DRY SEASON HIGH SEASON IS HERE!!!
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- We opened up our new bar! We are proud to announce the official opening of the Batji Bar. Located in our sister hostel Youthshack Backpackers, Batji Bar is just 2 minutes walk from Chillis and is a great place to chillout.
- Dry season is almost over! :( Which means things are going to start getting quiet as of November
- Chillis Backpackers goes to China for the tourism convention
- BOOK MINIMUM THREE DAYS TOURING DURING DECEMBER TO MARCH AND GET ONE FREE NIGHT ACCOMMODATION *Conditions Apply*
- Click here to book/enquire.
- 1 DAY LITCHFIELD AND JUMPING CROCODILES
Crocodiles and waterfalls! See massive saltwater crocodiles leap and feed on an Adelaide River cruise then explore Litchfield National Park. Cascading waterfalls, rainforests and swimming holes.
- 2 DAY KAKADU NOV - MAR
The ultimate outdoor adventure destination, Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest National Park. World Heritage Listed for it’s natural and cultural values, take in rugged escarpments, lush wetlands, plunging gorges, waterfalls.
- 3 DAY KAKADU / LITCHFIELD NOV - MAR
Trek through the Top End of Australia on this 3 day adventure! Visit all the main attractions of Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks and take in rugged escarpments, lush wetlands, plunging gorges, waterfalls, wildlife.
- 3 DAY ULURU SAFARI
See the red centre icons without the price tag! Hike the ‘Valley of the Winds’ at Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), watch the colours of ‘The Rock’ change at sunset and sunrise, learn about Aboriginal Culture, explore Kings Canyon and swag under the stars.
- 8 Day Darwin To Alice Springs Tour
The Northern Territory is Australia’s real outback and home to the natural wonders of Kakadu and Uluru National Parks. This all inclusive tour will take you from the tropics of the Top End to the deserts of the Red Centre.
Woohoo! You made it to Chillis hostel, Darwins funkiest and friendliest place to stay !!! :) If your lookin' for budget rooms, located right in the beating heart of Darwin city, then you have surely come to the right place! Close to bars, clubs, restaurants and Darwins many attractions, you will definately have a wild and wacky time here at Chillis :)
Budget double, single and dorm rooms!! All guests recieve free bag and lanyard on check in. We will also refund your Darwin Airport Shuttle ticket for the arrival section when staying 3 nights or more. This offer is per person.
Chillis backpackers also specialize in advance tour bookings, 4wd tours to Kakadu, Arnhem Land, Litchfield, Kimberley, One way ex Darwin to Broome, Perth, Adelaide and last but not least, Cairns! Chillis can take care of all your travelling needs.
Chillis Backpackers have a fully Licensed travel desk offering great travel deals for getting around the Top End and Australia. Tours to Kakadu, Arnhem Land, Litchfield, Kimberley, one way tours ex Darwin to Broome, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns are available through our bookings desk.
Call: 1800 351 313
If you have any travel enquiries, our great travel staff are more than willing to help.
- 24 Hour Check In
- Interstate and International Travel Desk
- Swimming Pool
- Laundry Facilities
- Self Catering Kitchen
- Sun Deck
- Global Gossip Internet Cafe
- Air Conditioned rooms/twin/double/dorms
- Friendly Informative Staff
- Security Cameras
Fire dancing at the Mindel Beach Sunset Markets
Where is the best place to get a delicious bite to eat and be entertained? At any of Darwin’s markets of course!
This is a guide for all the things you need to know about visiting Darwin’s markets.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets is a mecca for Darwin’s multicultural cuisine. As Australia’s largest out door market, you can expect more than 1200 different menu items, live entertainment and a wonderful range of locally designed and hand-made crafts including jewellery, art and homewares.
When: Dry Season (May to October) Thursday’s 5 - 10 pm and Sunday’s 4 - 9pm.
Where: Mindil Beach show map
How to get there: Mindil Beach is about 3km from Darwin's CBD. You can walk or catch bus 4 to get there . Alternatively, you can catch a taxi or there is plenty of room to park if you have your own vehicle.
Local favourite: The Lucky Cow is a vegetarian food stall that sells all kinds of goodies, their wraps and salads are delicious! Vegan and gluten free options are available.
