Why You Should Consider Darwin as Your Choice of Migration Destination

Encik G forgot to mention a crucial detail. Why should anyone migrate to Darwin? Bananas. Bananas!

Encik G
7 May 2015

The Jewel in the North

As I lim kopi with Chiobu Kopimaid and Satki Yoda, I reflect on my journey here. After graduation, I sent resumes are all around Australia, Darwin came back first with the highest pay and said, we will pay to get you up here. As a fresh grad with no money, its an offer hard to refuse. But for people migrating, Darwin is probably the last place for consideration.

The 2 most common questions on migration appears to be “Will I have enough points?” and “Can I get a job”.

As I understand, the only two places for which regional areas and extra points apply are Adelaide and Darwin.

The second concern people have is finding a job. Unemployment is rising and hitting above 6% in all States and close to 7% in Adelaide.

But it is only 3+% in the NT. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Northern Territorians have the highest employment to population ratio in the country. Assuming that those two factors are the biggest consideration, I wonder why Darwin is the last place people want to migrate to.

Of the 20+ million people in Australia, Darwin is only home to about ~130k. The main economic drivers of the State are defence, mining, tourism, construction, and govt (public admin, hospital, and safety etc).

Some people are concerned with the higher living cost most of which is taken up by rental but regardless of the rent what use is there if you cannot find a job? Rent for a 2 bedroom unit, rent ranges from $400-450/wk which is not that dissimilar to Sydney. And if you are planning on buying, 2 bedroom apartments (within 10km of the citycentre, sizes range from 80-120 sqm) can be had for $380-450k.

Yes, the cost of living is higher if you choose to eat out all the time. I do not deny that a meal at a restaurant would cost more than a similar meal down South. Average cost of coffee is $4-5 as opposed to $3-4 down South.

Carparking: starts at $1.20/hr to a flat rate of $5-7/day. Free on the weekends. Try finding me free carparking in another capital city?

Tax time: You get a tax rebate for being in Darwin. Annually my accountant often ask if I went camping, apparently I get money back for that too.

Leave: If you work in the public sector, it is a given that you get 6 weeks paid leave (cashable).

Weather: Unlike the Southern States, we do not get the winter chills of the 40+C heat wave as its closer to the equator. Based on the BOM monthly averages, temp range from 21-33C. The only thing that changes is the humidity level. I love the weather but the force is extremely weak with Yoda on this one. He needs to be kept in the freezer.

Often I also get asked “Is there a Chinatown”. Well, there isn’t but it is only because of the fact that Darwin is so multicultural that the whole city feels like ‘Chinatown’. It has a very high migrant population - about 27 per cent of the population is born overseas. Population is made up of Greeks, Chinese, Pinoys, Indonesians, East Timorese, Fijians and other Pacific Islands as well as the African nations.

And if you are ever homesick, I just got tickets to fly home for $170 (return taxes included). Bali on sale is about $100 (return, taxes included). With such cheap fares, I might have to fly back for Yoda’s wedding to Princess Leia.

At the end of the day, its not the place for everyone. The population is very transient, make no mistake, people are here for one thing, make money and leave, or use it as a stepping stone to bigger things. But even as I reach my long 10 years of service leave (i.e paid leave for 3months or ½ pay for 6months) and have the opportunity move to another State, I still find it hard to leave this Jewel in the North.


  1. Hot and humid weather. White sandy beach but can't swim due to full of croc..

  2. Hot and humid weather. White sandy beach but can't swim due to full of croc..