Ask any Darwin resident what they like about the place, and theyâ€™ll come up with a hundred different reasons, all of them from the heart, many of them intriguing and a few downright mad and dangerous. Darwin is unquestionably a fascinating mixture of a cosmopolitan city and the Outback.
Take one local. Jennifer Pinkerton is an indigenous woman who has recently recorded an album solely in dialect, a huge achievement of which she is justifiably proud. â€˜Together We Are Strongâ€™ was recorded in 2012 with the Borroloola Songwomen.
She loves the tropical weather, and believes the wet season is a great time to visit. She adds that in the Dry, Darwin is pumping. It might be hot and sticky, but the mornings are good and the evenings even more enjoyable.
Jennifer mentions the Roma bar where musos love to hang out, and the Railway Club, a live music venue that feels like â€˜the real Darwinâ€™.
Colin James, a senior News Corp journalist, Â recently made a flying visit to Darwin, and has a lot of good things to say. â€˜Itâ€™s the attitude of the people. They just get on and do things, unlike some other places.â€™ He adds that Darwinâ€™s inhabitants are unfailingly welcoming, hospitable and courteous. It comes with the obvious pride of living in the territory. Theyâ€™re simply pleased to be there.
Nature rules. From huge frangipanis to giant milkwood trees to Cullen Bayâ€™s natural aquarium â€“ it all simply blows the temperate climate visitor away. Of course, there are the nasties, like poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders and crocodiles, but the sensible thing is to listen to good advice and to follow the rules. As for crocodiles, by exercising a bit of common sense you can avoid getting eaten. Most people manage to avoid it every day.
The work-life balance is another enviable attribute that visitors comment on. As they say, the locals work to live, not live to work. Maybe that has something to do with being able to spend so much time outdoors, absolutely the best way to lower those stress levels and gain a sense of what life is all about.
Non-Darwinites may find it hard to believe that where sport is concerned, the Territory has the highest participation rate per capita for Rugby League than any other state governing body in Australia. AFL, rugby and soccer are also represented and fiercely contested. Baseball, motor sports, and horse racing are also on the calendar. Donâ€™t these people feel the heat? Apparently notâ€¦
As for fishing, opportunities are everywhere. From heli-fishing to game fishing to beach fishing, thereâ€™s something for everyone. And when the catches become barbecue fodder, itâ€™s even better.
A recent informal survey found that long-time Darwin residents liked having an effective Â road network and minimal traffic congestion. Even the rush hour seems relaxed. As a local I believe the economic and employmentopportunities are great, and available for anyone who wants to put in a good dayâ€™s work.
We also enjoy the diverse range of people who ,on the whole, get along well. Maybe thatâ€™s why there is a minimal police presence and a sense of well-being. As the Outback Australia Travel Guide notes: â€˜The people are different. It’s the world as it should be, where people take an interest in each other, trust each other, are open, friendly and help each other.â€™
And what could be better than that?
Iâ€™d love to hear about your experiences of Darwin.
Dr Sue Samuelsson is a caring and dynamic vet in the Northern Territory, Australia who has had a profound effect on many remote communities around East Arnhem Land.Â She is the creatorÂ of i-Vet, an innovateÂ online service designed for pet owners. Away from her busy schedule she enjoys catching barramundi in the Daly River.