The Sydney vs. Melbourne debate is getting tired so we thought we’d mix things up and pick two different capital cities to pitch against one another. In one corner we have tropical Darwin, gateway to the great Australian wilderness and the undisputed heartland of shorts and thongs; in the other we have Perth, home of over the ocean sunsets and the country’s go-to destination for quokka selfies. Which will be victorious? Read on and see.
Heat and Sunshine
It’s no secret that Darwin is warmer and sunnier than Perth but, ultimately, your enjoyment of these favourable weather elements will depend on the time of year you visit and how comfortable you are with varied weather conditions. If you pop into Darwin during the dry season, which runs from May to October, you’ll be rolling around in beautifully warm sunny days while the rest of the country reaches for the woollies: how splendid. If visiting during the wet season, you might experience some rain or a storm in the late afternoon, but on the upside, watching the lightning from air conditioned comfort is a great way to pass the time.
Perth is really quite lovely year-round, albeit a little cooler during the winter months. By this we mean you’ll probably have to pair a jumper with your shorts so – if you’re from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra or Hobart – there’s really nothing to fear.
While we have to give Perth points for trying - with its beautiful beaches, abundance of water sports and quokka-inhabited Rottnest Island - Darwin wins this one hands-down. The spectacular waterfalls, red rocky cliffs, ancient Aboriginal art and abundant wildlife combine to create some of the best wilderness experiences going around. Take a day trip to Kakadu or Litchfield National Park or catch a boat to the Tiwi Islands to see what we’re on about.
Mmm, eating: everyone’s favourite holiday pastime. In Darwin, some of the best food related goods can be found at the city’s various markets. There are Parap Markets, famous for their fresh produce and delicious laksas; Mindil Beach Sunset Markets where you can pick up anything from teeny tiny doughnuts to fresh oysters; and Nightcliff Markets, perfect for Sunday morning coffees and sneaky breakfast crepes. Delicious food can also be found in permanent venues all around the city, from perfectly battered fish and chips at Stokes Hill Wharf to fancy local plates at Pee Wee’s at the Point.
One thing Perth does consistently well is a long, lazy lunch. With heaps of venues offering outdoor seating, ocean views and clever lists of cocktails, you simply need to choose a place and enjoy (psst, Bib and Tucker and The Shorehouse are both foolproof favourites). Northbridge, one of the city’s inner suburbs, has an excellent collection of cafes, restaurants and tapas type places, specialising in everything from toasted sandwiches (Toastface Grillah, we’re lookin’ at you) to gourmet desserts. All things considered, it’s hard to go wrong.
After Dark Fun
With its great selection of secluded watering holes, seaside cocktail spots and lavish rooftop bars, Perth has a drinking spot for every occasion. There’s also a great line-up of festivals, concerts and events throughout the year, including Fringe Festival, a various assortment of wine-related happenings and a constant rotation of big names making their way through Perth Arena.
Darwin, on the other hand, is less about the party, focusing its post-sunset fun on markets (as mentioned above), open-air cinema and relaxed beachfront sessions at Darwin Waterfront or Darwin Ski Club, an enduring local favourite.
So, which city is the winner? It depends on what you’re looking for. We know, we know – it’s kind of a cop out but it’s also true so you’re just going to have to deal with it.
Check out Travelodge Hotels for great accommodation on your next holiday, wherever you decide to go.