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...
It was a few years ago that I visited Darwin - but on Thursday / Sunday nights (depending what season you are travelling in) they had these awesome markets down by the beach. There were many stalls selling food, trinkets and all sorts of fun things - and everyone would gather down there and watch the sun set on the beach whilst strolling around the
markets. I've never seen a sunset quite like the ones in Darwin, and the ambience
at the markets just made the whole experience that much more fun.
I do suggest you check out the markets - great for the whole family!
Check out the website below for more markets in Darwin
Home to the famous Mindil Beach Thursday night and Sunday day Markets, I would highly recommend watching the sun go down from this point.
After a wander around the market stalls shopping for crafts and gifts pick up something to eat from the variety of food stalls that offer something from all corners of the globe.
Pull up a perch with your 'tucker' and simply just watch the changing colours of the sun over Fannie Bay & the Timor Sea.
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”.
The Mindil Markets is a great place for dinner and to watch the sunset over the bay. You can also buy art and craft and enjoy the entertainment. It is BYO and a blanket is recommended.
The Mindil Markets are open on Thursdays (5pm - 10pm) and Sundays (4pm to 9pm) and run from the last week in April until the end of October.
Things to Do: Inside Darwin.
Darwin Crocodile Farm – A great way to see our mean nasty creatures. Better still; try the famous jumping crocodiles on the Adelaide River Queen Cruises.
Aqua scene- is just a little walk along the promenade, which is open to all visitors. See hundreds of fish, which come into the shore to feed everyday. Times are limited to early morning and late afternoon.
Mindil Beach Markets. – The markets are located on the waterfront and it is necessary do whilst visiting Darwin. The best time to experience these markets is on a Thursday night, which opens between Aprils to October 5- 10pm. Sunday markets are opened 4-9pm.
Fannie Bay – This little spot is not on your travel books, but I loved this area as it has a wonderful large open lagoon (No Crocodiles or nasty creatures) and small sandy beaches to just relax, swim and chill out in the hot tropical temperatures. (A real little gem and perfect for families).
Cullen Bay. – This is the new hip place to go in Darwin. It is located on a man made marina and houses many fine waterfront restaurants and cafes. If you are looking to have a great meal in Darwin then head out to Cullen Bay. Its approx a 5/ 8 minute drive from Darwin CBD> we even saw Johnny H….having dinner.
Artwork….Personally I was on a mission to find a good Aboriginal artwork, which I found under weird circumstances. Therefore, to cut a very long story short, I found a beautiful artist in Litchfeild Park whom goes under the name of Kerry McCarthay. I highly recommend you view her artwork; she usually paints outside Monsoon Café at Litchfield National Park. (P.S. I am very fussy regarding art). !!
Darwin Sunset Tours. – I was very reculant to do this tour primary because I am always on a boat, however we did thoroughly enjoy cruising up the harbour and having a meal.
Sunday and Mindil is such a relaxing place. You can stroll amongst the familiar market stalls, grab a bite from one of the many national dishes, or buy an icecream and i sometimes do, watch the sunset. Not as big or as busy as the very popular thursday market, but still a nice spot to spend a sunday afternoon.
The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, (also known as the Sunset or Mindil Markets), have been operating at Mindil Beach every Thursday night of the Dry Season since 1987 and on Sunday nights in the Dry since 1995.
Around 240 stalls operate every Thursday night, attracting thousands who come to eat, drink and watch the sun set over the Arafura Sea.
Almost 60 food stalls, including Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, Laotian, Indian and even Yugoslavian. Aussie food stalls offer emu, kangaroo and sausage "sangers" (sandwiches) - about the only food you won't find at Mindil Beach is a hot dog.
The remainder of the stalls are art and craft or charity stalls. Local arts and crafts and local entertainment are encouraged. The Sunday evening markets are smaller, with around 110 stalls.