Darwin’s Best Boutique Shopping

The capital of the Northern Territory isn’t known for its shopping, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. Beyond Aboriginal artwork and market handicrafts, there are plenty of stylish boutiques to outfit travelers in fresh swimwear and modern Australian fashion. There are also precious local pearls, second-hand books, natural body products, and anything one could ever want made out of crocodile skin. These great boutiques deserve more than a window shop.

32 Smith St, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia
At Read Back you get two for one: a secondhand book shop and an Aboriginal art gallery. The ground floor is packed with shelves holding pre-loved books, CDs and videos, while the gallery upstairs displays works by Aboriginal artists from Darwin and all over the Northern Territory. The knowledgeable owner is passionate about both the paintings and the artists, and the prices are good. There’s also a workspace for the artists upstairs, so you might get to see a work in progress during your visit.

Darwin City NT, Australia
The owners of this playful shop, Jo and Micko, are passionate about handcrafted, natural body care. That led to the launch of a range of sensory products in 1999. But their love for design and vintage fashion got the better of them, resulting in a limited-edition range of garments as well. In addition to the racks of timeless dresses and petticoats, visitors can buy fragrant perfumes, soy candles and soaps made from essential oils, clays, seeds, and no palm oil. Varieties range from coconut and spearmint to “pussy wash,” “ass wash,” and “cock wash"—for the cats, donkeys and roosters among us.
Shop 4, The Vic Complex, 27 The Mall, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia
There aren’t many other places in the world where you can buy luxury bags, wallets, belts and jewelry made from local crocodile skins. Welcome to the Northern Territory. Di Croco in Darwin offers some of the finest products from the most valuable of all croc skins—that of the saltwater crocodile, which has a beautifully intricate small-scale pattern. The shop works with two of the eight licensed crocodile farms in Australia and is involved in every step of the process from procuring skins to tanning, finishing and making hardware. An Italian-made collection features bags with custom-made lining designed by one of the artists of the Merrepen arts community in the Daly River Region of the Northern Territory. A beautiful red handbag could set you back $5,000 AUD, but it’s a bargain compared to the high fashion houses, and a literal piece of the Northern Territory that you can take home.
Charles Darwin Centre, 5/19 Smith Street, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia
Connect with Northern Australia‘s rich pearling industry at Paspaley, a dealer of fine pearls and jewelry that’s become an authority on the fragile pinctada maxima oyster and a leader in sustainable aquaculture practices. On top of environmental and social responsibility—the company donates to a number of Australian charities—Paspaley is committed above all to quality, turning only five percent of its South Sea pearl harvest into lustrous earrings, necklaces and rings. Some collections combine pearls with other Australian treasures including opals, too. The beautiful creations shoppers find today are the product of 80 years of craftsmanship.
18 Knuckey Street
Chances are you didn’t pack light enough for the Northern Territory—that is, with enough lightweight clothing and swimwear to withstand the humidity and heat. Luckily, Splash on Knuckey has you covered. Or can help cover you in a way that doesn’t cause overheating. The centrally located boutique has been in business for more than 18 years and carries the top names in Australian swimwear, including Seafolly, Tigerlily, Jets and Baku in all shapes and sizes including plus sizes. Splash also carries stylish jumpsuits, coverups, sandals, sun dresses, hats, active wear and lingerie.
4/38 Parap Rd, Darwin City NT 0820, Australia
Focusing on casual and comfortable styles for men and women that suit the Northern Territory climate and lifestyle, Country Classics has become a local standby in the Parap district for its hip collection of international brands. From lightweight Mesop Heidi dresses to sleek styles by Sacha Drake and wood-and-leather Bueno wedges, handmade in Turkey, women are spoiled for choice. Men have some nice options too, from Ben Sherman and Hugo Boss to Amsterdam-based Scotch & Soda.
29 Cavenagh Street
Follow the fern-lined stairwell up to this inviting shop that brims with teapots, dishes, ladies’ clothing, makeup, natural body products and jewelry, from the funky to the fine. Elevated hand-selects quality Australian brands such as Samantha Robinson ceramics, Dr Hauschka, Leina Broughton, and Elk accessories (pictured). No wonder it’s a long-running favorite.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks