City Guide: Creative Director Nina Fitzgerald’s favourite spots

  • City Guide: Creative Director Nina Fitzgerald’s favourite spots in Darwin

    Creative Director Nina Fitzgerald's favourite spots in Darwin

    “I really admire the raw and random beauty of both the people and the places. It’s so diverse, with so much colour and movement.”

    Here at Fashion Journal, we want to unearth the hidden spots in Australian cities that only the locals know about. There’s no gatekeeping here – this is a breakdown of the best bits of our cities. We want the underrated date spots, favourite restaurants, treasure trove op shops and the bars people will always want to go back to.

    This week, we’re exploring Darwin with Nina Fitzgerald, the Creative Director of Going North and the founder of Laundry Gallery. As a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, Nina lives and works on Larrakia Country, the beloved home where she was born and raised. Describing the lifestyle as “freeing”, Nina feels most at home wading through the oceans of the tropical north.

    Balancing many hats in her professional life (writing, creative direction, photography and curation), Nina loves to immerse herself in Darwin’s laid-back, relaxed lifestyle. “It’s an endless summer with long accessible coastlines and ocean views aplenty,” she tells me. “The city faces west, so the glowing sun is watched by the whole town as it disappears into the ocean each night from the numerous harbourside spots.”

    According to Nina, you’ll never find yourself bored in the “raw and random beauty of the people and the places [in Darwin]”. In addition to beautiful oceans and some of the country’s best national parks, the city also holds a unique charm.

    “People come from all walks of life, representing many cultures and lived experiences,” Nina says. “Weathered cowboys, young professionals, creatives and travellers from interstate and abroad. There’s truly no place as wild or wonderful the world over.”

    “Everything is a little off-centre, which only adds to the charm. It doesn’t quite make sense from afar, but once you see it and experience it exceeds your expectations tenfold. We’re also so fortunate to be connected so closely to diverse Indigenous populations and cultures. You can really learn from and authentically experience the oldest living cultures on Earth.” Read on for her recommendations.

    For an afternoon beverage, Nina recommends The Trader Bar. Specialising in gin, cocktails and wine (and also serving coffee, for those wanting more of a perk-up), The Trader Bar is a contemporary spot located in an old converted Darwin home. For a slightly different vibe, Nina also suggests Lola’s Pergola or live music destination, Darwin Ski Club.

    Fusing modern cooking techniques, seasonal local produce and the dynamic flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine, Ella by Minoli is Nina’s top restaurant pick. Minoli De Silva is the chef behind Darwin’s very first Masterchef restaurant, serving up delicious food from Wednesday to Sunday.

    With her experience working in the Australian fashion space, Nina’s familiar with Darwin’s emerging design talent. For shopping, she recommends clothing and apparel retailer House of Darwin. “It’s a local social enterprise that makes threads celebrating the Nothern Territory while giving back to support Indigenous youth in remote communities,” she explains.

    Nina’s very own spot, Laundry Gallery, is also undoubtedly worth a visit. The multidisciplinary creative hub is housed in an old ’70s laundromat, with a focus on fostering emerging and existing talent with a story to tell. Laundry Gallery represents ‘modern iterations of Indigenous arts and cultures and provides an accessible pathway for age-old songlines to co-exist with the modern world’.

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