Set on Darwin’s picturesque waterfront, the Stokes Hill Wharf acts as both a vital part of the city’s history and a popular tourist attraction bursting with al fresco restaurants, waterside bars, and shops. Once the site of the city’s prominent pearling industry and the tragic Bombing of Darwin, the area is now a great place to learn key stories about Darwin and unwind as the sun sets over the pretty views.
The History of the Wharf
In 1885, the Railway Jetty was built in the place the Stokes Hill Wharf now resides. It was smaller in size and was built specially to allow direct transfers between ships and trains in the area. It didn’t last long, though, as the weak timber that was used was eaten by termites. In 1904, the Railway Jetty was replaced by a design that quickly became known as Town Wharf.
Again, the design didn’t last, but it gave the port of Darwin a good service until it was damaged beyond repair in 1942 during the Japanese bombing raids. After the war, an attempt was made to reconstruct the wharf, but it didn’t undergo its complete overhaul until 1961. The Stokes Hill Wharf that remains today began being built in 1953 and, up until the construction of the New Fort Hill Wharf in the early 80s, it was the main general cargo wharf for the city.
Things to Do at Stokes Hill Wharf
As well as check out the selection of restaurants, bars, and shops surrounding the wharf, you can step back in time and learn more about the prominent history that imbues the area.
At the Bombing of Darwin tourist attraction and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility, you can browse stories from the past, and view virtual reality experiences and holographs in displays of cutting edge technology.
Elsewhere, you can enjoy panoramic sea views all year round from the wharf, where you can take in impressive sunsets, take part in fish feeding demonstrations as dusk falls, and listen to free live entertainment during the dry season on Wednesdays and Sundays.
The Stokes Hill Wharf is a key attraction if you’re looking to uncover the turbulent history of Darwin, right from its pearling days, through the war, up until its present reincarnation as a tourist city. Don’t forget to marvel at the views, too, which look out across the stunning expanse of ocean and beyond.