Darwin YHA

Darwin YHA

Darwin YHA


Located only a few hundred metres away from the heart of Darwin’s nightlife, Darwin YHA gives you the convenience and affordability of an inner city hostel while still providing a quite place to rest your head.


Unlike the hostels further down Mitchell Street, Darwin YHA is not a rowdy party hostel – even though they have a public bar adjoining their building!  The Darwin YHA is a former motel that was converted to a hostel around seven years ago and has a friendly atmosphere that caters for guests of all ages.



There are 168 beds available, with mixed or single sex dorms containing either four or six beds, as well a private double and family rooms.  Each room has air conditioning, a fridge and an ensuite, instead of a large shared bathroom.


The communal areas include a cosy kitchen and large outdoor BBQ area with lots of seating, a swimming pool surrounded by sun chairs and a dedicated TV room.  There is also wifi available, off-street parking and a well equipped laundry room.


The Dry Season is the best time to visit Darwin, so don’t be surprised if the Darwin YHA gets super busy during this time.  Book ahead to ensure you get a bed or come a little earlier in April.  Carolyn and her team at Darwin YHA also run social events (BBQs, etc) during the Dry Season and are more than happy to help you arrange tours and day trips.




To the South

Bus stop – 200m – Darwin’s public transport system is a network of buses that run from Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston interchanges to service Greater Darwin and some rural areas.  For more information on bus times and routes, visit http://www.transport.nt.gov.au/public/bus/darwin

Fox Ale House – 220m – This is a great spot for a cheap feed and late night live music on the weekend.

Ducks Nuts – 220m – across the road from the Fox Ale House, Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill is a favourite amongst the locals and tourists.  It’s great for breakfast and coffee, and if you feel like dressing up and dancing when the sun goes down, there is a vodka bar at the back.

Crocosaurus Cove – 400m – an absolute must see destination when in Darwin. Experience of a lifetime!

Shennanigans – 450m – this is a great drinking location with awesome trivia on Tuesday nights.  Try the Sweet Potato Salad or Chicken Parmigiana.

Waterfront Precinct – 1.5km – with a great selection of pubs and restaurants, the Waterfront is a great place to spend your Sunday afternoon.  Have a picnic next to the Recreation Lagoon or have a dip in the Wave Lagoon.

Deckchair Cinema – 2km – another great attraction that is open during the Dry Season, the Deckchair Cinema is a great way to relax while enjoying a movie under the stars.



To the North

Aquascene –550m – this attraction relies on the tides so check their website for fish feeding sessions. The gardens are wonderful as well.

Nirvana – 700m – one of Darwin’s popular destinations for food and live entertainment. http://www.nirvanarestaurantdarwin.com/default.html

Mindil Beach – 2km – during the Dry Season, enjoy the Mindil Beach Markets on Thursday and Sunday nights.  Territory Day, the Beer Can Regatta and various cultural events are also celebrated at Mindil Beach.


Tours are also available to Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve.



Darwin YHA is located at 97 Mitchell Street in Darwin city.  Reception is open from 6am to 10pm – to make a booking, visit the YHA Australia website: http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nt/darwin-surrounds/darwin-yha-backpackers-hostel/


Phone: (+618) 8981 5385

Email: darwin@yha.com.au


Darwin YHA

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The Waterfront

City Profile : Darwin

Sunset at East Point


When we arrived in Darwin back in June 2013, we were exhausted.  We had just driven through the Kimberley and broken down on the road towards the Bungle Bungles and we were looking forward to spending some time in a city.


Darwin was not what we expected.  The city is set among tropical bushland and it’s really small.  The CBD doesn’t have any skyscrapers, there is only one main shopping centre in the northern suburbs and the airport is right in the middle of everything. There is heaps of vegetation around town, consisting of banyan trees, palm trees, screw pines and frangipanis and every now and then you’ll see a water tower.  The people are totally laid back, with many of the inhabitants working in defence or the mining industry, and there’s a considerable percentage of pubs and taverns around town that offer free lunchtime strip shows.



