While packing for my trip to the NT, I happened to bring my largest suitcase just in case I needed extra space for shopping. It turns out that I could have brought a smaller suitcase because on my return, my partly-filled suitcase wasn't much heavier than when I left. Possibly partly due to the fact that I had left 3 pairs of shoes in Darwin.
Wanna find out where? Read to the end to find out.
In case you are thinking that the shopping scene must have been pretty bad, I would like to assure you that it wasn't the case. Instead I put it down to my excellent restraint. You'll understand when you see the photos below.
I love visiting markets for handcrafted treasures and unique finds. So once I discovered that we had a bit of free time on our hands while in Darwin, I scoured the internet for markets to explore.
Besides the Mindil Beach Markets which was on our itinerary, I managed to visit the Nightcliff Markets and the Rapid Creek Markets as well.
When it comes to markets, I think photos are the most effective way of conveying what's available. So here is a photo tour of the things that caught my eye while browsing the markets.
1. Mindil Beach Markets
We visited the Mindil Beach Markets on the first day that we arrived which was a Sunday. I had a lot of fun roaming through the markets. I tend to like shopping on my own and I even chanced upon a dress that I liked. Sadly, I ended up not buying it as it was a little pricey and I didn't want to wipe out too much of my shopping budget on my first day there.
There was also live music playing in one corner and people were lazing on picnic mats enjoying the sunday afternoon sun. Elsewhere, there were didgeridoo performances, street performers and even a fire show. What I really enjoyed at Mindil was it's location next to the beach and I ended up spending a good amount of time there.
Once I was done browsing the markets, I headed to the beach and picked up some shells and pebbles. It was also the perfect place to enjoy my dinner. I bought a beer-battered barramundi and washed it down with a cold pina colada as I sat down on the soft sand staring at the deep blue waters while the sun shone down on my back.
We then stayed to watch the sunset as many do at Mindil. It was my first time photographing a sunset and I'm glad that I managed to take a few shots that I liked and brought home some natural souvenirs as well as a little too much sand in my shoes.
Tip : Do wear a pair of sandals when you visit Mindil so you can head to the beach. Also, remember not to take a dip in the water as these waters are home to box jellyfish that are known to sting both adults and children even in shallow water.
2. Nightcliff Markets
On our last Sunday morning in Darwin, a few of the bloggers in our group woke up extra early to catch a bus to the Nightcliff Markets. We had less than an hour there as we had to be back to meet everybody else at Crocosaurus Cove.
Despite the rush, I am glad I visited Nightcliff. Frequented by locals, this market had a more laid-back feel and yet still offered some colourful and interesting finds as you will see below.
Here are a few items that I spotted while on my morning walk through the market.
So what did I end up buying? I went home with an aline skirt as well as a swan finger puppet and a penguin finger puppet (pictured below). Little souvenirs to add to my growing finger puppet collection.
3. Rapid Creek Markets
The Rapid Creek Markets was the first market that I set foot upon after arriving in Darwin. We had taken Bus No. 10 from a bus stop near our Hotel and as I hadn't slept too well during our flight, I fell asleep on the bus. I jumped off the bus in a half groggy state once we reached our stop.
But once we walked into the markets, we were greeted by the strong scent of thai kaffir lime leaves which immediately woke me up. There was fresh pink galangal, tumeric and chillies available for the picking. It was definitely THE place to pick up asian ingredients. In fact, the owner of Hanuman, Jimmy Shu has been known to shop for produce at Rapid Creek too. We dined at Hanuman on one of our evenings in Darwin and the food there was incredible. It was a sumptuous feast of Thai, Indian and Nonya cuisine unlike any that I have had. I wish they had a branch in Singapore.
Rapid Creek tends to be mainly a fresh produce market, so I knew there wouldn't be handicraft here but I was hoping to hunt down some second hand treasures.
Soon I came across a little shop called Walking in My Shoes (WIMS). I peeked in and saw lots of shoes and some jewellery. I thought it looked like a good place to find second hand treasures. It was but it was also much more than that.
It turned out to be a special shop which was started by Rachel Kroes to train up kids with Down Syndrome to help them transition from high school to employment. Her hope is that the girls will eventually be able to be hired in paid employment positions.
The girls in the shop, Becca, Alisha and Molly help to scrub and dust shoes that have been donated as well as decide on pricing. They are also taught how to engage with customers and the opportunities certainly help them to grow in their confidence.
It was lovely chatting to Rachel and hearing how she started it and also the challenges that she faces. They don't make much profit as she prefers to keep the prices low so the girls will have lots of opportunities to serve customers.
I left the shop with a necklace in hand and a scroll handwritten by Molly, a meaningful token gifted with each purchase.
So if you live in Darwin, do drop by this small initiative in Rapid Creek or spread the word. Every little bit that we do helps.
Mindill Beach Markets
Thursday 4.00pm - 9.00pm
Sunday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
Rapid Creek Markets
Sunday 6.30am - 1.30pm
* This post is one in a series of posts called NT Travel Memoirs that seeks to record my most memorable moments during my recent trip to the Northern Territory, Australia lest I forget. A big thanks to Tourism NT and OMY for sponsoring this amazing trip as a prize for winning the Best Lifestyle Blog at the Singapore Blog Awards 2013.
For more information about the places that we visited, head over to the Australia Outback Adventure blog to read my posts or click on the links belowNT Travel Memoirs : Northern Territory, Australia
NT Travel Memoirs 1 : The Memorable Wildlife
NT Travel Memoirs 2 : The Memorable People
NT Travel Memoirs 3 : The Memorable Waterholes
NT Travel Memoirs 4 : The Memorable Desert
NT Travel Memoirs 5 : The Memorable Rock
NT Travel Memoirs 6 : The Memorable Markets
Now that you've read my Travel Memoirs, would you like to visit the Northern Territory for yourself? Check out the other posts written by my fellow travel mates and vote for your favourite. VOTE DAILY and increase your chances of winning a travel voucher worth $2000! (Voting period : 7 Oct 2013 - 28 Oct 2013)