The Mindil Beach Market really is almost a compulsory must do when in Darwin – and it was so good that Lady Gaw and I braved the hoards of tourists and locals and went there twice – and both on the very popular Thursday late afternoon and into the evening. (Market is also open Sunday afternoon/evening).
Perhaps one of the great drawing attractions for the market is the sunset. There seems to be a strange nightly ritual in the warmer parts of the world to see the sun setting. I’m wondering if there is an attitude that develops in the tropics – A. “There is no tomorrow and therefore lets party,” or B. “Today has been really hot and sweaty and I just want the cool of the evening.” Not sure which is the correct answer from either of my 2 conspiracy theories?
The first visit we travelled to and from by Darwinbus from the Darwin Bus interchange and judging from the on line bus information, there seems to be lots of bus options getting to/from the market. The second visit was by rental car and its quite a job trying to find somewhere to park ‘the beast.’
Both visits we ate the same main course – 2 satay sticks on top of the very popular Indonesian/Malay Gado Gado and topped with onion, prawn crackers and then lots of yummy satay sauce and extra chilly if required – yes please. Cost was a very reasonable $A10 each. Ice cream in a cone completed the 2 course meal, but there was considerably more options for the hungry and not quite so hungry – there are 60 different food stall holders listed on the web site.
There was a very wide range of ‘stuff’ available for sale, but the one item that did not seem to be obtainable – leg ropes to tie around the ankles of Lady Gaw and other shop/market stall addicted ladies and used to drag them out when time had long expired. I did suggest the idea to one stall owner and he commented that would loose him business – no it would gain you business from husbands/partners/boy friends. As we left that stall I could see from his eyes that the idea did have considerable appeal. The web site lists 199 in the Arts, Craft & Service Stalls section.
On our second visit, Lady Gaw went to another stall that she had bought ‘stuff’ from the previous week only to be told that the lady stall owner was overseas – gee she must have spent a lot the previous visit.
Great spot for a meal, so long as you don’t mind the crowds, the noise, the dust and maybe the flies at some times of the year (I won’t mention the crocodiles, but then again not sure if they could put up with all the above either). Also a great spot for buying up all the stuff you really don’t need/want (photos 4 and 5 - do you really want a stuffed cane toad?), listening to live performers of various styles/talents, looking/buying Aboriginal art and for people watching too.
This is a must do when in Darwin..each Thursday and Sunday nights this market is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.
Take wander through the large marketplace and look at the various crafts and locally produced leather products..ie: sandals.,Kangaroo leather wrist bands and necklaces also various crocodile skin products.belts,hatbands...stockwhips.(you wont find better anywhere).Then there is the amzing selection of food and as this is such a cosmopolitan place the choices are tremendous...Italian, Indonesian,Aussie bush food, Chinese, Seafood,middle eastern, malaysian, Thai, Vietnames, the list goes on..then join the locals and sit on the grass or on the beach . and have a few "coldies" or a bottle of wine..put on your "wobbly boots"and watch an amazing sunset..over the water..
Dont forget to watch "The guy on the electronic Didgeridoos" this is quite amazing performance and on my last visit there were hundreds taking the opportunity to hear him...
When in Darwin, you must go and check out the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. It is a huge open-air market with stalls selling food, souvenirs, and all kinds of other stuff. There are also live music with various groups and artists - and various music forms and styles.
The market is open on Thursdays and Sundays from April until the end of October.
We went there one evening and had a really good time. Great atmosphere and the market is absolute worth a visit.
When I was there in July, the markets were held on Thursday and Sunday evenings. There are stalls there offering hot and cold food from all around the world; arts, crafts, and souvenirs such as didgeridoos; and many of the musicians from the pubs are there performing, busking and selling their CDs. It's a great place to view the magnificent sunsets.
We had just settled into our hotel room when it was time to walk down to the market. It is a bit of a walk from the Esplanade area, but we didn't mind. You can hear the place about two blocks away. The Mindil Beach Sunset market is a weekly fair of food, crafts and fun. As soon as you get into the market your senses are overwhelmed with music, crowd noise and the delicious smells of all the vendors selling an exotic mix of Asian and Australian food. The best way we found to enjoy it was do a complete walk through of the vendors then decide what you'd like to buy and the food you'd like to try and go back and enjoy yourself. Near sunset most newbies head to the beach to watch the sun set over Darwin harbour. Our sunset was not that spectacular, but it was nice all the same. By all means do the market if you get a chance during your visit. The admission is free and you won't be sorry.
This is one place that everyone raves about. All I can say is that you've gotta do it once :o) It's probably too crowded for me....but I did enjoy the sunset and the food is pretty good too.
As far as markets goes...the local one where we stayed at Nightcliff was way better for bargains! :o)
However...Mindil does have it's own website....pretty impressive too ;o)
Almost as much a ‘Local Custom’ as a ‘To Do’, the Mindil Beach markets, also described to us as a ‘Tourist Trap’, are a local institution in Darwin. They run twice weekly, on Thursday and Sunday afternoons from about 1700 until 2000 and at the least are a great place to look around, people-watch, wander over to the beach to watch the sunset, and to taste and buy food.
The only little snag is that it seems half of Darwin turns up, so as the evening goes on everything becomes a little crowded. My suggestion would be to arrive early, as we did, it’s easier to look around: if you have a car, the parking also is less chaotic then, though you may have trouble finding it later!
Apart from buying food, with many stalls offering delicacies from a huge variety of cuisines (the “Roadkill Café”, offering kangaroo, crocodile, camel and buffalo was an interesting variation), you can book cruise tickets, buy clothing, toys and trinkets, or even try yourself on a portable climbing wall. There also were several local bands giving performances and selling CDs of their music.
Main photo: At the Mindil Beach Markets
Second photo:It’s less crowded if you are early
Third photo:Something different to eat!
Fourth photo:On (or off) the climbing wall.
Fifth photo:Local band, featuring “contemporary didjeridu”.