There is heaps of wildlife around town.  Green tree frogs, asian house geckos and tata lizards that are regular house guests, and you might even see the occasional python hanging around. Frilled neck lizard reserves are common and if you stick around long enough you’re bound to see one.  Nearly every resident has a dog for security and nearly every dog still has their balls.


In the 10 months that we have been in Darwin, we’ve lived at four addresses, worked a variety of jobs and experienced the Wet Season, the Dry Season and the Build up.  When the time comes for us to pack up and continue on our journey, it’ll be like leaving home all over again.



  • Darwin is the smallest and most northerly Australian capital but is one of the fastest growing cities.
  • The population is around 130,000 people, but this doubles during the Dry Season.
  • Darwin participates in gas and oil production, the mining industry, and tropical horticulture, and the Port of Darwin is the main outlet for Australia’s live cattle export trade into Southeast Asia.
  • There are two seasons in tropical Darwin – the stinking hot, sticky and sweaty wet season and the mild and balmy Dry season.  The lightning storms of the wet season are spectacular and the average temperature during the year is around 30°C so stick to shorts, singlets and t-shirts during your visit – there is no need for pants or jackets… ever.
  • There are a few aboriginal communities within the metropolitan area.  While you generally don’t enter the communities out of respect, occasionally they’ll have festivals and invite people to come in for tours.






The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the land and lived in the greater Darwin region before European settlement.  They lived alongside the settlement and gave them food but many died of disease or were pushed away to camps on the outskirts of the city.  After much struggle and adjustment, the Larrakia people prevailed and today they have an active role in the community and their nation is 2000 strong.


The Dutch were the first Europeans to swing past the area, but it wasn’t until 1839 during the second voyage of the HMS Beagle that a little colony got started.  The first officer of the Beagle named the port after his buddy, Charles Darwin, who sailed with them on the Beagle’s first voyage in 1836, but the settlement was established as Palmerston in 1869.  After a gold rush in Pine Creek in 1870, the population of the colony more than doubled from 135 to 300 and when the NT was transferred under federal administration in 1911, it was renamed Darwin, but didn’t reach city status until 1959.


Darwin has been rebuilt twice.  The first time was after 1942 when the same Japanese warplanes that bombed Pearl Harbour attacked Darwin.  The town was severely damaged and 243 people were killed, but what the air raid showed was how close the World War got to Australia.


The second time Darwin had to be rebuilt was after Cyclone Tracy in 1974.  This category 3 storm hit on Christmas Eve, devastated the city, killed over 70 people and destroyed more than 70% of the buildings in Darwin.  Most of the population was evacuated to either Alice Springs, Adelaide or Sydney, and about 60% didn’t return.  After the cyclone, new building codes were put in place to construct houses that could withstand high winds and provide protection for the residents.


Cyclone Tracey Memorial



Darwin has all the typical attractions, such as the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and George Brown Botanical Gardens,  which is not only fantastic but totally free to enter, as well as a few special treats that you can’t find anywhere else.


Crocosaurus Cove

We cannot emphasise to you how awesome Crocosaurus Cove is.  Entry is a total bargain for the goodies inside and if you go on the Big Croc Feeding Experience with a guided tour, you’ll have a day that you’ll never forget.




You might think that feeding the fish sounds mundane but this place is really cool.  They have a great display of marble statues and pretty gardens.  While the majority of fish are diamondscale mullet, you might spot a shark or batfish.




Stokes Hill Wharf & Darwin Waterfront

The Darwin Waterfront is the equivalent of Docklands in Melbourne, but more frequently used.  The grassed area is a great place for a picnic or Sunday Session during the Dry Season and the surrounding restaurants are quite good.  The Darwin Convention Centre and Wave Lagoon are also nearby.


