Disability awareness here is fairly high. New accommodation must meet accessibility standards and discrimination by tourism operators is illegal. Many key attractions provide access for those with limited mobility and sometimes for those with visual or aural impairments; contact attractions or tour operators in advance. Most downtown streets have well-maintained footpaths, but these are less common in the suburbs.
Some car-rental companies (Avis, Hertz) offer rental cars with hand controls at no extra charge for pick-up at the airport (advance notice required).
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Deafness Association of the Northern Territory is a potentially useful resource for hearing-impaired travellers.
Dangers & Annoyances
- Darwin is a generally safe city to visit, but the usual rules apply: petty crime can be a problem, particularly late at night, so avoid walking alone in unlit areas and don't leave valuables in your car.
- In response to several reports of drugged drinks, authorities are advising women to refuse drinks offered by strangers in bars and to drink bottled alcohol rather than from a glass.
- Always assume that there are crocodiles in waterholes and rivers in the Darwin area.
- Cyclones can happen from November to April, while heavy monsoon rains can curtail outdoor activities from December to March.
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Ambulance, Fire & Police||000|
|Poisons/Bites Information Centre (24hr)||13 11 26|
Darwin has a fairly active gay and lesbian community, and while attitudes tend to be a little more conservative than in east-coast Australian capitals, few travellers encounter any problems. Throb is the pick of the city's gay-and-lesbian nightclubs.
For more information on the city's gay-and-lesbian scene, check out Visit Gay Australia's Darwin pages at www.galta.com.au/destinations/darwin. See also www.gaystayaustralia.com for a limited number of accommodation options.
There are 24-hour ATMs dotted around the city centre, and exchange bureaux on Mitchell St.
Banks 9.30am-4pm Monday to Thursday, 9.30am-5pm Friday
Post Offices 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, some from 9am-noon Saturday
Pubs Usually serve food noon-2pm and 6-8pm. Pubs and bars often open for drinking at lunchtime and continue well into the evening, particularly from Thursday to Saturday.
Restaurants noon-3pm & 6-9pm
Shops & Businesses 9am-5pm or 6pm Monday to Thursday, until 9pm Friday, and until either noon or 5pm on Saturday
Supermarkets 7am-8pm; some open 24 hours
Ark Aid The people to call if you come across injured wildlife. For emergency animal rescues, call Wildcare NT on 08-8988 6121.
Northern Land Council Permits for Arnhem Land and other northern mainland areas.
Tiwi Land Council Permits for the Tiwi Islands.
Tourism Top End Helpful office with hundreds of brochures; books tours and accommodation for Darwin and beyond.
Travel with Children
Although the humidity can be uncomfortable for younger children, Darwin does a pretty good job of catering for families. Most restaurants will have high chairs and baby-change facilities, while hotels will often offer family rooms or additional beds. Footpaths are also easily negotiated by those pushing prams.
Other important things to remember:
- You'll find public toilets with family rooms where you can go to feed babies or change nappies in most shopping centres. As anywhere, children should be accompanied in all public toilets, including shopping centres.
- Some motels and hotels have swimming pools and most can supply cots and baby baths. Top-end hotels and some (but not all) midrange hotels often accommodate children for free, but B&Bs are often child-free zones.
- Child prices (and family rates) apply for most tours, sight admission fees and air, bus and train transport, with some discounts as high as 50%. However, the definition of 'child' can vary from under 12 to under 18 years.
- Make concessions to the heat – carry plenty of water and make sure your kids wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen. Consider visiting in winter (the Dry).
- Medical services here are of a high standard.
- Items such as baby-food formula and nappies are widely available from pharmacies and supermarkets (plan ahead if heading to remote regions).
- Major car-hire companies can supply booster seats, for which you'll be charged around $25 for up to three days' use, with an additional daily fee for longer periods.