It turns out that it’s not easy to buy a car in two days, especially in a small city. So after a (very boring!) day of calling around every car dealer in the area with no luck, we changed our plan and booked flights straight to Melbourne. We’ll be here for three weeks staying with friends, so there's plenty of time to find a car, explore the city and even do a couple of small road trips before our month-long trip back to Darwin in October.
As well as reducing a lot of stress, changing our plan also gave us a couple of days to actually see some of Darwin. We hired bikes, which turned out to be a great way to see the city. There are bike lanes everywhere and you can also cycle on the pavement (perfect if you're scared of traffic like me!).
Our favourite cycle ride was along the coast, past Mindil Beach and Fannie Bay, up to East Point Reserve. It's a really easy, traffic-free route that's mostly flat, with lots of beautiful scenery. Only a few minutes out of central Darwin, you find yourself on coastal bike lanes that are a dream. You don't actually need to wear a helmet in Darwin, it's not a legal requirement, but safety first!
Our first stop was the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territories, a really interesting look at Darwin's history. It's full of Aboriginal art and information on Cyclone Tracy, which destroyed most of Darwin in 1974.
Just outside the museum is a path down to the sea, we made a hasty retreat after seeing the warning that crocodiles inhabit the area though (again – safety first!)
The next leg of the journey is through Fannie Bay, a coastal suburb of Darwin (tip: this is a good spot to buy food if you want a picnic).
Just past Fannie Bay is the East Point Reserve. Near the entrance is Lake Alexander, a croc-free swimming spot with lots of picnic areas. There's also a cycle path that loops around the whole park. It takes you along the coast, past cliffs, farms and fields with horses.
Other things we enjoyed in Darwin include the wave lagoon, fish and chips at Stuart's Hill Wharf (just like home!) and Mindil Street night market, a great spot to watch the sunset.
We'll be back to Darwin at the end of our trip, and now it's time to explore a totally different Australian city, Melbourne (spoiler: we're loving it!).