwin Theatre Company.
Darwin has a spacious, ordered feel to it thanks to the wide streets, low buildings and expansive, manicured lawns. The citys tropical chaos is created where streets give way to mangrove estuaries, brightly coloured foliage and huge ocean tides. Darwin is about the size of a large country town but with all the facilities of a major city.
Facing west to the bay of Port Darwin is the Esplanade which displays incomparable sunsets. Large international hotels and some lovely old tropical style houses face the bay while joggers, power walkers and leisurely walkers make the most of extensive walk trails. The walk trails have brilliant views from many lookout points and a series of memorial sites, several commemorating World War II.
Aquascene is at the northern end of the Esplanade where hundreds of fish of a variety of species gather to be handfed. Catfish, diamond-scaled mullet, milkfish, Estuary rock cod, teira bat fish, common shovel nosed ray and toad fish all come in - most close enough to touch.
See Old Admiralty House, built in 1937 - this design became the benchmark for housing in the Top End for at least two decades.
Lyons Cottages, built in 1925 to house staff from the British and Australian Telegraph Company, now houses a museum with exhibits on the history of Darwin.
At the southern end of the Esplanade are Darwins official buildings - Parliament House, Northern Territory Library, Overland Telegraph Memorial, Government House and the Old Police Station and Courthouse.
The Supreme Court is also found in this precinct and its foyer features an extraordinary floor mosaic designed by Aboriginal artist, Nora Napaltijari.
Stokes Hill Wharf precinct stretches out from the southern end of the city centre. Food outlets, a pearl store, bar and restaurant has made the wharf a popular leisure area although this wharf is not as developed as many others in Australia.
Survivors Lookout marks the location where the battles of World War II were witnessed by journalists and photographers.
Nearby are the World War II oil storage tunnels where oil was stored after the Japanese bombed the above ground storage site. One tunnel is open to the public featuring photographs and stories of the war years.
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