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Moving to Darwin: What you need to know



When you’re contemplating a relocation, whether it’s for work, family or just to shake things up, it’s important to familiarise yourself with your potential new home. If you’re thinking about a move up to the Top End of Australia, here’s what you’ll need to know before you head towards one of the warmest regions of Australia.

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, and the smallest state capital in Australia. Boasting a relatively small population of almost 150,000 people, Darwin is a coastal city bordered by the Timor Sea. It was first settled in 1839 by Lt. John Lort Stokes, who called it Palmerston, but in 1911 it was renamed Darwin, after Lt. Stokes’ former shipmate, the famous British scientist and evolutionist Charles Darwin.

Gateway to Asia

Do you enjoy travelling to Tokyo, or exploring cities like Singapore? A diverse, multicultural city, Darwin is also known as ‘the gateway to Asia’ due to its close proximity to Indonesia, Bali, Timor and Japan, so it’s perfectly suited to those who like to skip overseas on the regular.

Renowned for its laidback inhabitants, Darwin is also the place to be for those who prefer a slow-paced lifestyle. The cost of living is higher than some other cities in Australia, but at the moment, you can likely stretch your property dollar further as the local market is in a slump.

The more popular suburbs amongst Darwin’s homeowners’ include Stuart Park, Fannie Bay, Wulagi, Humpty Doo and Karama located less than 20 minutes’ drive from the CBD. The CBD itself faces the coastline, and the harbour views and sunsets will make those late nights at the office much more bearable.

Darwin isn’t huge on shopping, and the CBD doesn’t contain many of the bigger retail stores that you might be accustomed to, but if you prefer fishing to fashion then you’re in luck. Darwin boasts some of the best fishing spots in Australia like Buffalo Creek, Nightcliff Jetty, East Point Rocks, Fisherman’s Wharf and Stokes Hill Wharf, with barramundi the most sought after prize.  

Darwin’s notorious locals

Darwin is also home to some more notorious locals. Moving to Darwin means you’ll be sharing your new home with saltwater crocodiles, box jellyfish and Irukandji, and as such, many swimming holes, beaches and rivers are out of bounds for swimming. There are more crocodiles in the Northern Territory than anywhere else in the world, but if you consider yourself to be a bit of a daredevil and you want to get to know your new neighbours, you can get up close and personal with these reptile residents at Crocosaurus Cove (home to the infamous Cage of Death).

Another important note? Darwin feels like the tropics. The wet season can produce some pretty stifling humidity, but the gorgeous heat of the dry season more than makes up for it. However, because the coastline is so close to the equator, there is the risk of severe weather systems like tropical cyclones, intense thunderstorms and heavy flooding.

Darwin is ideal for the adventurers, with scenic spots like Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Katherine Gorge. And if you feel like a more relaxing day out, you can visit the Darwin Waterfront Precinct which is home to pubs, restaurants, a movie cinema, two man-made lagoons and a tranquil picnic area, right on the water.

Darwin is a stellar place with a friendly atmosphere, and it’s a great spot for people at any stage of life – whether you’re living the single life, raising a family, or ready to retire.

Ready to move north, but Darwin’s not the right fit? Maybe Brisbane is more your style – here’s what you need to know about moving to the Sunshine State.