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Darwin: Where natural beauty meets modern city
THE Mantra has a prime position in Darwin’s compact city centre, with a view over the calm and sparkling waters of Port Darwin, the harbour that leads to the Timor Sea.
It’s certainly a picturesque spot – across from the hotel is a lush green park dotted with palms and other tropical vegetation, bisected by a popular walking and cycling trail, which follows the shoreline.
As one of those big concrete hotel complexes you find across the Territory, the Mantra is showing its age here and there in its fixtures and fittings.
However, my room is a good size, with a soothing brown and off-white colour scheme and a king-size bed. A long desk runs along the wall beneath a widescreen TV, and there’s a single comfy chair beneath the window. The bathroom is simple but roomy, with a combined shower and bath.
Downstairs, off the light and airy foyer, is a sizeable bar and restaurant, which serves reasonably priced dishes of a diverse nature.
Mitchell Street, accessed from the rear of the hotel, is another source of dining options from cheap takeaways to quality sit-down options. Try the amusingly named Ducks Nuts (76 Mitchell St), with a good wine list and tasty international dishes.
Within walking distance is the retail hub of the Smith Street Mall. Beyond this you’ll find an interesting collection of historic buildings which illustrate Darwin’s turbulent history, from the ruins of the Old Town Hall knocked down by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, to the cottage-like Government House and the grandiose Parliament building.
Another treat is the shiny new Darwin Waterfront development, containing classy bars and restaurants, and a family-friendly artificial beach.
Tim Richards travelled courtesy of Tourism NT & Great Southern Rail.
Mantra on the Esplanade
88 The Esplanade, Darwin NT 0800
Phone: 08 8943 4333
Rates: Rooms from $149 per night.
Tags: , GP Getaway