Situated to the north of Darwin’s city center on the edge of Fannie Bay is the ever-popular Mindil Beach Markets. It takes place every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry months of April through to October and is particularly famed for its magnificent sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
The name “Mindil” is from the Larrakia indigenous Aboriginal word meaning “sweet nut grass” and was originally the name given to a swamp located behind Darwin’s CBD. The market was established in the late-1980s when some local entrepreneurs wanted to bring an Asian-style night market to Darwin and it was originally set up in the Darwin Mall, before being moved to the Mindil Beach Reserve.
The market consists of around 60 different food stalls selling everything from Thai to Greek and Indian dishes, as well as more than 100 local handicraft stalls. Shop for vintage fashions or handmade jewelry, as well as indigenous paintings and ceramics. Local musicians provide entertainment throughout the evening, while masseuses set up shop along the palm-backed beach.
If you’re visiting in July, be sure to attend the annual Darwin Beer Can Regatta that takes place at Mindil Beach. Participants make boats from empty beer cans then launch them into the water, accompanied by plenty of live music and a flipflop-throwing contest. A highlight of the event is the “Henley-on-Mindil” competition that sees the beer can boats being raced around like Flintstones cars.
The Mindil Beach Market is within walking distance of Darwin’s CBD, as well as being a short stroll from SkyCity Darwin and the Cullen Bay Marina.