The city of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, presides loftily over the top end of Australia. Set on a rocky peninsula that stretches into one of the most beautiful natural harbours on the north Australian coast, the city is surrounded by water on three sides, which allows it to be fanned by cool breezes that temper the tropical heat and humidity of its climate.
Darwin has survived destruction three times: the city was hit by a cyclone in 1893; it was then bombed by the Japanese in 1942 during World War II; and more recently, in 1974, Cyclone Tracy levelled the city on Christmas Eve. It is a tribute to the pioneering spirit of its cosmopolitan population of 87,000 that it has not only overcome these calamities, but gone on to thrive.
The city is compact, and the areas of most interest to tourists are easy to explore on foot. The tropical climate encourages outdoor living and simply strolling through the leafy streets, browsing art galleries and enjoying refreshments at sidewalk cafes, is a pleasure for visitors. Shady parks can be found behind busy shopping streets and are a delight with exotic flowering trees like frangipani, banyan and tamarind.
Darwin is a youthful, tropical city, small enough to feel friendly and relaxed, and a great travel hub for exploring the incredible natural wonders on the city's doorstep.