Dry Season in Darwin

The dry season has arrived in Darwin and fun events are filling up the calendar! The Mindil Sunset Markets are held twice a week and we’ve had a few wonderful one-off events like the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival and an Opera Gala with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra on the Darwin Waterfront. The wet season afternoon tropical downpours have stopped and the oppressive humidity has significantly reduced. What a relief! The early mornings are gently cool and the evenings are the perfect temperature for a stroll.

A few weeks ago, the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival was held and it stretched along the striking Nightcliff coastline. It was stunning to see the colourful coastline and feel the ocean breeze as we perused the food stalls and watched local performers on multiple stages. It’s really heart-warming to see a lovely community events where you can see a diverse cross-section of the Darwin community enjoying themselves.  This cross-section includes the whole bunch of happy dogs in attendance too!


Nightcliff Colourful Rocky Coastline

We made a yummy food discovery during this festival. It must be a Darwin creation! It’s the roti wrap. We had the beef rendang wrap. Tender, flavourful beef rendang, crunchy fresh carrot slivers, satay sauce all wrapped up in a giant roti paratha. It was filling, tasty and portable. Perfect festival food! (Sorry, too busy eating for a photo!)

Tree Roots

Tree with Exposed Roots

Check out this picture of a tree on the Nightcliff coastline. How often do you feel like that in life? Like the very roots anchoring you have become exposed and you may collapse into the crashing waves and rocks below. I have to return to this spot. I think the tree is probably still standing straight and tall because it’s roots actually go much deeper and it can withstand much more. (I hope so anyway, to make my life analogy more inspiring!)

Last night, we had a magical evening of opera under the moon and stars at the Darwin Waterfront and only for the cost of a gold coin donation. Some of the big names from Australia’s Opera community sang some operatic highlights whilst accompanied by the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. What a cultured event made totally accessible to the average person!  Nothing better than laying on a picnic blanket with a few delectable nibbles and being treated to a display of amazing musical talent. To put the cherry on top, there was a glorious fireworks display to finish off! What a great event!

Darwin Symphony Orchestra at the Darwin Waterfront

Darwin Symphony Orchestra at the Darwin Waterfront

People relaxing with their picnics ready to watch an Opera Gala.

People relaxing with their picnics ready to watch an Opera Gala.

Twice a week in the dry season, the Mindil Sunset Markets are open and the best thing about them in my opinion is the Sunset Oyster Bar. You can get a dozen natural oysters for only $20 and oysters with all kinds of delicious toppings for a tiny bit more. They’re such an indulgence and so good! I might go again tonight just for the oysters!

There are lots of other aspects of the Mindil Sunset markets which are lovely. The stalls are lined up under a whole bunch of big, green, shady trees. When you get your delicious food from the stall, you can cut through the dune and sit on the beach or you can lay your picnic rug down on the grassed area and consume your delicious finds whilst listening to some local performers. If you are looking for an unusual souvenir, this is the place! There are lots of interesting, unusual and unique things to buy. It’s pretty crowded but that’s sign of how good it is. Locals and tourists rub shoulders and enjoy the evening together in this relaxing location.

Cute little Dutch Pancakes on the BBQ

Cute little Dutch Pancakes on the BBQ


Colourful Paintings at Mindil Markets


Picnic at Mindil Markets under the Trees


Peruse the stalls in the shade of green leafy trees.


Beach Volleyball on Mindil Beach


Jerky made from all kinds of exotic animals!

Blue Extraction Fan

This blue extraction fan sucks the smoke from the spit roasting meats below and direct it to the leafy tree canopy.

Croc Hot Dog

Crocodile Hot Dog anyone?


You can even try out your new whip at the market!


Didgeridoo display


Interesting, colourful jewellery


Parap and Nightcliff Markets in Darwin

Markets galore! It’s the wet season in Darwin yet there are still a number of awesome markets to visit in Darwin. Yes, you will be drenched in sweat when you finish visiting them but hopefully you will also have a big smile on your face!

