Married with a toddler, Jerusha Harper-Ceylani is the Groups, Conference and Events Sales Manager for Hilton Northern Territory Cluster, looking after large conferences from the local market and interstate clients wanting to bring their residential conferences to the Territory. She also focuses on incentive groups who want their clients to experience a ‘Top End Experience’. Originally from the UK, Jerusha has been living in Darwin since 2015 and has loved every minute of her time here.
What do you love most about living in Darwin?
We, as a family, truly have an amazing life here in Darwin. We take advantage of all the incredible things that are on offer to us. We embrace the outdoors, we enjoy our weekend camping trips, excursions to the watering holes, and local taverns on the drive back to the city. We know where to get the best laksa at Parap Market on a Saturday morning and where to get the best trio of burgers - Humpty Doo Tavern - and where to lay around the pool and feel like you are on holiday even though we live a five minute drive away – Mindil Beach Casino Resort. Living in Larrakeyah is like a tropical paradise as we get the best sky views from our apartment and can feel like we are a million miles away from the CBD, yet I can walk to work in eight minutes. Darwin is our home. We love every minute of being here. It’s where we intend to see our family grow. We have been truly blessed to live in such a wonderful place. There is so much to experience and see. Why live anywhere else.
What do you love most about the Darwin community?
Darwin isn’t a huge place and I love that in some ways everyone knows everyone. Looking after three large hotels in Darwin has meant I constantly deal with businesses all over the Territory and have built up a strong connection with many people. Even when doing my weekly shop in Woolworths, I run into at least five people who I have worked with regarding events.
When I gave birth to my son Bertie, who is now two, at the Royal Darwin Hospital I joined an antenatal group program. This meant I connected with ten other new mums. To this day, this was one of the best things I have ever done as I still regularly catch up with these ladies and our children are the best of friends - many of which are born and bred Darwinites. Now, I would certainly class my son as a Territory bush baby, who adores being outside. Every weekend we are out and taking full advantage of the many things to do in Darwin and certainly the weather helps. We enjoy Baby Cinos at the Nightcliff Foreshore Cafe, then a nice walk with friends up to the jetty. Then when it gets just that little bit too hot, going for a swim at the local Nightcliff pool or driving to Leanyer Waterpark does the trick. There are also many great causes here in Darwin to support and get involved with, such as taking part in the Santa Fun Run for the children’s charity, Variety, the Starlight Foundation Charity and volunteering at Vinnies in Coconut Grove.
What is the best thing about the wet season?
The wet season really brings out all of nature’s true beauty, especially the fantastic lightning shows that we enjoy watching from our balcony – it’s like the sky has its own form of artwork. I had the opportunity to capture a bird’s eye view of Jim Jim Falls during the wet where everything is so green and the water cascades down in full force. You can see birds flying, too. It’s truly a natural wonder. Another thing I love to do in the wet is head out to the Fogg Dam Reserve. During the wet it’s amazing to experience the spectacular wetlands and wildlife. There are lots of walks to enjoy and an amazing lookout which gives you a view over the wetlands. Here, you can catch a picture perfect view of all the water lilies in bloom and then if you look extra carefully a pair of eyes might happen to make an appearance.
What is something you can only do during the wet season?
In all honesty, the tropical light show of these amazing storms that hit Darwin is something else. It’s one of those things that people actually get out of bed to watch. It’s also something that you need to experience firsthand to really experience the drama and beauty.
What is the most important fact you want potential visitors to know about Darwin?
That it’s a hidden gem. There is so much to see and experience for all age groups. People assume that Darwin is this quiet place with very little to do. However, I believe that whether you’re only here for a weekend or have lived here for years you will never get bored of the amazing things you can only experience here. Darwin is a fascinating place. There’s a recognisable atmosphere of the tropics meeting the outback, combined with a fascinating history, a thriving multicultural community, and an array of unique cultural experiences which presents a bright future of exciting things to come. There’s so much to do for families with young kids, young people and plenty for nature lovers, such as taking in the views from the top of the Gunlom Plunge Pool in Kakadu or walking down the trail to Florence Falls in Litchfield and cooling off in the crisp, cool water. People need to understand that Darwin is unlike anywhere else in Australia. Its history, culture and people continue to evolve and make a mark on today’s world.
What has been your best Darwin experience in the last few months?
There are so many it’s hard to choose from but I really enjoyed Bass in the Grass. What an amazing event from start to finish. I was a little concerned that it would be a very young event so purchased the VIP package as I wanted to enjoy the acts and be amongst the crowds but have the luxury of kicking back and enjoying a drink in a quieter area. This event proved that Darwin can compete with other major cities to put on a fabulous event and highlights the future of great things to come. Although that was probably my top event, I’m also a big supporter of all local events such as the Territory Taste Festival, the Graze Festival, and the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. I’ve enjoyed the dancing at the Greek Glenti weekend, watched ‘Top End Wedding’ under the stars at the Deck Chair Cinema, and attended the V8 supercars and Dinner en Blanc.
How do you benefit from sharing your experiences of Darwin?
In my role it's all about driving business to the Territory as well as Tourism Top End, which I love, as I truly believe that Darwin and the Top End have something very special to offer. I see it as an honour and a privilege to share my experiences of Darwin and that of my family as this place has given us so much. Last Christmas 23 of us shared an Orphan’s Christmas - there’s certainly not many places you would get to enjoy that. It’s also lovely to be able to show my family where we live. My parents who are retired come and visit each year for four to six weeks. When they visit, we usually head out to Kakadu, Litchfield or Daly Waters to camp. We try and show them a different side to the Northern Territory and I’m all for that.