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Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory. It is known as the smallest, wettest and most northerly out of all of the Australian capital cities. Darwin has a total land area of 3,163.9 km2 and is home to 148,564 people, based on the 2018 estimates of the Australia Bureau of Statistics.
The original inhabitants of Darwin are the Larrakia Aboriginal people group, who had established trading routes with Southeast Asia.
The first British to arrive in the area was Lieutenant John Lort Stokes of HMS Beagle on 9 September 1839. Commander John Clements Wickham, the captain of the ship, named the port after Charles Darwin.
While the port was already known as Port Darwin, the town was initially founded as Palmerston in 1869. From its foundation, Darwin progressed after gold was discovered at Pine Creek in 1871. Also around this time, many Chinese nationals settled temporarily in the area as contract workers in the goldfields.
In the 20th century, the Northern Territory was administered by South Australia until it was transferred to the Commonwealth in 1911. In the same year, Palmerston was renamed as Darwin.
As with the other capital cities of Australia, Darwin was an area where Australian and Allied troops defended the country’s coastline. On 19 February 1942, 188 Japanese warplanes attacked the town, killing 243 people and causing immense damage to the town.
After the war, Darwin was developed, where roads were constructed to connect the region to other areas in the Northern Territory.
Due to its location, Darwin is a gateway for Australian travellers to Asia. The city’s largest economies today are mining and tourism.
Several major projects in the state are focused on Darwin’s Central Business District (CBD), which includes the billion-dollar redevelopment of the Stokes Hill Wharf. The industrial areas in Darwin are situated along Stuart Highway, while the city’s central shopping precinct is in Casuarina where the state’s largest shopping centre is located.
Darwin’s natural attractions are the main driving force of its thriving tourism industries. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in the area are the Kakadu National Park and Litchfield National Park. The city also boasts long stretches of beaches, like the Casuarina Beach and the Mindil Beach.
There are several public and private schools in Darwin that serve both local and international students (35 primary and preschools and 12 secondary schools). The largest university in the city is the Charles Darwin University, which also acts as a university and an Institute of TAFE.
Darwin’s central hospital is The Royal Darwin Hospital, located in the northern suburb of Tiwi and the Darwin Private Hospital. A new hospital, Palmerston Regional Hospital, was opened in 2018.
There is no commuter rail system in the city; however, it has a network of buses which also provides transport in the suburbs of Darwin.
The Wave Lagoon
Located at Darwin Waterfront, this is one of the top tourist attractions in the city. It covers 4,000 square meters of safe wave and swimming lagoon, including shallow water play for children.
This attraction is located in the heart of Darwin city and boasts the largest display of Australian reptiles in the world. Other experiences offered in this facility are Swim with the Crocs and close encounters with baby Saltwater Crocodiles.