Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory has been named as one of the top ten best cities in the world to visit in 2012 by consumer guide Lonely Plant.
It is described as ‘multicultural, free wheeling and vibrant’ with its nightlife, markets and wilderness areas highlighted.
Cities in the top 10 list were chosen by Lonely Planet’s in house travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and their X factor. It is the first time that an Australian city has made it to the top ten. Sydney and Melbourne have both been excluded for being too boring.
‘With a pumping nocturnal scene, magical markets and restaurants, and world class wilderness areas just down the road, today Darwin is the triumph of Australia’s Top End,’ the 2012 Lonely Planet Guide says.
‘It’s now a hip city to visit rather than just the end of the road for lost souls. It’s also a place with a helluva lot of crocodiles, national parks and the closest proximity to cheap Balinese furniture. All in all, we can’t think of anything better,’ it adds.
Described as “multicultural, free-wheeling and vibrant”, Darwin received a glowing review.
Lonely Planet’s Charles Rawlings-Way, one of the authors of the book, admitted that Darwin was an unlikely entry. But he said that Darwin has a lot to offer.
‘It is a bit of a surprise for Australians in particular to see Darwin shaping up as a vibrant tourist destination,’ he said, adding that it has had a major face lift in recent times, growing from a town full of fisherman, hippies and ‘redneck truckers’ to a very young and energetic city.
‘In the 80s and even 90s it was pretty grim up there and its appeal was limited. Cyclone Tracey levelled the place and it has taken long time for Darwin to rebuild from that. Darwin is gathering pace, it’s not somewhere Aussies think of going for a holiday but its position is really interesting in the world,’ he added.
As well as the famous Mindil Beach Markets, Darwin is close to a host of national parks including Kakadu, and is the closest major Australian city to Asia.
While Lonely Planet recommends a trip to the waterfront precinct and buying indigenous art, it warns travellers about dorms without air conditioning, monsoon rain and drunk backpackers.
The guide says that if you’re after a bizarre sight then check out the five meter long, 780 kilogramme stuffed saltwater crocodile called Sweetheart at the Northern Territory’s Museum & Art Gallery.
Northern Territory Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy said she was pleasantly surprised to see Darwin on the list, but she wasn’t surprised people were impressed by the incredible sunsets, the markets, the nature and the historical sites.