Australia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And with more than 10,000 beaches to choose from, it wouldn't be any different.
I'd like, however, to introduce you to one of the most beautiful and magical sunsets which are not so famous in Australia: the Mindil Beach Sunset. A place where time seems to stop just to appreciate the beauty of nature. A beach where the sun seems to set the sand on fire and light the sky with strokes of paint. Sounds beautiful, doesn't it? Well, it surely is and it's definitely worth a visit!
Pictures will never make justice to this amazing and awe-inspiring moment.
Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory
But first, let me tell you where this little piece of golden sand paradise is: Darwin, Northern Territory. One of the smallest capitals in Australia with a population of around 142,300 people. Being on the northern most point of Australia offers some perks. Its proximity to South East Asia is a bonus for residents that can travel just a few hours to arrive in another island paradise, like Indonesia. It's also a hot and humid destination. Wet season in Summer means cyclone and monsoon rains for the months of December to March. Temperatures however are steady throughout the whole year. During Winter, you can enjoy nice and (still pretty) warm temperatures with lows only dropping to around 14°C. It's the perfect destination all year round.
Despite all the heat, you can also find great places to cool down while in Darwin. Right in the city centre, you can find a Wave Pool which offers cool shade, cold water and some waves to make things interesting. It's the perfect family day-out! If you want, you can also venture into the allowed section of the beach where no crocodiles are permitted. Yes, Darwin is also famous for its crocodiles. Don't play with them!
While you are there, also make sure to learn a bit about the culture of this city and its local (and original) people at the many museums and art galleries scattered around town. The lesser know capital of Australia holds great importance to its country and was reconstructed several times after many cyclones affected the region.
Litchfield National Park
If being in the city centre is not much of your interest, travelling down South towards Litchfield or its famous neighbour, Kakadu will certainly fill in the gap. With amazing protected national parks just a few hours from town, it's easy to organise a day trip to one of the many swimming holes in Litchfield for the day or take your camping gear for the weekend to Kakadu.
For the little time we were in Darwin, we chose to rent a car and visit the Litchfield National Park. Pack you bag with some snacks and lunch for the whole day and don't forget the water!
Visiting national parks is most definitely a must experience in Australia. And being in one of the hottest destinations in the country, swimming in cool creeks is always a good call.
Again, crocodile season during Summer can be a deal-breaker if you don't get informed or know exactly where you are going. The creeks and waterways are mostly indicated and surveilled daily to ensure its safety. It is more likely you'll see a croc in the zoo than in the wild around here anyway.
Swimming in the amazing lakes and falls around Litchfield National Park really shows the grandeur of nature. The falls pictured above are sacred by the Aboriginal people and indeed this place has a special vibe and glow to it that is difficult to describe.
So if you are heading to Litchfield National park make sure to check at least these places:
- Berry Springs: The closest swimming holes to Darwin. Blue waters and good picnic infrastructure. We got unlucky as we got there and it was close due to the risk of crocodiles. Seems beautiful and a tranquil place to enjoy the day with the family. Lifeguards seem to be available as well when the area is open.
- Buley Holes: In Buley Holes, you'll find a great variety of holes where's easy just to sit back and cool down or swim a bit and even to jump if you are feeling adventurous. Careful with the rocks as there are many slippery surfaces as well. Before reaching the swimming holes, there's also a picnic area with seats and taps, plus a public toilet and car park.
- Wangi Falls: Definitely our favourite of all! Plenty of shade under trees (just remember the mosquitos!). The water is cool and the area big enough for a good swim. When you cross the pool, you'll reach the falls and can enjoy the droplets cooling you down as a reward. NOTE: the falls are sacred to the local Aboriginal people and should be respected and not climbed.
Mindil Beach and the Magical Sunset
After you spend a whole day looking for the perfect swimming spot, get back to town in time to enjoy a magical sunset in Mindil Beach. The Mindil Beach area populated by the local Aboriginal tribes and you can see once the sun starts setting why this place is sacred for them. The beach itself is like many around, and close to sunset time, the sand turns to gold and the whole sky becomes a light show like no other.
Even after the sun is long gone, the light tint the clouds with colour and make its peaceful descend until it says goodbye. Not to make the ride so sort, stay a while and walk back to the entrance of the beach where you can enjoy the Night Markets with plenty of food and drink options plus local crafts and musicians warming up the night.
Along the whole stretch of beaches, Darwin offers plenty of other places to get together and enjoy a meal by the beach or even a few drinks with your mates as Australians would call you.
Enjoy the vibe and the warmth this place has to offer and visit Darwin!