Darwin Blog

Rendezvous Cafe
Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin


This probably isn’t really a Best Kept Secret in Darwin, but it constantly amazes me how there are still people in town who do not know that this is quite simple the “best laksa in town!”

I love eating at this place and if I could, I would at least two to three times a week.  At best, I get to eat her once a fortnight – just the nature of my job.

You need to ring and book a table – the booths are small and there is nothing worse then craving one of these laksas and getting there to find out they are booked out.  In saying that, I believe they would turn those tables over two to three times each lunch time.

Now one thing I have learnt in taking a guest here – most people come to eat the laksa – don’t order a bacon and egg sandwich – even if there is one on offer on the menu – just not the done thing! 

The laksas are superb and when I was pregnant, my stomach couldn’t handle the richness of the laksa so, I had the beef rendang.  I can also recommend this, along with the Malaysian chicken rice.  The best thing is, if you can’t fit a normal size laksa in, they will do a small serve – how accommodating.  Prawn toast is good here also, just in case you need to nibble while waiting for the laksa – which really the service is so fast, I’d put money on you getting the laksa before the prawn toast.

To eat here is cheap round $10/ $12 for a laksa and drink.


Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin


Need some invitations, fliers or photocopying done in a hurry?  This is the place to go.

I have been using Copytime for years and especially for invitations.  Most recently, I had them print our Christmas cards, although as I sit here typing I still haven’t sent one as yet – I guess that is what I will be doing tomorrow!

Great selcetion of paper and card available here. They will also cut to size for a small fee. The dude that seems to run the shop and who has been there forever, Colin, is very helpful.  A couple of the younger staff have an attitude, especially when they are busy.  I guess that is so Gen Y these days, but they need to remember – people are paying for a service!

They also have an outlet at Casuarina Shopping Square.  I prefer the one in Smith Street.

Parap Newsagency
Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 12:14 pm
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin


I am a bit of a newsagency/ stationary store addict.

I go out of my way to go to Parap Newsagency, as my closest newsagent is at Nightcliff.  In fact, Deborah and Phil used to own the Nightcliff Newsagency, which we used to patronise a lot.

What impresses me about Deborah and Phil is how they get to know each of their clients, personally.  Even though we were their clients at Nightcliff, they still remember us when we go to their Parap store.  That is perhaps one of the main reasons I like going to their store.

Parap Newsagency has all the latest newspapers and magazines and has a well priced stationary section, which I often visit and purchase from.

All the same, Deborah had a knack of ordering in a lovely range of giftware at very reasonable prices at their Nightcliff store when they had it and I especially loved buying gifts at Easter and Christmas.  I am not sure if they are doing this at the Parap store and will need to check next time I am there.

Now, if you like good quality olive oil, Phil and Deborah stock Brini from the Adelaide Hills (cold pressed extra virgin olive oil).  Not sure how much it is, as we were very fortunate to be given a bottle as a gift – I will be going back for more.

The Nightcliff Newsagency has new owners, not as friendly, but by the same token we don’t go in their as much.  There is a range of gifts (also reasonably priced) and they still do have one of the best greeting card selections in town.  By the way, the stationary range is not to bad either.

Real Estate Agents
Monday, 6 October, 2008, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin

Okay, I avoid real estate agents if I can, but this guy I believe is the real deal.

I find him to be an honest (okay I can hear you all sighing) and good natured fellow.

Out of all the agents here in Darwin, if I was to put my market on the home tomorrow, I would choose this guy.  Why you ask?  Well, I personally believe he is really working for me.  He is honest and frank, but also realistic about what you will get.  I have a fairly good intuition when it comes to people and I get a really good vibe off him.  Whilst I haven’t put my home on the market, I first met Andy through some charity work he undertook.

In fact, he is always helping someone out.  He is very generous with his time and I believe he is one of those people that shares his good fortune.

Though we did get him to do a market appraisal of our home and I believe he provided a fair and honest appraisal.

I am willing to say, if I do put my home on the market, I would back up what I have written and use Andy Hinks – that I promise you.

Monday, 6 October, 2008, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin

This store is a Darwin institution, not sure how long it has been here, but I suspect it is as long as I have lived in Darwin.

They have such a great range of product and it is definitely the place to go for that special gift, especially fine crystal.  They have all the upper end brands, prices are reasonable and the service is personalised and top notch.

Each year, I particularly love to go in and buy Christmas decorations.  You have to be quick as they go out the door, including the Waterford 12 days of Christmas range of glassware.  It also has a great range of Kris Kringle gifts at very reasonable prices.  This is the place to buy your mum something really special. 

There is a good range of kitchen wares including Scanpans.  I have bought a number of things for my kitchen from here including Bodum plungers.  There is also a comprehensive range of silicone kitchen utensils in great colours.

This store also has many little things that you would not expect to find any where else – too many to mention in this write up.

Australiana Quiz Night
Monday, 24 March, 2008, 1:01 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin


It has been sometime since it was Australia Day, but so much happens in Darwin over the Australia Day weekend, that this event is so worthy of a mention.

The Australiana Quiz Night was resurrected this year as part of the Australia Day activities (it had been part of the program for a couple of years before being rested) and going by the full room and happy quiz goers after the event, it was a resounding success.

The night is organised by the Australia Day Board in conjunction with the Australia Day NT Office and is an evening of questions about Australia.  The local cartoonist, Colin Wicking, puts together ten rounds of questions all relating to life, politics, culture, sport, arts etc in Australia.  This year’s quiz master was Tony Pickering and in this venue it was handy having someone who knows how to throw their voice and use a mic.

It can be quite an eye opener about how little we all know about our own country.

It was a good night, despite a small stuff up with seating, tickets and the Casuarina Club overselling.  I think a larger venue is in order for next year’s event.  Darwinians love a good quiz night and what better way to celebrate Australia Day!

Value Travel
Monday, 24 March, 2008, 12:51 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin


These days travel agents seem to be becoming extinct, with everyone doing their travel online.

I still use a travel agent from time to time, mainly because I like the idea of receiving service (and I don’t mind paying for it) and perhaps being old enough to remember a time when your travel agent organised your holiday, it sort of is part of the whole experience.

I went to Value Travel because my agent of many years, since she was with Westpac Travel (when they had a travel arm), was Jean Lee.  She is the best when it comes to travel agents.

Jean now works for Value Travel and she is the first person I go to when I am organising travel.  She is so reliable, always looks for the best possible fares and always has a number of recommendations to be taken into consideration.

The net has taken away some of the luxury and pleasure of dealing with a travel agent, but as long as Jean is doing travel, I will be certainly engaging their services.