A popular place for locals, the Parap Markets are smaller than Mindil but still have all the best stalls to choose from as well as a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables stalls. You can also browse through some of Parap Shopping Village’s boutiques which sell Aboriginal art, home wares and clothing.
When: 8am - 2pm every Saturday
Where: Parap Shopping Village, Parap show map
How to get there: Bus 4 will bring you to the Parap Village. Alternatively, bus 10 drops you off on the Stuart Highway near the start of Parap Road. It is then a seven minute walk down Parap Road to the Shoping Village.
Local favourite: The Guo Yang Lei Soup stall has amazing laksas - arguably the best in Darwin!
The atmosphere and delicious food is what brings many locals to the Nightcliff Markets held every Sunday morning - a great place to grab a bite to eat, listen to some live music and relax.
When: 8am - 2pm every Sunday
Where: Pavonia Way, Nightcliff show map
How to get there: Bus number 4 from the city stops directly outside the Nightcliff markets.
Local favourite: Strawberry and nutella crepes with a little cream from Ken’s Crepes - yummy!
Rapid Creek Markets
The Rapid Creek Markets are situated in the northern suburbs and are the oldest markets in Darwin. The markets sell a range of fresh organic produce, native plants and seafood. A nice place to head for lunch or to get a relaxing massage.
When: 6.30am - 1.30pm every Sunday. During the wet season the Monsoon markets operate every Thursday night 5pm - 10pm.
Where: Rapid Creek Business Village, Rapid Creek show map
How to get there: Bus 10
Local favourite: feel relaxed after a massage from Nok’s Thai Massage
Palmerston and rural Markets
The Palmerston and rural markets are located 21km south of Darwin. The markets have a family friendly atmosphere with plenty of food, local products and entertainment.
When: April - October (dry season) Friday’s 5pm - 9pm
Where: Goyder Square, Palmerston CBD show map
How to get there: Palmerston is 21km south of Darwin and is serviced by public transport from both Darwin city and Casuarina bus interchanges.
Local favourite: the live entertainment!
Happy Yess Markets
One person’s junk is another person’s treasure at the Happy Yess Markets. You will find vintage clothing and accessories, local arts and crafts, baked goods and other tasty treats. Definitely worth checking out!
Where: Frogs Hollow for the Arts, 56 Woods Street, Darwin City show map
When: First Sunday of each month 2 - 6 pm
Local favourite: for finding a bargain!
Coolalinga Rural Markets
The Coolalinga Rural Markets sells locally grown fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and even live animals. Keep an eye out for the slithering reptiles!
When: 8am - 2pm every Saturday
Where: Coolalinga Shopping Centre, Stuart Hwy, Coolalinga show map
How to get there: Driving is the best way to get to the Coolalinga Markets - located near the Stuart Highway driving south of Darwin.
Local favourite: I know this has been a favourite already but try the laksas. We can’t pick which one is better!
Bombs over Darwin –
Artwork by James Baines
Most of Darwin's major events are packed into the cooler months of the year from May to October, known as the dry season. During this time the city is bustling with people and activities: markets, music festivals, horse racing, art shows and drama performances, as well as the V8 Supercars. There's plenty to choose from. Whatever your taste may be…
Darwin Cup Carnival (Saturday 7 July to Monday 6 August)
The Darwin Cup Carnival is truly Darwin's biggest event of the year. More than 20,000 locals and visitors come together to watch horse racing at its best, and more importantly, have a really good time!
Day one of the carnival kicks off with the Hot 100 Darwin Guineas Race Day on Saturday 7 July. Some of the highlights are the BridgeToyota Ladies Day, Darwin Cup Gala Ball, SKYCITY NT Derby Day as well as the grand finale - the Carlton Mid Darwin Cup on Monday 6 August 2012 (NT Public Holiday).
For most of the racing events you can buy tickets for public admission on the day. All tickets for tents, members' areas and the Darwin Cup Gala Ball should be bought prior. For more information go to http://www.darwinturfclub.org.au/cup-carnival
Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival (Saturday 5 May)
The Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival, held on Saturday 5 May in Darwin, is a wonderful outdoor event for all ages. Starting at Nightcliff jetty, take a stroll through a variety of market stalls and watch local entertainment that stretches along Casuarina Drive for about 1.2km.
