Where It All Began
During the mid 80s, six entrepreneurs shared their vision to bring a taste of Asia’s night markets to the tropical town of Darwin.
In 1987 their vision became a reality as the first stalls set up shop in Darwin Mall. It wasn’t long before the city’s mainstream retailers began voicing their objections so the market moved to its new home under the coconut palms of Mindil Beach Reserve; and so the iconic Mindil Beach Sunset Market was officially born!
A Site of Significance
The name 'Mindil' is taken from the Larrakia word 'Min-deel', meaning sweet nut grass.
With its clear water, clean beach sand and sweet tidal creek, Mindil Beach has always been a popular place to camp, swim and socialise, especially in the dry season. It has also been a significant cultural site for the Larrakia people of Darwin and during the 1920s and 1930s kids from nearby camps would collect coconuts and bush tucker from the shoreline.
Years later, the site would be used for rest and relaxation by military personnel and by the 50s was the place most people lived when they first arrived in Darwin. By the 1960's a caravan park was formally established but the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Tracy in December 1974 reduced the site to one of crisis accommodation once again.
In 2008, during the market's 22nd year of operation, Sky City established a decidedly more up-market style of beach-side accommodation and by this time, Darwin was establishing itself as a bustling centre.
A Modern Day Market
Today, Mindil Beach Sunset Market supports over 300 small businesses, provides employment for more than 1000 locals and contributes more than $15 million to the Northern Territory economy annually. Committed to preserving the natural environment, plastics bags are banned and extensive recycling and environmental sustainability measures are in place across all aspects of the markets.
Our motto is to LIVE THE LIFESTYLE. To give each and every visitor a taste of the carefree, relaxed, creative lifestyle that typifies Darwin – especially after dark during the dry season when everyone comes out to play.
Mindil Beach Sunset Market is a truly iconic and unforgettable experience. As Darwin’s number one, most visited attraction it has won numerous awards for tourism, multiculturalism and was officially accorded national icon status by the National Trust in 2000.
Community & Supporters
Mindil Beach Markets is an integral part of the local community. Hosting charity based stalls and free community led events that entertain, educate and raise funds for the benefit of all Territorians. It remains a place to gather, connect, engage and plays a vital role in nurturing local talent from all walks of life.
Of course, without the generosity of our major supporters and stakeholders, including City of Darwin, St. John Ambulance and Surf Life Saving NT, this community based event simply wouldn't be possible so we thank each of them for their ongoing involvement and contribution to the safe and successful operation of the markets.
Voted one of Australia’s top 10 cities to visit by Lonely Planet, Darwin is arguably Australia's most cosmopolitan city. It boasts a population from more than 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds including Darwin's traditional owners, the Larrakia people, who remain prominent and active members of the community.
Catch a flick at Deckchair cinema, eyeball a croc or sail across the harbour to the Tiwi Islands and take in the annual football match and aboriginal art sale. Why not plan ahead and take in Darwin Festival, The Darwin Cup Race Carnival, Beer Can Regatta or better still; head bush to Kakadu or Litchfield National Parks to revel in their natural beauty. For travel tips visit www.travelnt.com