Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Mindil Beach Market pre crowds
(Click on the image above to see images of Mindil Beach Market and sunset on the beach)

A well known attraction in Darwin is the Mindil Beach Sunset Market and this is where we ventured to today.  The market runs on Thursdays and Sundays in the dry season between the 26th April and the 25th October. The website says it opens between 4pm and runs until 9pm however it was pretty much in full swing when we arrived at around 3.30pm.  As usual, I always like to be early for everything and on this occasion it assured easy parking two rows back from the market itself.  When we left at around 7pm, the parking area was absolute bedlam and people were still pouring in looking for a parking spot.


The market is effectively divided into two sections.  There is the food section which was just amazing.  From memory there was food, (or shall we use the Australian colloquial term of "tucker"), from virtually every section of the globe.  There was food from the Territory including crocodile and buffalo that I now remember seeing on my initial walk that was to be ready around 6.30pm. I'm a bit annoyed with myself now that I forgot to go back and get some crocodile as it is very tasty. There was also food from Russia, Greece, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka just to name a few.  Of course you could always fall back to the easy and safe meals of a hamburger or fish and chips if you wished.

The craft area was full of all sorts of trinkets to buy and put on a shelf somewhere. You could also buy some extremely expensive crocodile skin items costing in the thousands of dollars range such as handbags, wallets and I even saw a leather crocodile skin vest for sale. Then there were stockwhips of various sizes made from redhide and kangaroo lace.  These seemed very reasonably priced and there were some blokes out the back of the stall teaching people how to crack them. It was rather funny watching some aspiring whipcrackers almost losing their ears as they tried to get a crack out of the whip.  In my opinion, they were starting out with one that was too long. Best to learn to crack a four footer and move up from there.

There was all sorts of clothing available including dresses and T Shirts with a tourist flavour declaring that one had been to Darwin for a visit. I did manage to get a rather good bargain on a new leather belt cut to size for only $25.

After doing a couple of tours of the market to make sure we hadn't missed anything, we wandered down the beach to wait for the sunset. There were quite a number of people who had brought deck chairs and tables down and set up on the grass at the back of the market and down on the beach.  They were obviously getting their food from the market for tea and had brought their own drinks with them.  Seems that the market is a BYO (Bring Your Own Alcohol) permitted area.

The beach area behind the market was being set up for a concert with Neil Finn performing on Territory Day, 1st July.  It was a little crowded so we walked down the other end where there were very few people at all.  I noticed this large piece of driftwood that was stuck half way up the beach and set myself up here for my sunset photos. It just added a different dimension to images of the sea and the sun going down.  It's quite amazing how fast the sun sets in the tropics.  There isn't the lengthy afterglow like there is in the south so you need to be ready for the sun setting when it happens or you could miss it all together.

After sunset we wandered back through the market to find that the car park was the busiest place in the area. The job was to find where we had parked the car. Fortunately I had a bit of an idea and spotted the boat carrier on the roof.  It has become a very useful feature in car parks for me. It took quite a while to extract ourselves from the car park through all the traffic and get on the road back home.

Mindil Market is an experience you should not miss in Darwin. A food stall holder told us that there are different stalls on Thursdays and Sundays so it may be worthwhile to visit on both days. If you want to find out more, you can visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Market website.

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