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Talking Location with Renee Conoulty – Darwin, Australia

20th December 2016

TalkingLocationWith… author Renee Conoulty who shares her experience of Darwin

My debut novel, Don’t Mean a Thing, is set in the tropical Top End of Australia.


Don’t Mean a Thing – on location at the outdoor dancefloor at Nightcliff Jetty as featured in the book

My husband is in the Royal Australian Air Force, and just over four years ago we moved to Darwin for his job. When I found out we were moving, I went looking for books to read that would give me a feel for this new place before we got there (if only I knew about TripFiction back then!) but I could only find one, and it was set before I was born. When I decided to write a novel last year, I used a combination of “write what you know” and “write the book you want to read”. All the characters in my book are fictitious, but the settings are all real. My research on the location was all done via personal experience.

I set my novel in Darwin, because that’s where I’m living. Darwin is the most northern point of defence of Australia, with active Army, Navy and Air Force bases, so I chose a military career for my heroine. My research on the finer details of the military involved picking my husband’s brains over a cup of tea – in the air conditioning – Darwin is hot all year round. The days are usually in the low to mid 30s (Celsius) and nights get down to low 20s but the level of humidity changes throughout the year. There’s low humidity in the dry season (May to October – best time to visit) and high humidity in the wet season (November to April). The other element I wove into my story is swing dancing. I love swing dancing and was excited to find a fantastic group of swing dancers in Darwin.


Wangi Falls at Litchfield National Park

I took my heroine around Darwin to do some of my favourite things. Swing dancing in the open air at Nightcliff jetty on a Sunday afternoon or at the Railway Club on a Wednesday night. The dance classes are free and open to anyone to join. It’s lots of fun, and the views at Nightcliff are gorgeous.

Most people have heard of Kakadu, but there’s also another National Park, that’s easily accessible for a day trip. My hero takes my heroine on a picnic date to Litchfield National Park. The great thing about Litchfield is all the waterfalls and swimming holes are much closer together and you don’t need to pay for a permit to visit.

My heroine also visits Crocosauraus Cove. No trip to Darwin is complete without seeing a crocodile. There are several wildlife parks to choose from, but if you’re staying in the city, Crocosaurus is the easiest to get to.

Talking Location with Renee Conoulty

Sunset at Mindil Beach on a market night

Darwin beaches aren’t the best for swimming, there’s a risk of crocodiles all year round and stinging jellyfish during the wet season. The beaches are great to watch the sunset though. If you come to Darwin in the dry season, I recommend going to Mindil Beach night markets to watch the sunset with a crowd of strangers – the atmosphere is amazing and the food stalls are fantastic.

These are just some of the things you can do in Darwin, there are lots more (maybe even enough for another book or two). Just be prepared to sweat.

Thank you so much to Renee for sharing her thoughts on locale. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and via her blog. You can buy her book here.

Do come and connect with Team TripFiction via Twitter (@tripfiction), Facebook (TripFiction), Instagram (TripFiction) and Pinterest (TripFiction)… and now YouTube

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