This weekend, I visited 3 markets. Parap Markets operate on Saturday morning while Nightcliff and Rapid Creek Markets run on a Sunday morning. My favourite markets for value and Asian fresh produce is definitely Rapid Creek Markets. Nightciff Markets has a lot of stalls selling homemade gifts and plants. A great choice when looking for an interesting one-of-a-kind gift. Parap markets has a good mix of fresh produce, cooked food and gifts. Plus it has the advantage of being the closest to the Darwin CBD.

This week’s market haul included some rambutans and mangoes, a sweet basil plant, freshly made paw paw salad (medium spicy!), a huge local pineapple, kangkung (river spinach), a range of glutinous rice Asian sweets, bananas and my unidentified vegetable of the week, a luffa! A luffa or loofah is a vegetable from the same family as the cucumber. When young, it can eaten as a vegetable and when the fruit is old, it becomes dried out and fibrous and can be used as a scrubbing sponge.

Here are some pictures from Parap and Nightcliff markets!


Parap Markets – Fruit smoothie stall


Parap markets – Stubby holder to keep your wine cool!


Parap markets – range of Asian sweets.


Parap markets – Coffee stall


Parap Markets – Chicken Laksa


Parap Markets – Cambodian rice balls, Asian sweets


Nightcliff Markets – Plants for sale


Nightcliff markets – Fresh produce for sale


Nightcliff Markets – Stall selling souvenirs and salt!


Nightcliff Markets – Fruit for sale


Nightcliff markets – Fruit for smoothies


Nightcliff market – Dresses for sale.


Rapid Creek Markets in Darwin

I’m always on the look out for the fresh and cheap places to buy fruits and vegetables wherever I am. This morning I headed off to the Sunday morning Rapid Creek Markets in Darwin.

I was thrilled to find a busy market full of shoppers and stalls. This is a proper food market for the locals. Not a tourist market you so often see around the world, selling the same commercialised, overpriced items. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables at very reasonable prices. The focus is predominantly on Asian produce. There were lots of herbs, greens and vegetables that I could not identify. Coming home and Googling has not been fruitful so I’ll just have to go back to ask their names and buy some to try these weird and wonderful things for myself!


Vegetables for Sale at Rapid Creek Market


Lemons and Limes for Sale


Vegies for Sale at Rapid Creek Market


Fruits for Sale at Rapid Creek Market

In addition to the fresh fruit and vege, there were lot stalls selling Asian goodies both savoury and sweet. There were stalls that would make fresh fruit juices and smoothies. Other stalls selling savoury Asian dishes, either pre-made or cooked in front of you. I bought some interesting looking steamed glutinous rice packages. There were numerous other Asian sweets on offer as well. Some of the other weird and wonderful vegetables on sale include Kaffir limes, tiny chillies, pea eggplants, kangkung, four angled beans, bitter gourd, bitter melon and much, much more. There was even a store selling Tau Foo Fah (soybean custard) and Nian Gao, the sweet, sticky rice cake traditionally made at Chinese New Year time.


Fresh Fruit Smoothie Stall


A Collection of Asian Sweets for Sale


Black Sticky Rice for Sale


Sticky Rice Packages with Banana and Black Beans


Thai Food Stall at Rapid Creek Market


Indonesian and Malaysian Cuisine Food Stall


Paw Paw Salad Freshly Made in a Mortar and Pestle

This lady made my paw paw salad fresh as I waited using her mortar and pestle. She asked me if I wanted it spicy and I said “yes!” She got a crazy gleam in her eye as she smiled in acknowledgement and I knew instantly I’d probably regret it! The salad was very fresh and very tasty but VERY spicy, TOO spicy! Next time, I’ll have to swallow my pride and ask for it, less spicy!

The humidity of Darwin’s wet season means I’m sweaty and hot but I’m happy. Nothing like bags of cheap and fresh produce to put me in a good mood and carrying my loot home, I’m feeling great and looking forwards to my Darwin adventure!