A New Face for Darwin Revealed

The new Darwin Waterfront Master Plan was developed with core principles of;
  • realising the value of pre-existing capital infrastructural investments within the precinct,
  • creating Australia’s first public realm facing integrated resort, leisure and lifestyle precinct
  • a city shaping catalyst project to spur economic growth and improve liveability
  • to acknowledge and incorporate the heritage, culture and traditions of Darwin.

Video supplied by Darwin Waterfront Corporation.

Two years in the making, the new face for Darwin has been revealed by Darwin Waterfront Corporation.  What started as a review of the existing developments aquatic facilities, was reimagined in partnership with Place Design Group and Liquid Blu into Australia’s leading public facing leisure and entertainment destination.

The vision for the revitalised Darwin waterfront includes a central cove lagoon with an integrated surf park, improved pubic parklands, waterfront pools and public amenities with a rooftop parkland, adventure playground, a swim with the fish tropical lagoon experience and the potential for integrated resorts. The public realm interventions play a key role in supporting and activating existing underutilised investments in the convention centre, cruise ship terminal, existing retail and commercial

The vision focused around designing for people and place, a vibrant public realm that could be explored. A place for recreation, a place to highlight Darwin’s heritage and cultural history. Better connectivity through the precinct and to the CBD was a key driver of the master plan.

Image supplied by Darwin Waterfront Corporation.

Image supplied by Darwin Waterfront Corporation.

The Waterfront Pool has been reimagined as a public water play attraction that enables visitors to interact with multiple experiences throughout the precinct. The waterfront pool amenities and adjoining services sit beneath a rooftop parkland that is inspired by the Northern Territory landscape through the wet and dry seasons.  Incorporating a tropical resort style experience, the design incorporated activation areas such as a children’s exploration pool, destination adventure playground, billabong cascade water play, resort style leisure pool, a café, cabanas, restaurant & bar, function spaces, as well as commercial opportunity – all offering plenty of opportunity for shade to escape the high temperatures of the Northern Territory.

A key move for the revitalisation of the waterfront was the landscape beautification of the inward side of the storm surge revetment walls to form a green backdrop to new public parklands that run along the interface. The parkland offering will see the existing water body transformed into a tropical Lagoon incorporating existing seawater and marine life. It is already a healthy environment, so to avoid as little disruption as possible, the decision was made to further develop this space into an interactive marine environment. One where it can be used for recreation, as well as education. A place where universities can use the lagoon to propagate local corals and fish and understand the marine life. New technologies such as underwater 3D printed reef structures would be installed to aid in the growth of the coral reef ecosystems.

Image supplied by Darwin Waterfront Corporation.

The secondary purpose of the Tropical Lagoon would be to encourage more tourism. By providing areas for snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming with fish (safely from sharks, crocodiles and stingers) in their saltwater, natural environment is a huge drawcard. One that will help activate and create new opportunities for the adjoining commercial businesses.

Link Park, as its name suggests, is a lifestyle hub linking cruise ship visitors, hotel guests and the local community through an arbour link to the hotel, children’s pump track and provides a stunning arrival experience for the cruise ships.

Central Cove is where all the water action happens. Where higher energy aqua play offers tech driven surf experiences for all levels. Featuring a controlled wave-making system, Central Cove is a destination feature of the precinct, designed to pump out a one-to six-foot-high garden of waves for locals to enjoy and tourists to flock to.

The master plan extends the vision to include an integrated resort, strategically positioned next to Central Cove. This is a unique opportunity to build a world-first swim-in, swim-out resort with access to the artificial surf break.

The revitalised Darwin waterfront is a significant economic opportunity for the city of Darwin. A vision that leverages exiting infrastructure with leading public realm design to create a precinct like no other in Australia.  By giving Darwin Waterfront a new face, it will transform and unlock the city to create a more energised, better connected, and highly activated public place that locals love, and tourists will want to visit.

For more information on this project:

Clint Wood