By KarryOn @karryontravel23 Jan 2017Darwin is one of the fastest growing capital cities in Australia and with 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds this tropical city is a buzzing and culturally diverse melting pot. Described as Australia’s gateway to South East Asia the city is situated closer to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta than to Canberra and has similar flight times to Manila and Singapore as to Sydney and Melbourne. Long gone are the metal cages (!) at the bars protecting barmen from drunken fights and flying beer bottles. Today Darwin has evolved into a sophisticated city with food markets, festivals and restaurants on par with any other Australian capital city. If you can handle the heat and humidity then get your shorts, akubra and sunscreen out and head up to the exotic capital of the Northern Territory. Boutique Hotels Mandalay’s luxury accommodation is self contained and fully equipped At Moonshadow you will find award-winning 5-star rainforest villas that are absolutely breath-taking, exotic and totally unique. Located in a beautiful rainforest pocket right on the very edge of Darwin City centre this place offers a tropical haven. Another place worth checking out is More than a room which offers a range of accommodation from one bedroom budget apartments to Darwin’s Award Winning ‘Mandalay Luxury Stay‘. Exotic Dining Black rice brûlée at Hanuman Pee Wee’s is nestled amongst tropical palms providing an unforgettable dining experience for seafood lovers. The menu is reflecting the local produce and climate and the restaurant is specializing in saltwater barramundi, banana prawns, tropical fruits and Lambells lagoon buffalo cheese leaving no one hungry. At Hanuman you will find tasty dishes with inspiration from Thailand, Malaysia and South East Asia prepared by chef and owner Jimmy Shu. Why not try the Trumpet Mushroom topped with a fine mince of pork, prawn and spices warmed with coconut cream sauce or Nonya Pork rolls flavoured with Chinese five spice and wrapped in bean curd sheets. Things to do What to bring for your trip to Kakadu: comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, water bottle and camera. If you are interested in history you can learn how the Second World War was experienced in Australia on a WWII historical tour of Darwin. The tour highlights the memorials and sites of the war and explains the bombing of Darwin. You also get a chance to visit Darwin’s historic bases, museums and military precincts. Book your tour here. You can’t go to Darwin without experience Kakadu’s beautiful National Park. There a numerous tour operators who will take you to the region’s ancient landscapes where you can explore spectacular waterfalls, pristine rock pools and magnificent gorges. Book here. Cocktail bars The Deck Bar offers a great party vibe! The Deck Bar is situated at the ‘top of town’ on Mitchell street and with generous opening hours (7 days a week) and a wide selection of cocktails and also over 80+ beers prepare yourself to rub shoulders with a steamy party crowd. If your taste is a bit more refined make sure you head over to Lotus at SkyCity which is a premium cocktail lounge offering a selection of fine wine, campagne and elegant cocktails in a luxurious setting. Traditional pubs Shenannigans Irish Pub is located at 69 Mitchell Street, Darwin. Darwin has several old and charming pubs and Hotel Darwin is a great hotel/pub which has survived both the Japanese bombings of WWII and Cyclone Tracy. Famously known as the ‘Raffles’ of Darwin you wish the walls could speak… Is there any town or city in the western world that doesn’t have an Irish pub? At Shenannigans you can get cider on tap and of course a decent Guinness, cheers! What’s your favourite spot in Darwin? Share your tips with us in the comment section below… Other stories you may like Which celebrities did TravelManagers book for its national conference? Australia’s Tourism Legend is… Is Brisbane Australia’s Coolest City?