Stokes Hill Wharf is a short walk from the Waterfront and is a great platform for fishing.  At the end of the Wharf is a small plaza with some food outlets.  It has much historical significance as it bore the brunt of the Japanese bombing on the 19th of February 1942 – over 240 people died and many ships were sunk in the vicinity.




Territory Day

On July 1st, Territorians celebrate Territory Day.  There’s quite a build-up to the event, with fireworks for sale on nearly every corner!  It’s not a public holiday (yet) and in the evenings, everyone floods to Mindil Beach for the markets and food stalls, and to watch the amazing firework show on the shore.


Territory Day


Fireworks continue through the night as everyone lets off their crackers.  We found a quiet place next to Port Darwin to let off our fireworks while others let theirs off in their front garden or on the street.  Spot fires arose throughout the city and evidence of the madness showed the morning after.


Beer Can Regatta

Possibly the most Territorian event other than Territory Day, the Beer Can Regatta is a great opportunity to let your love for beer shine.  Mindil Beach is flooded with tourists and locals for the markets, the food and the activities on the shore.  We spent the day on the Grogmonster and watched the beer can boat race.



Noonamah Rodeo

If bull riding, motorbike jumps and bucking broncos is your thing, the Noonamah Rodeo is definitely worth a look.  There are plenty of interesting characters to watch too, heaps of food stalls and overpriced beer, and the atmosphere is true country.


Won't give up without a fight - Noonamah Rodeo


Ethnic Community Events

Darwin is very multicultural and during the Dry Season, they hold many cultural festivals.  India@Mindil was very colourful with dance performances and plenty of delicious foods to try.  The Cyprus Festival was also orientated around food and dance.  Both of these events were free.



Hoon Events

The Hidden Valley Raceway is a popular spot to unleash your inner bogan.  They’ve got drag races, burnouts, motocross, supercars and it is the starting line of the Australia Day Ute Run.


Hidden Valley Drags


The All Ford Day was also on while we were in Darwin and there was a great display of both old and new cars.  Juz got the opportunity to take a seat in one of the drag cars for the Beat the Heat Off Street drag racing event.






Darwin is a market haven.  Between Thursday and Sunday during the Dry Season, there are about 5 or 6 different markets that you can go to, and each offers something a little different.  If you’re after a decent feed, you can’t do much better for value than at the markets.  A large tub of curry can be as cheap as $10 or prepare to pay about $7 for a bowl of delicious chicken wonton soup.


Mindil Markets




Even though we lived 15 minutes away from Shenannigans, it was our local.  We’d go there every week to have dinner and play trivia.  The menu is awesome and has all the regular pub meals like steak and chicken parmigiana, yummy salads and a few goodies like the Territory grill and chicken supreme.  The prices are awesome too and if you’re not that hungry, you could just grab a side of spiced crocodile or a bowl of beef chilli for $5.



Tasty Vietnamese and south east asian food on the Waterfront, Chow! is fully licenced and has some awesome cocktails on the menu.




Yotz Greek Taverna

Dave took Juz here for her 30th Birthday dinner and it blew her socks off.  Even though it’s quite fancy and pricy, we dined right next to the Cullen Bay marina and the moussaka was to die for.


Tim’s Surf & Turf

If you love an outrageous amount of fried food piled up on your place, you’ll love Tim’s Surf and Turf.  The portion sizes are horrifying but the food tastes great and they have a magician that wafts from table to table performing nifty card tricks.




Darwinbus is the only public transport network that operates in Darwin and has services that run between the city, Casuarina and Palmerston interchanges, as well as a few rural locations.  While most of the services run 7 days a week, they’re not regular and may only have 2 services in the morning and another 2 or 3 runs after work, so if you miss your bus, you’re walking!



Tourism Top End Information Centre – 6 Bennett Street, Darwin, Phone: 1300 138 886

Darwin YHA – 97 Mitchell Street, Darwin, Phone: 08 8981 5385




Anniversary Weekend

Relationships : Our 5 Year Celebration

We celebrated five years together in November.  It feels like it’s all we’ve known but at the same time, it has gone so fast.  We were happy to achieve this milestone while in Darwin and made an extra special weekend of it.


