Darwin is Australia's fastest-growing capital city and the city with the youngest population. Its history of frontierism, gold prospecting and war (it was a major military base for troops fighting the war in the Pacific) gives it a unique cultural heritage. Today, more than 50 nationalities share an easy-going lifestyle in this cosmopolitan city. 

Darwin might just be the ultimate budget-break destination. There is so much about Darwin that's not about spending money. Take cheap flights to Darwin during the wet season and nature puts on its own show. Watching the sky turn indigo and storms roll in over the harbour, basking under the flaming gold skies at sunset, oohing at the spectactular lightning shows or aahing at the sound frogs croaking late into the night - all are wonderful and free. 

It's also an excellent base to explore the nearby World Heritage-listed lands - Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land. 

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Darwin climate

For travellers planning on taking cheap flights to Darwin, heat and humidity are the defining characteristics of this part of the Northern Territory's tropical climate. The average year-round temperature is 32 degrees. There are two seasons. The dry season runs from April/May to September/October and has warm, sunny days and cool nights. The wet season starts at the end of the year and gets wetter and wetter - the months of January, February and March are when most rain falls.

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When to fly to Darwin

Peak Season:

The dry season - April/May through September/October - is when most travellers book cheap flights to Darwin. The middle of the dry season is particularly busy. This is when schools are out and families holiday in the region. 

Off Season:

January, February and March are, in general, the off-peak season. This is the wettest time of the year and there's also a good chance of cyclones and floods. However, many consider this the best time to see Darwin. With the rains, the earth bursts into life. Flowers and plants bloom, animals mate and rivers fill up and run off onto teeming waterfalls.

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Getting into town Darwin

There are several car rental companies represented at Darwin International Airport including Avis, Hertz and Thrifty. A Shuttle Bus travels between the airport and hotels in Darwin city. Return fares cost about $20. Bus/coach charters are also available. Travellers who have stepped off their cheap flights to Darwin can pick up a taxi from the taxi rank in front of the Terminal building. Fares to the Darwin CBD cost about $30.

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Getting around Darwin

It has often been said that Darwin is the only capital city in the country where you can cross the main street blindfolded at any time of the day. Visitors who have arrived on cheap flights to Darwin will discover that much of it is small enough to walk or bike around. Driving around Darwin is easy too. The layout is simple, traffic is generally light and parking is plentiful. There is a tourist bus called the Tour Tub that stops off at Darwin's ten major destinations including Fannie Bay Gaol, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Indo Pacific Marine and the Australian Pearling Exhibition. Public bus is reliable, comprehensive and affordable. Fares are about $2.

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Darwin insider information

  • Darwin Crocodile Farm is close to the city. It's Australia's largest crocodile farm with 36,000 animals. Snowy, the world's largest albino crocodile in captivity, calls it home. After you've seen the crocs you could ... eat one. There's a kiosk at the farm that sells delicious burgers.
  • Markets? Darwin has several; perfect places to pick up a souvenir or a snack. Nightcliff Market in the Nightcliff Shopping Centre is on Sundays between 8am and 2pm. The Rapid Creek Sunday Market is Darwin's oldest market and operates every Sunday from 7am to 1pm. The Parap Village Market (at Parap Village Shopping Precinct off Parap Road) is on every Saturday between 8am and 2pm. Most attractive of all, the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets take place every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season (May to October). Bring your own tables, chairs and alcohol and sample cuisine from more than 20 countries. Entertainment is provided by the busking musicians, tarot card readers and street performers.
  • If you are planning on taking cheap flights to Darwin during the dry season leave a night free to watch a movie. Deckchair Cinema is Darwin's only independent cinema and it takes place under the stars between April and November. Choose a seat from 250 deckchairs and 100 straight-backed seats. Bringing an extra cushion or two will make your evening even more comfortable.
  • Feed the fish at Doctors Gully, close to the Esplanade. Milkfish, mullet, catfish, bream and batfish will tickle your fingers as they take bread from your hand.

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Darwin airports

Darwin International Airport (DRW) (website: www.darwin-airport.com.au) The airport is situated 13km northeast of Darwin.

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Kara Segedin
Writer, traveller, Tweeter, blogger and part-time adventurer. A kiwi living in London off to explore the world! I can never travel enough!
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    In-flight reading

    The Diary of Emily Caroline Creaghe, Explorer

    Emily Caroline Creaghe, edited by Peter Monteath "We are now in unexplored country where no white man has been before, so it is uncertain when we may see water again," wrote Creaghe in 1883. The only woman on an expedition to the NT, her diary tells of the challenges the party faced.

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