Darwin Airport Reviews
Airport clues Mar 09, 2010
As the front door to the top half of the world (pretty much the rest of the plant) you might expect the Darwin airport to be magnificent. That expectation would be unfulfilled. Darwin airport is more of a back door or perhaps a “top hatch” is more appropriate.
The airport is a stone throw from the air force base and the runways are shared by fighter planes when things are hot. The terminal seemed to me to be under construction but that may have been because many of my flights in and out were on a little UN plane and we got ushered through all the service entrances.
The ground floor of the single terminal building is like any other small airport; long and narrow. Toilets and a water fountain are at one end. The check-in counters are at the opposite end. The two ends are separated by the gates to departure lounges upstairs, a single baggage carousel and a few shops (car rental, food, money exchange).
Arrivals and departures are all through the upstairs area. This large area, divided into domestic and international lounges, seemed to be full of people at all hours. Chairs were full of dozing adults, stressed parents or excited children. On one side shops and restaurants do a roaring trade, the other a glass wall with a door outside for those who want a last cigarette before their confinement in a smoke-free plane.
As far as the duty free shop is concerned, there’s just one. It stocked all the items everyone wants to buy but the selection is limited as far as brands.
Being 11km from downtown Darwin city the regular method of getting to and from is in the shuttle. The closest bus is a 20min walk to the main road so shuttle or taxi is most convenient.
This shuttle service is organised around the flight schedule so if you want to get to the airport you need to book in time for your flight. With a cost of AU$12 one way and a return being AU$21 it’s better value than one of the taxis.
Obviously I have left Australia from this airport whenever I returned to Timor Leste. The most unexpected thing was the AU$49 departure tax that must be paid before going through the passenger screening process into the departure lounges. I did say the airport felt like it was being rebuilt, I’m sure all the tax the UN staff have paid as they transit through here to mission will see a very impressive development beginning any day now.
Part of the Coffee and Crocodiles travel blog
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