The Best Things To Do In Darwin
The location of Darwin in the Northern Territory makes it quite a unique place to visit that’s not often on a traveller’s itinerary. Its proximity to its Asian neighbours means there’s an interesting influence on the culinary scene and has an extensive history, due to the Aboriginal culture that’s woven throughout Darwin. While it’s a little slower than many of Australia’s other major cities, there is still plenty to see and enjoy during your stay. Whether you want to catch a sunset cruise, walk around one of the city’s museums or art galleries, or you just want to sample your way through a night market, Darwin is definitely a place you don’t want to miss.
Australia is known for its beaches, but the sunsets are also pretty spectacular. Darwin is very popular amongst the locals as being the place to go for breathtaking sunset views, so it makes sense that one of the most recommended things to do in the city is to hop on a sunset harbour cruise. Located close to the city centre, these cruises take off right at dusk and provide you with a luxury experience while you enjoy that picture-perfect sunset. Another fun way to enjoy nights in Darwin is to head over to the Deckchair Cinema, which screens an eclectic mix of mainstream and independent films under the stars.
Many visitors who come to Australia want to take time to see some of that iconic wildlife that the country is known for, such as crocodiles. If you really have an adventurous spirit, Crocosaurus Cove is one place you’re not going to want to miss — and if you really need to get the adrenaline going, you might be interested to know that there is a cage swimming opportunity with crocodiles. For those who are a little bit more cautious, there are still ways to experience crocodiles in their natural habitat including crocodile cruises through the Mary River.
Darwin has quite a bar and restaurant scene throughout the city centre and surrounding area — every weekend or evening has some type of market or festival that you can explore to get a variety of tasty treats, such as Vietnamese rice paper rolls or a Greek handmade pie!
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN DARWIN…
Litchfield National Park
Just over an hour drive from Darwin, the Litchfield National Park is a favourite with locals and tourists alike. Experience the Territory, with its cascading waterfalls (make sure you visit Wangi Falls), by swimming in the waterholes, hiking the trails or taking a 4WD tour. Take a few days to enjoy this park by making it a camping trip. See the Magnetic termite mounds – they’re weird but wonderful – and discover the bushwalk tracks; they are as long or short as you desire, but all bring a great experience.
Kakadu National Park
Just a few hours from Darwin, Kakadu’s rugged beauty and ancient history has an almost spiritual effect on visitors – the park will take you back in time! There is so much to see and do, from the towering escarpments, the free-flowing waterfalls, and the mystery of the aboriginal rock art. Stay a few days and select from the range of accommodation. Take a guided tour or enjoy a cruise and see the birdlife and crocs throughout this magical landscape.
Typical Australia – the Adelaide River is actually in Darwin! Take a cruise to see the fearsome salt water crocodiles, which grow up to six metres long; see them feed as they launch themselves out of the water like a rocket! These are guided tours, so you can experience these ancient animals in safety, but also keep an eye out for all the other wildlife that makes this river its home – it will truly amaze! If one day is not enough, maybe come back for a fishing trip a catch a barramundi, or two.
Mary River Wetlands
Around 150 Km east of Darwin, lies one of the greatest concentrations of crocodiles in the vast Mary River Wetlands, with abundant birdlife throughout. Keep an eye out for buffalo and wallabies as you cruise the wetlands. If you want a better view, you can even take an airboat tour! Stay a while and camp in the national park or book hotel accommodation nearby; it’s a great trip during your visit the Northern Territory, and an experience you will never forget.
Cullen Bay is a popular marina just 10 minutes from Darwin. Darwin can be prone to severe weather and the occasional cyclone, and this man-made marina provides an insight to how locals live with the vagaries of the seasons. But Cullen Bay is particularly popular for tits shops, restaurants and bars! It’s a popular place to stay and has a ferry terminal for day trips to local islands.
Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park is a short trip from Katherine, and is a “system” of 13 gorges for you to explore and enjoy. The gorges’ cut their path through the sandstone and provide a spectacular backdrop for you to hike, swim, canoe or just watch. Make it an ultra-special trip and take a helicopter ride to see the gorge system and the adjoining Arnhem Land Plateau. You can even make your visit a camping trip and stay a while and for the serious hikers, there is the 58 km Jatbula Trail!
Located at Doctors Gully, shoals of fish congregate for a “free feed” and daily “orgy”, at high tide each and every day. Originally, it was only mullet that joined the party, but word obviously got around and now a wide range of fish species join the daily event; this has been a tradition for 60 years now! It’s recommended that you read the daily newspaper, or call ahead to check what time the high-tide will be, so you don’t miss out on the action!
Overlooking Darwin Harbour from the Esplanade, Lyons Cottage has had an interesting life. It was the first stone made building in Darwin and has survived cyclones and the bombing of Darwin in WWII. Today, enjoy its architecture, and browse the wide range of high quality indigenous products on sale. Why not drop in as you wander the Esplanade!
Arnhem Land is not just a destination, it is an experience you are unlikely to ever experience again. This sacred land on the northern tip of Australia is truly unique; its landscape is spectacular, and its wildlife abundant. Absorb yourself in the art at Gunbalanya and Yirrkala, go on safari, explore the parks or go fishing! Accommodation ranges from retreats to camping – take your pick and enjoy this ancient land – you will remember this time for the rest of your life!
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is a great way to start your trip, or make sure you have rounded off your visit before you leave. This museum showcases the history of the Territory, its indigenous culture, and even simulates the ferocity of the climate when cyclone Tracy hit Darwin. Visiting exhibitions are always changing, but one thing stays constant – “Sweetheart” the crocodile. This massive croc was the king of the waterways but was unfortunately killed. Never fear, though, it’s being preserved and will welcome you the museum!
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