The flourishing and relaxed capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin is the launching pad to exploring the Top End of Australia.
Credit: Tourism Australia
Darwin continues to grow in popularity as a holiday destination, with international and domestic travellers seeking out the adventurous outdoor escape.
Stunning scenery everywhere you look and memorable experiences extending far beyond the city centre. A glistening harbour with a significant WW2 history and a laidback outdoor lifestyle, plus swimming lagoons and an aqua park. A visit to Darwin will reawaken your sense of adventure and a new appreciation for the Australian landscape and the great outdoors.
From Darwin you can venture further to some of the country’s most culturally significant and equally beautiful areas like Litchfield National Park, Kakadu National Park, and the Tiwi Islands. Pack your thongs and your camera and get amongst the true-blue Aussie way of living in Darwin.
Things to Do and See in Darwin
You are officially in croc country, and Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of the city is home to one of the largest saltwater crocodiles in captivity. There are croc feedings and plenty to learn about the species. Those who are feeling brave can enter the ‘Cage of Death’ and be submerged in the croc’s territory – staying well protected by the clear tube you’re sitting in.
Each season in Darwin provides varying fishing conditions and catches. Jan-March sees the waterways connecting after heavy wet season rainfall, meaning fishing opportunities are vast. Between March and June is a fantastic time to fish for barramundi whilst the dry season of May to September sees a peak in bluewater fishing.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
From April to October, visit the Mindil Markets by the waterfront on Thursday or Sunday evenings. Stroll through the speciality stalls and shop goods ranging from artwork and homewares to food trucks and fashion.
The meeting hub of Darwin for locals and visitors. Filled with places to cool off, parks for the kids, walkways for a stroll in the sunshine, plus 20 venues to wind down over a meal at lunch or dinner.
The sunsets in Darwin are magic. Enjoy a cruise along the water and watch the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colour.
Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory (MAGNT)
Take a walk through this fantastic gallery, showcasing cultural, historic, and scientific collections. Entry is free, and the discovery centre is a great place for kids to get involved with interactive exhibits.
Territory Wildlife Park
In Berry Springs just 45 minutes from Darwin. Visit the wildlife park and the many species here, including pelicans, snakes, echidnas, emus, and wallabies.
Take a dip
At one of the waterfront lagoons. The Beach is the man-made patrolled beach with free entry, the Aqua Park is an inflatable playground on water, and the wave lagoon is a large wave pool that’s fun for the whole family.
During the dry season, sit back and enjoy local, international, and foreign films under the stars at the Darwin Deckchair Cinema. The outdoor cinema is located by the Darwin Harbour and is serviced by a licensed kiosk selling food and drinks.
Where to Eat and Drink in Darwin
The city of Darwin is surprisingly a bit of a foodie haven. The freshly caught seafood and proximity to Asia lends to delightful culinary experiences.
Top Rated Darwin Restaurants
Pee Wee’s at the Point
Tucked on East Point overlooking the water and surrounded by beautiful bushland. Enjoy a menu inspired by the local produce, accompanied by carefully selected bottles of Australian and International wines.
The Darwin Club
A modern seafood restaurant on the Darwin Esplanade in the Old Admiralty House. Order a shellfish platter or locally caught fish, and pair with sparkling champagne or a delicious cocktail.
From the same owners as The Darwin Club, Char Restaurant is less seafood, more steakhouse with modern dishes in a charming alfresco setting.
Sit back and relax on the outdoor deck at Sandbar in the Mindil Beach Casino Resort. Nothing beats watching the sunset in Darwin with pizza and a delicious cold drink in hand.
The Hilton Darwin is where you will find the sophisticated interiors and fresh Australian cuisine of PepperBerry restaurant. Stay cool indoors and be treated to award-winning hospitality.
Laneway Speciality Coffee
For the coffee mad visitors, Laneway is the place to start your day. This trendy café in Parap is a favourite amongst locals and has a tasty coffee and brunch/lunch menu.
Wharf One Food & Wine
Stop in to enjoy a casual dinner on the waterfront.
One of the newer kids on the block, Phat Mango is bringing elevated dining and quality service and meals to Darwin City.
Yots Greek Taverna
For a taste of Greece, pay a visit to Yots in Larrakeyah. Come for the authentic Greek cuisine, stay for the friendly service and atmosphere.
Day Trips from Darwin
Litchfield National Park
Hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to Litchfield National Park each year. The park covers around 1500 square kilometres, and is filled with water holes, cascading waterfalls and lush greenery that is a stark contrast to the barren landscape around it.
Known (adorably) as the ‘Island of Smiles’ – the Tiwi Islands are 80km off the coast of the mainland, accessible with a 2.5-hour ferry ride from Darwin. With a mostly indigenous population, be prepared to immerse yourself in a fantastic cultural experience with the welcoming and warm locals.
Mary River National Park
An hour east of Darwin is the wetlands of the Mary River. Visit in the dry season and head to Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve, where hundreds of species of birds put on a show. Fish for barramundi or sports fish in the river.
Where to Stay in Darwin
Choose to stay in the city centre, on the waterfront or in close-by Mindil Beach or Parap.
Darwin’s Best Hotels:
- Mindil Beach Casino and Resort
- Vibe Hotel Darwin
- Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites
- Hilton Darwin
- Palms City Resort
- Youth Shack Backpackers
- Club Tropical Resort Darwin
How to Get Around Darwin
Given the compact size – Darwin is the smallest capital city in Australia – you can easily make your way around the city centre on foot and cycle to nearby suburbs. Most accommodation is close to the main attractions and amenities.
For day trips out of Darwin you can hire a car or join a day tour with several companies offering guided tours to Litchfield, Tiwi Islands, crocodile, and harbour cruises.
Darwin is spectacular to see from above – helicopter scenic flights are exhilarating as you look down to the city, the stretches of landscape and the glistening ocean.
Bus with a Tap and Ride ticket. This gives you 10 bus trip fares on Darwin buses. Public buses also take passengers to and from the airport into the city, and the surrounding suburbs.
Rideshare and taxis operate in Darwin.
Things You Need to Know About Darwin
Saltwater crocodiles are present in Australia’s Top End. Be aware of this, and check for signage before entering any water. Crocodiles are natural predators and can stay well hidden.
Darwin operates in wet and dry season. Many of the attractions shut over the wet season due to the excessive and constant rainfall – meaning a holiday is best in the dry season. The humidity in the wet season can also get pretty unbearable!
The dry season runs from May to October, and the wet season is November to April.
Darwin is considered a relatively safe city, but as with any major city precautions should always be taken. Take care walking at night and don’t leave valuable items unattended. Always be on the lookout for the dangerous wildlife too – crocodiles, as well as venomous snakes and spiders can be deadly.