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With a population of just 70,000, Darwin may be the capital of Australia's Northern Territory but has also the feel of a large country town in the tropics. It has a very cosmopolitan population of people of European, Aborigine and Asian descent.
Some of the features of interest for tourists include:
Government House: Built in 1883, this building is a good example of elegant tropical colonial architecture which has been damaged by many cyclones but has been restored each time to survive until the present day.
Botanic Gardens: An excellent collection of tropical plants including palms and has an interesting Aboriginal Plant Use walk.
Australian Pearling Exhibition: A colorful history of the pearling industry in Darwin and northern Australia.
Fannie Bay Gaol Museum: This building served as Darwin's prison for almost a century until 1979 and you can visit the grim cells which housed the prisoners. Fanny Bay Gaol's cells and gallows (last used in 1952) are open for inspection.
Crocodylus Park: A fantastic collection of crocodiles. You can see these massive mammals very close up -- just on the other side of the fence! The crocodiles emerge from the water at feeding times (several times a day) when pieces of meat are dangled over the edge of their fenced-off areas. Crocodylus Park is also a research institution and has been in the forefront of movement to preserve crocodiles in the wild and their natural habitat.
Stokes Hill Wharf: This wharf is one of Australia's most northern and, as such, is often visited by naval, customs and quarantine vessels. It also has some excellent seafood restaurants. It is a great place for a quiet afternoon beer, a good spot for fishing and a great location to view the dramatic tropical storms that come to Darwin as the wet season approaches.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets: A couple of nights a week during the dry season, you can visit these markets and taste the food of dozens of countries and enjoy music and other entertainments. You can also sit on the nearby Mindil Beach and enjoy watching the sun slip into the Arafura Sea.
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)