A day at the Seabreeze Festival is filled with local music and performances, fun activities and fabulous food in a spectacular setting on the Nightcliff foreshore. You can join in the sand sculpture competition with cash prizes for the most creative work, view Aboriginal artwork and meet some of the locals in the cultural tent or take a look at the collection of Voltzwagens, in all sizes and colours, from the Darwin's VDub club.
The event: 2pm - 10pm. The Seabreeze bar opens at 3pm. Entry is free! For more info go to http://nightcliffseabreeze.com/
Bass in the Grass (Saturday 26 May)
With a line up like never before, this year's Bass in the Grass concert on Saturday 26 May is set to be one to remember. Headlining acts include Hilltop Hoods, Boy and Bear, The Jezabels, The Temper Trap as well as Calling All Cars, Redcoats, Drapht, Stonefield, 360 and some locals acts will be performing at Bass in the Grass 2012.
Only $60 for pre-sale tickets or $80 at the gate. The concert is a great outdoor event open to all ages, held at the Darwin Amphitheatre in the Botanical Gardens. For ticket information go to http://www.bassinthegrass.com.au/tickets
V8 Supercars (June 15 - 17)
The SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercars is the biggest event on the Territory's sporting calendar. The three-day event is held at Hidden Valley Raceway, 10 kilometres from Darwin's CBD, and is fuelled with entertainment on and off the track. The Hitachi stunt team, Victor Bray, drag displays and the Race and Rock after-party are some of the favourites over the long weekend of motor sport action.
To find out more go to http://www.majorevents.nt.gov.au/v8supercars/ticketing/
Darwin Festival (9 - 26 August)
The Darwin Festival is an annual event that brings Australian and international art, music and drama performances together during an 18-day fiesta in the tropical city of Darwin. Most of the action happens in Civic Park in Darwin City, the larger events are held at the Amphitheatre in the Botanical Gardens and other shows are held at the Darwin Entertainment Centre and around the Darwin area - all venues are held within close proximity to the CBD.
Prices for shows vary and some events are free. The full program and tickets are available online at http://www.darwinfestival.org.au/
Mindil Beach Markets (May to October)
Australia's largest outdoor market, the Mindil Beach Markets, is a tantalising experience for all your senses. The markets offer cuisine from many parts of the world: Thai, Indian, Chinese, African and Greek just to name a few. Browse through the stalls selling jewellery, clothing, homewares and artwork or sit down on the beach with your chosen dinner and watch the spectacular dry season sunset over the ocean.
The markets are held every Thursday 5 - 10pm and Sunday 4 - 9pm at Mindil Beach. The first market for 2012 is on Thursday 26 April.
Mindil Beach is about 3km from Darwin's CBD and is an easy walk or you can catch bus 4 from Darwin City or Casuarina to get there . Alternatively, you can catch a taxi or there is plenty of room to park if you have your own vehicle.
These are just a few of the events on in Darwin in 2012. Enjoy!
Bombs over Darwin –
Artwork by James Baines
On 19 February 1942 two Japanese air raids were made on Darwin, the first air attacks ever made on mainland Australia.
The air raids, planned and led by the commander responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbour ten weeks earlier, dropped more than 600 bombs on Darwin. The damage was:
- more than 250 people died
- between 300 – 400 people were wounded
- 20 military aircraft were destroyed
- eight ships anchored in the harbour were sunk, and
- most of Darwin’s civil and military facilities were destroyed.
Since then Darwin has rebuilt itself into a thriving tropical city that prides itself on its multiculturalism.
There are still reminders of the historical day with many locals finding military artefacts on their properties or washed up on the beaches around Darwin.
Darwin recently commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin. There are many places you can visit to get a glimpse into this period in time, including:
The Northern Territory Library is holding an exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin including photos, biographical details and personal stories.
- What: Roll of Honour: Casualties of the Bombing of Darwin, February 1942
- Where: Northern Territory Library, Parliament House, Darwin
- When: 11 February – 25 March
- Admission: Free
Darwin Military Museum, situated in East Point Reserve, displays war memorabilia from all over the Territory. The museum is housed in the original concrete command post bunker and many military ruins can be viewed walking through the natural reserve.
- What: Darwin Military Museum
- Where: East Point Reserve (about 8kms from Darwin City)
- When: 9.30 am – 5pm, 7 days a week
- Admission (as of March 4 2012): Adults - $14.00 Children (between 5 – 15) -$5.50 Family (2 adults 2 children) - $35. Discounts apply to pensioners/seniors and school groups.
