The Top End's regional centre Darwin, has grown from a pioneer outpost and small port into one of Australia's most modern and multicultural cities.
The Stuart Highwaybegins in Darwin, ending at Port Augusta in South Australia. The city itself is built on a low bluff overlooking the harbour. Like the rest of the Top End, Darwin has a tropical climate, with a wet (Dec-Mar) and a dry (May-Sep) season. The city is noted for its consistently warm to hot climate, all throughout the year. It receives heavy rainfall during the Wet, and is well known for its spectacular lightning.
The original inhabitants of the greater Darwin area are the Larrakia people. On 9 September 1839, HMS Beagle sailed into Darwin harbour during its surveying of the area. John Clements Wickham named the region "Port Darwin" in honour of their former shipmate Charles Darwin, who had sailed with them on the ship's previous voyage which had ended in October 1836. The settlement there became the town of Palmerston in 1869, and was renamed Darwin in 1911. Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II, and again after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the city is one of Australia's most modern capitals.