Dave had his first day at his new office job on the Thursday.  Juz wrote a nice poem that told the story of our relationship over the years and picked up some delicious baked goods on the way home.  Dinner was a 24hr slow cooked pork roast before we headed into the city to watch Mystery Road at the Deckchair Cinema.


Anniversary Weekend - Deckchair Cinema


After work on Friday, Dave presented Juz with a beautiful bunch of flowers with a cute card full of sweet words before we drove into the city and checked in at Quest Apartments.  We had a mini pub crawl, stopping at The Cav on our way to the Waterfront.  We had dinner at Fiddler’s Green and some final drinks at The Precinct.  Dave’s schooner of Prickly Moses Black Stallion blew our socks off and the alcohol content knocked us on our arses so we walked back to the hotel as soon as the glass was empty.



On Saturday, we had breakfast at the Roma Bar before attending a morning fish-feeding session at Aquascene.  Later on, we met up with a few members of the Darwin Social Club at The Deck Bar and as the night progressed, we ended up at the Fox Hotel for more drinks and to listen to a musician who was playing all the right songs.  Waking up on Sunday was a bit of a struggle, but we managed to get down to the Waterfront for breakfast at Fiddler’s Green before packing up and going home.



Over the last five years, we’ve learnt a lot about ourselves, each other and about relationships in general.  Gaining perspective from other couples can be handy but at the same time, it’s important to remember that your relationship is just as unique as a fingerprint, and no two relationships are the same.  Here are a few things we’ve learnt along the way.


 1.  Make the decision to love each other or not

A relationship is work – there are going to be highs and lows, and things about the other person that will give you the shits, but only you can decide whether you want to love this person or not.


Love perfectly


 2.  Remove expectation

If you put too much expectation on someone, it can lead to serious disappointment.  Don’t expect them to be a mind reader, tell them what you want.




 3.  Giving is better than receiving

You get out what you put in.  Love, support, security – feed your relationship with the good stuff and it will grow healthily.




 4.  Freedom is oxygen for the soul

Nobody likes to feel like they’re trapped or suffocated.  Give the other person time alone so they can nurture themselves.  Living in each other’s pocket can cause you to forget who you are.




 5.  Don’t compare your relationship to others

Everyone is different and relationships are a combination of two different elements.  No two relationships will ever be the same so don’t feel sad when you notice that your partner doesn’t do something that you thought was endearing in another’s partner.






Attractions : Aquascene




There is a place in Darwin where you can pay to feed the fish. Not like throwing bread off a jetty, but more like feeding the kangaroos in a wildlife park.



Feeding fish may not sound like a riveting way to spend Saturday morning but the tide was up and it was something on our list of things to do in Darwin.  The first thing we noticed as we approached the gates was the enormous marble statue of a fish in the surf.  It wasn’t the only statue there – there were statues of Charles Darwin and explorer John Stuart, sirens, dolphins, monkeys and happy buddhas.  The lovely ladies at the register told us that they are imported from South East Asia and we wondered how much it cost to bring the giant marble fish to Australia.



We paid $15 each to enter the fish feeding arena.  There were heaps of families with kids, as well as a few older folk sitting on their own and peacefully watching the fish.  Aquascene provide trays full of bread scraps, so when you arrive, you just grab a few slices and start throwing pieces into the water.



There are lots of fish.  Most are diamondscale mullet, but there are a few catfish and round batfish, and we saw a shovel nose ray and sting ray in the shallows.  There is a ramp that leads into the water so you can have fish swim around your ankles.  The surrounding statues and garden provide a peaceful atmosphere.


Location: 28 Doctors Gully Road, Dawrin

Phone: 08 8981 7837

Website: http://aquascene.com.au/



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