With a coastline that's almost 11,000 km long, it's no surprise the Northern Territory is home to some truly spectacular beaches. The region's vast coastline and remote beaches also offer some of Australia's best boating, fishing and beachcombing opportunities.
Mindil and Vestey's beaches are Darwin's busiest. As well as locally-produced arts and crafts, Mindil's famous Sunset Markets have up to 60 stalls offering a huge range of cuisines to be enjoyed on the beach. Mindil and Vestey beaches both provide breath-taking views of Darwin's dramatic sunsets.
Fancy a swim but need a little more reassurance regarding nasties in the water? About 9 kilometres North of Mindil, Nightcliff Beach has a ‘stinger net' protecting the beach. Alternatively, if you're more worried about swim-suits than jellyfish, Casuarina Beach includes a 7km stretch that's officially designated 'clothes optional'.
West side: Cox Peninsula
Just a 15 minute public ferry ride from Cullen Bay, or 140km drive around Darwin Harbor on the scenic Cox Peninsula Road, is local Darwinians favourite, Mandorah. A lively beach at weekends with locals fishing from the pier, or playing beach volleyball at the waterfront hotel, known for Sunday afternoon lunch and live music sessions. Beachcombers can walk north and around the long string of sandy beaches leading to the small community of Wagait Beach, about 5klm away, with several concrete WWII ruins looking out to sea.
On the west side of the Cox Peninsula is the beach community of Dundee and the mangroves of Bynoe Harbor, each hosting fishing competitions throughout the year. Several Darwin fishing charters bring visitors on sea angling trips or turtle tours to the remote, uninhabited islands just off the coast here. There are several unique places to stay in Dundee, Bynoe, Wagait and Mandorah but be sure to book in advance.
There are dangers to be considered when entering the Territory's waters, so always check safety signs and adhere to local advice before swimming. There are, however, plenty of places – and times of year – considered safe for swimming.
If you do want to err on the side of caution there are plenty of public swimming pools available for you to cool off from the tropical humidity.