Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, October 29, 2011

One of the strange things about the hotel is that it has no balconies. Not one single room has a balcony. Therefore if you want to smoke, there's one small spot above the pool, dubbed 'Smokers’ Corner’ or ‘The Naughty Corner’. Oddly enough it seems that most of the clients at the hotel smoke and a sense of camaraderie has been built up in the corner. I now know most of the clients, where they’re from, how long they’re in Darwin for and have also learnt lots of interesting things via Smokers’ Corner, like the history of the bombing of Darwin in WWII or about fighting bush fires in and around Yularu.

None of this compares though to meeting Ben in Smokers’ Corner. Ben is on his first proper holiday from Adelaide. I met him at 10:00am and he was already drinking scotch – it was his first day in Darwin. As the day went on we got chatting and he and his girlfriend, Tania, were such nice people that we decided to go to Mindil Sunset Beach Market together. Mindil Market, as the name aptly implies, is an open-air market at Mindil Beach, which effectively starts at sunset.

When we arrived, I was surprised. Whatever I was expecting, this was not it. Rather than a market it was like a festival. On arrival, there was a band playing, not just any old band. No, the name of the band was Em Dee and they played – wait for it...- ‘Didge & Bass’! "What’s that?" I hear you cry. Well, I’m glad you asked. Didge & Bass is drum & bass with a didgeridoo! What was really interesting about it, was the local Aboriginal kids were really into it and shaking their booties to the music. I swear Beyonc has nothing on them! The whole thing was absolutely brilliant – so good, in fact, that I did 2 things out of excitement. One was normal, the other foolhardy.

First, I was that impressed that I bought one of their CDs, but the other is that in the excitement of the music and atmosphere, I went with Helen, Ben and Tania down to the beach and we took photos of ourselves at sunset in the water – in crocodile infested water. Even though we were only 1 or 2 feet from the beach it was without doubt the most moronic thing I’ve ever done, especially as there was nobody else in the water, but there were around 1,000 people sitting on the beach looking at us like we’d lost our freaking minds! Even Ben who was as pissed as a parrot realised how irresponsible we were being – after all, we knew that salties (salt water crocodiles) were common in the area, so common, in fact, that traps were laid for them that very night. But all’s well that ends well and we escaped without incident. One thing we’ll take from the experience is how warm – no, hot – the water was. It’s a shame that such lovely water is home to salties (and now, apparently, box jellyfish as well), making it off limits to bathers.

The rest of the market was really cool, there was lots of food from all over the world, well, Asia, Australia (bush tucker was on the menu again – this time I had a kangaroo sausage and speared kangaroo) and Greece. There was also lots of local handicraft – items made of kangaroo or crocodile skin, as well as didgeridoos and local jewellery. I’m not a fan of markets but this one was not bad.

It also happened to be the last market at Mindil Beach for the season, so it was billed as the ‘Grand Finale’ and it was later reported that an estimated 8,000 people were there, which is a sizeable chunk of Darwin. For the grand finale there was a fireworks display over the sea, which was impressive. The whole thing was a gastronomic, musical and visual extravaganza – highly recommended!
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Joe on

I keep reading stories about foolish tourists and expats ignoring the warnings about swimming in shark-invested waters; the most recent attack was in Australia. Haven't read anything about salties attacking paddlers yet, but you should look after them legs - there useful for walking...
Foolish Boy!

PaulBB on

Remember, Slip, Slop, Slap, Lock and Load.....

Rod Musson on

cant believe that the same person who shuddered with fright in the leafy cotswolds and jumped a mile high at the sight of woodlice has paddled foolhardily in croc waters. Whats happening to you?

georgegoode on

Now you can call me George Irwin, Croc Hunter!

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