Mindil Beach is one of Australia’s best beaches. Many visitors are surprised to find such a pretty tropical beach so close to a regional capital city. Some locals swim at Mindil during the dry season, but the possible threat of crocodiles and jellyfish makes this unwise for visitors to try. Better swimming is over at at Casuarina, which is patrolled by surf life savers, or alternatively at the Wave Lagoon water park and the free Leanyer Recreation Park. Still, at any time of day, a walk along the splendid Mindil Beach is not to be missed.
The Northern Territory is known for the blazing color of its sunsets, and it’s at this hour of the day that Mindil Beach really shines. Every Thursday and Sunday from late April to the end of October, people flock to the city’s iconic beachside market at sunset. Try Asian noodles or seafood from one of the food stalls, listen to live music, relax during a massage or simply watch the sunset. Pick up fashion items made from crocodile skin or paintings and crafts by Aboriginal artists. The illuminated market stalls provide a picturesque setting for a tropical night out.
The Mindil Beach Sunset Market is inspired by the night markets of Asia. The Darwin version includes similar food stalls, but has an indigenous focus. Browse handmade items, jewelry, Aboriginal paintings, musical instruments and sculptures.
For dinner, sample an array of international cuisine from Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia and, of course, from the Aussie outback. This is your chance to taste kangaroo sausages! If you arrive early, take your meal to the beach in time to watch the sunset.
After dark, enjoy displays of fire twirling, acrobatics, dance or live local music. There’s plenty for kids to do, too, from a petting zoo to jumping castles and family-friendly musical acts.
Mindil Beach is just over a mile (2 kilometers) from the center of Darwin, and getting there is easy on foot or by bus. Plastic bags are banned, as part of an initiative to save marine turtles that visit Darwin’s beaches.