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Darwin

Australia's only tropical capital city and gateway to the Top End, Darwin, on the traditional lands of the Larrakia, gazes out across the Timor Sea. It's closer to Bali than Bondi and certainly feels removed from the rest of the country, which is just how the locals like it.

Tables spill out of street-side restaurants and bars, innovative museums celebrate the city's past, and galleries showcase the region's rich Indigenous art. Darwin's cosmopolitan mix − more than 50 nationalities are represented here − is typified by the wonderful markets held throughout the dry season.

Nature is well and truly part of Darwin's backyard: the famous national parks of Kakadu and Litchfield are only a few hours' drive distant, and the unique Tiwi Islands are a boat ride away. For locals the perfect weekend is going fishing for barra (barramundi) in a tinny (small boat) with an esky (cooler) full of beer.

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