The WWII oil storage tunnels are located beneath Darwin city and were built by the Civil Construction Corps. Sections were reopened to the public in 1992 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin.
- What: WWII Oil Storage Tunnels
- Where: Kitchener Drive, Darwin (located on the lower level of Kitchener Drive near the Darwin Waterfront)
- Admission: Adults - $6.00 Children - $3.00
- When: May to September, Monday – Sunday 9am to 4pm. October to April, Tuesday – Sunday and public holidays 9am to 1pm.
The Bombing of Darwin ABC walking pod tour allows you to print a map and download audio that takes you back on a journey to 19 February 1942, when the first air raids hit Darwin. Starting at Survivor’s Lookout, on Darwin’s esplanade, listen to the incredible stories of bravery, tragedy and fear as you visit historic sites around Darwin city.
- What: Bombing of Darwin ABC walking pod tour
- Where: Starts at Survivor’s Lookout, Darwin esplanade and takes you around Darwin city.
Free to download http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2012/02/10/3428056.htm
Expedition led by George Goyder
Darwin’s birth officially began in 1839 when Captain J C Wickham first sailed into the harbour from Victoria. Onboard the HMS Beagle in early September, Wickham entered what would later be Darwins Harbour and from that vantage point, an officer by the name of John Stokes took a small whaler and was the first known European to land on Darwin soil. He named the harbour Port Darwin after the young naturalist, Charles Darwin, who sailed on the Beagles voyage around the world between the years 1832 and 1836.
On the 14th of September exploring parties disembarked the beagle and began the job of discovering the area. They were very impressed with what they found. Marsden Horden wrote in his study of Stokes:
“From the Beagle’s deck they watched the sun rise in a clear sky above a hill .. At noon with the temperature hovering around 80 degrees, they welcome a refreshing breeze which ruffled the water and set the branches waving on the trees. And at nightfall, they enjoyed a feast of colour: the sun, dipping over the harbour’s westward point, brushing a few wispy clouds near the horizon with the delicate pink of a rainbow trout before dropping quickly like molten iron into the Timor Sea. Then the last of the sea breeze and the splash of wavelets on the shore heralded a night full of stars, with the cross lying low in the southern sky (Hordern 1989, 171)."
However, it was not until another 2 decades had passed, that Europeans established a permanent settlement at Port Darwin. On the 6th of July 1863 South Australia decided to incorporate the Northern Territory. It was at Escape Cliffs during the year 1864 that this first attempt at colonization was to take place. However, this first settlement was abandoned after just a couple of years due to the poor location which was surrounded by mangroves.
It was not until 1868 that George Goyder, surveyor General of South Australia, was commissioned to travel to the Northern Territory in the aim of finding a good location in which to build a permanent settlement. Leaving with a well-equipped party, Goyder and his men headed for Port Darwin and from from February to September 1869 camped near Fort Hill. It was here that they carefully planned and laided out a new town to be built and named is Palmerston. Many of the street names, which can be seen today, such as Smith and Knuckey commemorate the surveyors involved.
Darwin after cyclone Tracy
Considered to be the worst natural disaster to hit Australia, Cyclone Tracy was a tropical cyclone that hit and demolished the City of Darwin on Christmas 1974. With winds extending 48 kilometres and speeds of over 217km an hour, Tracy killed 71 people, caused $837 million in damage and destroyed more than 80% of the buildings in Darwin.
On the 20th of December 1974 environmental satellites picked up a large cloud mass which was centred over the Arafura Sea just northeast of Darwin. The storm was officially declared a tropical cyclone and given the name Tracy. Following the next few days, Tracy proceeded to move south westerly passing north of Darwin until it rounded Cape Fourcroy on its western tip and moved south easterly towards Darwin. At this stage locals had not given too much concern towards to the cyclone and the ABC broadcast stated that Cyclone Tracy posed no immediate threat to Darwin.
By late afternoon on the 24th of December Darwin skies were heavily overcast with low clouds and rain. Wind gusts increased in strength and by 10pm damage to buildings edged on serious as residents began to realize that the cyclone would not simple pass by the city. Cyclone Tracy passed directly over Darwin just after midnight on Christmas Day with wind speeds of up to 300km/h.
