What you need to know
Where is it?
The northern territory is in the northern centre of Australia, between the states of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Despite being a very large region it only contains one major city, Darwin, which itself is the smallest capital city in Australia.
The climate within this region is extremely hot, with two seasons – October to April is the rainy season and May to September the dry season. There is very little rainfall in the southern part of the state – this remains a popular tourist destination, but is a place where few people, even Australians, live for a long time themselves.
How do I get there?
Unlike Australia’s other states, where the main cities and transport are focused around water, the main transport path in Australia is the Stuart Highway, one of the largest roads in Australia, running all the way from Darwin to Port Augusta in South Australia. The Great Southern Rail (the Ghan) is a famous rail route that travels the same distance.
Darwin airport as international flights which are usually cheap if you book in advance. Domestic flights are often the cheapest and easiest way to reach other parts of Australia. Even Cairns, the nearest city, is an extremely long drive or coach ride. Darwin is nearer to Indonesia than Australia’s major cities, so a flight to or from there if you’re travelling through South East Asia before entering Australia could be convenient.
Is it a good place to learn English?
Darwin is the main centre for language courses in the region, including those offered by the Charles Darwin University for overseas students. Nonetheless, it is a smaller and less international city than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Other parts of the Northern Territory are primarily tourist destinations, with few places to live and learn for a longer term.
Australia’s government operate an Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) for new residents, which may entitle you to up to 510 hours of free language tuition. Make sure to visit this (http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/help-with-english/amep/) official site and register soon after you arrive in Australia to ensure you can start learning as soon as possible!
What else is there to do?
The Northern Territory is very popular with tourists and contains some of Australia’s most memorable sites. The Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks are home to wildlife and scenery that you will not find anywhere else in the world, whilst Alice Springs is found next to the spectacular Uluru/Ayer’s Rock, the scale of which has to be seen to be believed.
The Northern Territory contains some of the oldest records of human civilisation in the world, which can be observed on a variety of tours in the region.
Moving to Darwin: 5 things you need to know
So, you’re moving to Darwin. Great! As the capital of the Northern Territory, it is located a long distance from Australia’s other major cities, being closer to Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta than it is to Sydney or Melbourne.
First of all – Darwin is hot. It has a warm climate all year round, with a lot of storms during the wet season between December and March. Darwin attracts people looking for work in industry and the chance to experience a different side of Australian culture.
The only question is…what next? Moving to Darwin can be daunting, so here’s 5 essential steps to get you started.
1.) Where to live
Wherever you live in Darwin, rent and living costs can be quite expensive compared to other Australian cities of a similar size. Room in the Moon can help you find the best value accommodation in Darwin.
Casuarina: Casuarina is a coastal suburb around 14km north of the city centre. It is home to Casuarina Square, the largest shopping centre in the Northern Territory. The Square is also home to a large bus station, making it easy to get to the centre of Darwin.
Fannie Bay: Fannie Bay is an inner suburb of Darwin situated on the coast, near to the beach and George Park.
Rosebury: Rosebury is one of several suburbs that has recently been built around the edge of the Darwin area. Most housing and buildings are modern, but it is 30km from the city centre. It is easy to get into the city if you have your own transport, but a bus journey could take around one hour.
Stuart Park: Stuart Park is an inner suburb of Darwin, close to the city centre, with a lot of accommodation available.
2.) Where to work
Darwin is a smaller city than the capitals of other Australian states, so it may be harder to find your first job here than in other parts of the country. The two main industries are mining and tourism, providing opportunities for people with a range of experience.
Like Perth, a lot of people are attracted to Darwin by the chance to work in the mining industry, one of the main parts of the Australian economy. Although this industry is growing, jobs within mining usually require a lot of skills and experience. You will be required to take Australian safety tests and other qualifications, even if you have the correct qualifications in your own country. However, skilled jobs such as carpentry and electrics are very well paid in this part of the country.
Darwin’s tourism industry is a fast-growing part of its economy. It is the main gateway to the attractions in the Northern Territory such as the Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks.
3.) How to get around
Unlike other Australian cities, Darwin does not have a local rail system to connect people working in the city. Most travel takes place by road. Darwin has an extensive range of public buses running in and around the city – you can find details of bus schedules and routes on this (http://transport.nt.gov.au/public/bus/darwin) official government website.
If you’re moving to Darwin and hoping to work in a skilled trade, be aware that many employers will require you to have your own transport. You can buy a second-hand car or truck locally, with a lot of temporary residents buying then selling cars when they leave. First, make sure that you are legally allowed to drive in Australia. Rules vary between different states, so head to the Northern Territory section of the official government guide (http://australia.gov.au/faq/existing-licence-driving-in-australia) to see if you are able to drive within Darwin.
4.) What to see as soon as you arrive
Darwin is located near some of Australia’s best national parks, Kakadu (http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/kakadu/) and Litchfield (http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/find/darwin-region/litchfield). The easiest way to experience their fantastic wildlife is to take part in a coach tour, which you can book with many different agents in Darwin city centre.
5.) How to spend your free time
Head towards the coast for the best that Darwin has to offer. You’ll find the botanical gardens for a relaxing break from the city, located on Gilruth Avenue. Walk a little further and you’ll come to Mindil beach, a very popular place for locals and tourists alike thanks to its beautiful sunsets and exciting markets. Just be aware that the markets get very busy in the evening!
For culture fans, Darwin has a lot of museums and historical sites to enjoy. The Defence of Darwin Experience (http://www.defenceofdarwin.nt.gov.au/) takes you into Australia’s role in World War Two, and the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (http://artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au/museums) is a chance to explore the heritage of a region that was home to some of the earliest recorded human civilisations.