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Here are the secrets to long-term house sitting Darwin and Northern Territory-wide. Do you want to care for lovable pets, stay in Darwin for free and enjoy the incredible tropical views? If so, read on.
What Is House Sitting?
House sitting is a trust-based transaction between a homeowner and a housesitter, who cares for the home and pets while the owner is away, in exchange for free rent and utilities*.
*A minority are paid, but mostly for short periods, or when the house sit requires additional pet health care or property maintenance.
Homeowners save money on boarding for their pets, while increasing security in their homes by having someone there. You save money on accommodation while travelling or saving, all while receiving endless pet snuggles and sniffs. House sits can be short-term (a few days) or long-term (up to a year or more).
After house sitting almost full time for the past two years in Australia, this post contains the secrets that I have learned during that time, so you too can successfully score long-term house-sitting in Darwin (or further afield).
Why House Sitting Darwin?
From my experience, Darwin feels like it’s in a different country to Perth, Sydney or Melbourne. Palm trees, tropical beaches and a ‘frontier’ energy permeate this town to make it feel more like a Pacific island than a mainland Australian city. Darwin is also a gateway to the Northern Territory more broadly, where you can experience one-of-a-kind locations like Uluru, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kakadu National Park.
Unsurprisingly, with a population of only ≈130,000 (compared to 5.3 million in Sydney or 550,000 on the Gold Coast), there were only 10 house sits listed on Aussie House Sitters in the 7 days before this blog was written.
So, if you want to hang around Darwin for the longer term while house sitting, you’ll need to know a few secrets… but shhh, you didn’t hear them from me.
House Sitting Darwin Secrets
Northern Territory (NT) and Darwin Public Holidays
Many people plan their holidays around public holidays, adding any accrued leave from their jobs to the dates in which their workplace is closed. Or, they leave at this time to spend time with friends and family during ‘the holidays’ – especially Christmas and Easter.
If you want to secure a longer house sit in Darwin, being available during these times means that you are much more likely to ‘lock something in’ and will have greater choice than at other times of the year.
|Australia/NT Public Holidays||Date/s|
|New Year’s Day||January 1*|
|Australia Day||January 26|
|Easter (Good Friday, Easter Saturday/Sunday/Monday)||Early-Mid April|
|ANZAC Day||April 25|
|May Day||1st Monday in May|
|Picnic Day||1st Monday in August|
|King’s Birthday||1st Monday in October|
|Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day)||December 24-26#|
#The Holidays Act 1983 provides for an extra public holiday to be added when Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day falls on a weekend.
Just be aware that Darwin has a ‘wet’ season from November to April. Many people leave during this time to travel to other drier parts of the country. If you are happy to wait out the yearly average of 1570mm of rain and humid conditions, you’ll have less competition for house sitting opportunities during this time.
House Sitting Darwin Locations
Waterside suburbs like Fannie Bay and Nightcliff are popular, so if you are willing to move a bit further out in the city, you’ll find that you’ll have a better chance of success. Considering travelling even further out in the state to towns like Katherine, Daly Waters and Alice Springs if longer opportunities arise.
Meet With Homeowners
While Darwin residents are a notoriously laid back and relaxed bunch – homeowners like to get to know the house sitters that will take care of their home – especially long term. For sits over a month, as soon as I’ve spoken to the homeowner over the phone, I try and organise a ‘meet and greet’. If I’m in another city, I let them know the dates that I will be near them and schedule an approximate date to meet.
I believe that this shows commitment to the house sit and this gesture will make you stand out from other applicants. It’s a great opportunity to be introduced to the pets and to get a ‘feel’ for the house, the location and what will be required from you during your stay.
If you meet with difficult or disrespectful homeowners, I’d rather know this before I spend months in their homes! Yet, you often meet with people in person only to find that you quickly bond and agree to the house sit.
Finally, if you want to maximise your chances of getting that long-term house to sit in Darwin, here are some tips:
- Use the ‘Alert’ feature on Aussie House Sitters to be notified via email when house sits of 2-4 weeks/1 month or more are listed and apply as soon as you can – Go to ‘My Account” > ‘Useful Tools’ > ‘My Alerts’ > ‘New Alert’;
- Apply for a Criminal History Check ($50AUD) to reassure homeowners of your suitability;
- Provide a link to your social media accounts and/or full name in your application, so homeowners can ‘Google’ you;
- Keep it all about them – ask questions about where they are going, how they like things done around the house and their preferences. Read their ad, listen carefully and take notes of these for later. Clarify anything unclear about their expectations.
In a trust-based exchange like house sitting, the more that you show yourself to be a considerate and trustworthy house sitter, the more success you’ll have. Once you have a few good references (in addition to being available on public holidays, meeting with owners quickly and being flexible in your choice of location), you’ll be long-term house sitting Darwin and NT-wide before you know it.
See my Mega-Guide to Australia for Digital Nomads.
See my Complete Guide to 50+ Digital Nomad Visas for Australians.
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Kate is a teacher, writer and CEOh of ohnomad.com and teachenglishonline.com.au. After travelling for years, she became a digital nomad/house sitter in 2019. Offline, she’s patting every dog at the park. Online: Twitter/LinkedIn.