Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin is the largest city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, with a population of 136,245. It is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End's regional centre. Darwin was originally a pioneer outpost.
Darwin's proximity to South East Asia makes it an important Australian gateway to countries such as Indonesia andEast Timor. The Stuart Highway begins in Darwin, ending at Port Augusta in South Australia. The city itself is built on a low bluff overlooking the harbour. Its suburbs spread out over some area, beginning at Lee Point in the north and stretching to Berrimah in the east. Past Berrimah, the Stuart Highway goes on to Darwin's satellite city, Palmerston, and its suburbs. The region, like the rest of the Top End, has a tropical climate, with a wet and a dry season. The city is noted for its consistently warm to hot climate, all throughout the year. Prone to cyclone activity during the wet season, Darwin experiences heavy monsoonal downpours and spectacular lightning shows. During the dry season, the city is met with blue skies and gentle sea breezes from the picturesque harbour.
The greater Darwin area is the ancestral home of the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its surveying of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region "Port Darwin" in honour of their former shipmate Charles Darwin, who had sailed with them on the ship's previous voyage which had ended in October 1836. The settlement there became the town of Palmerston in 1869, and was renamed Darwin in 1911.Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II, and again after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the city is one of Australia's most modern capitals.
Overlooking the CBD viewed from West Lane carpark
Darwin lies in the Northern Territory, on the Timor Sea. The city proper occupies a low bluff overlooking Darwin Harbour, flanked by Frances Bay to the east and Cullen Bay to the west. The remainder of the city is flat and low-lying, and coastal areas are home to recreational reserves, extensive beaches, and excellent fishing.
Darwin is closer to the capitals of five other countries than to the capital of Australia: Darwin is 3,137 kilometres (1,949 mi) away from Canberra. Dili (East Timor) is 656 km (408 mi), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) is 1,818 km (1,130 mi),Jakarta (Indonesia) is 2,700 km (1,678 mi), Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) is 2,607 km (1,620 mi), and Melekeok (Palau) is 2,247 km (1,396 mi) from Darwin.
Even Malaysia and Singapore are only slightly farther away at 3,350 km (2,082 mi), as is Manila (Philippines) at 3,206 km (1,992 mi), and Honiara (Solomon Islands) at 3,198 km (1,987 mi). Ambon, Indonesia, is only 881 km (547 mi) away from Darwin.
Along with its importance as a gateway to Asia, Darwin also acts as an access point for the Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, and northerly islands such asGroote Eylandt and the Tiwi Islands. As the largest city in the area, it provides services for these remote settlements.
Events and festivals
On 1 July, Territorians celebrate Territory Day. This is the only day of the year, apart from the Chinese New Year, when fireworks are permitted. In Darwin, the main celebrations occur at Mindil Beach, where a large firework display is commissioned by the government.
Weekly markets include Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (Thursdays and Sundays during the dry season), Parap Markets ,Nightcliff Market and Rapid Creek market Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are very popular with locals and tourists alike and feature food, souvenirs, clothes and local performing artists.
The Darwin Festival held annually, includes comedy, dance, theatre, music, film and visual art and the NT Indigenous Music Awards. Other festivals include the Glenti, which showcases Darwin's large Greek community, and [email protected], a similar festival held by the smaller Indian community. The Chinese New Year is also celebrated with great festivity, highlighting the Asian influence in Darwin.
The Seabreeze festival, which first started in 2005, is held on the second week of May in the suburb of Nightcliff. It offers the opportunity for local talent to be showcased and a popular event is Saturday family festivities along the Nightcliff foreshore which is one of Darwin's most popular fitness tracks.
The Speargrass Festival is held annually the week prior to July's first full moon and celebrates the alternative Top Endlifestyle. The festival activities include music, screening of locally produced films, screen printing, basket weaving, sweat lodge, water slides, human pyramid, hot tub, frisbee golf, spear throwing, Kubb competition, bingo, communal organic cooking, morning yoga, meditation, greasy pig and healing circles. The festival occurs at the Speargrass property, 50 km (31 mi) northeast of Pine Creek.
The Darwin beer-can regatta, held in August, celebrates Darwin's love affair with beer and contestants' race boats made exclusively of beer cans. Also in Darwin during the month of August, are the Darwin Cup horse race, and the Rodeo andMud Crab Tying Competition.
The World Solar Challenge race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools. The race has a 20-year history spanning nine races, with the inaugural event taking place in 1987.