By the time Tracy finally blew itself away, it had killed 71 people, 49 of whom were on land and 22 which were out at sea. Not only this but the storm had caused $837 million in damage and destroyed more than 80% of the buildings in Darwin. The Age stated that Cyclone Tracy was a disaster of the first magnitude...without parallel in Australia’s History.
Most Australians were not aware of the cyclone and the damage that it was caused until late in the afternoon of the 25th December 1974. This was mostly due to the destruction to transport infrastructure and also the fact that most media outlets had minimal staff rostered due to being a public holiday. At this stage Darwin ceased to exist as a city.
The Australian government began the enormous task of a mass evacuation of Darwin by both road and air. All defence personnel throughout Australia, as well as the entire royal Australian Air Forces supply of planes were called in to help. Over the next 2 days around 10, 000 people left Darwin and the surrounding area. Prior to Cyclone Tracy Darwin’s population sat at around 43, 500 people, and by the 31st of December that number had be reduced down to 10, 638. These numbers consisted mostly of men who were required to stay behind and help rebuild the city destroyed city.
In February 1975, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced that the Darwin reconstruction commission was to rebuild the city within five years. By 1978 they had succeeded in this feat and much of the city had recovered and was able to house almost the same number of people that were living there prior to Tracy. However, Darwins population has dramatically decreased permanently without return of its former residents. In the years that followed, Darwin was entirely rebuilt and now shows almost no resemblance to the old Darwin of 1974.
Famous Darwin sunset
Darwin has officially been labelled one of the best cities in the world to visit in 2012. Featured in Lonely Planet’s new travel book on the best things to see and do next year, Darwin is up then with the top ten cities from around the world.
Host of the 2012 Olympics, London has made number one, followed by Muscat and Bangalore. Other cities that came in ahead of Darwin were Cadiz, Stockholm, Guimares, Santiago, Hong Kong and Orlando.
"It was once easy to dismiss Darwin as a frontier town full of brawling fishermen, dreamy hippies and redneck truckers. 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 book says.
The top ten cities to visit during 2012 were chosen by Lonely Planet travel experts who based their decisions on topicality, excitement, value and uniqueness.
Amoung cities, a list of top ten countries were also listed. Uganda was named as the top country to visit in 2012, followed by Burma, Ukraine, Jordan, Denmark, Bhutan, Cuba, New Caledonia, Taiwan and Switzerland.
Jim Jim Falls - Kakadu National Park
The question many travellers to Darwin ask is, “ How many days do I need to be able to see Kakadu National Park?”. Whether you are thinking about taking a tour or driving there yourself, the question usually boils down to a few factors. How much time/money you have and what exactly you want to see and do once inside the park.
Its generally recommended that visitors spend between 2-3 days exploring Kakadu. There are many tour companies that offer 2-3 day tours and they are generally the most sought after by travellers. Spending a few days in Kakadu will allow you to get a good grip and experience the full intensity of the park. Don’t forget, Kakadu is roughly the size of Wales and considering that it is nearly 4 hours drive from Darwin, its worth investing some time to see it properly.
However, if your only passing through Darwin and you don’t have the time or the money to do a full camping tour, there are still plenty of options available. There are many operators who offer 1 Day Kakadu tours and they generally comprise of a billabong boat cruise and a trip to an Aboriginal art site.
Long Jumping at the Darwin 2011 Arafura Games.
Youthshack and Chillis Backpackers are happy to house over 80 Arafura Games participants who’ve come from far and wide to join in the Territories ultimate sporting event! Contestants from such countries as Timor, Macau, China, Taiwan, PNG, Fiji, New Caledonia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia joined together with local athletes to fill the Marrara stadium for the opening ceremony for the Arafura Games 2011.
Teams from 37 nations will be taking part in the games in Darwin over the next week in a array of different events. This includes boxing, lifesaving, athletics, table tennis, weightlifting, long jump, sprinting and the famous sepak takraw.
The new sport for the 2011 Arafura Games is Twenty20 Cricket, one of the fasting growing sports in the world which will be sure to attract some diverse teams from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
The 2011 Arafura Games will be held from 7 to 14 May 2011 in Darwin. For more information please visit http://www.arafuragames.nt.gov.au/