City Guide: Darwin

ABOUT DARWIN 

The capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin is well known for its proximity to Kakadu National Park, Katherine Gorge and Litchfield National Park. An interesting fact! Darwin is the only tropical capital city in Australia. Its CBD (downtown) area is noted for its billion dollar redevelopment projects, such as the Stokes Hill Wharf, Darwin Convention Centre, and an array of boutiques and restaurants. Darwin offers a relaxing vibe with and a true blue Australian outback experience. Beautiful museums showcase the history of the city, while galleries showcase the beauty of local indigenous artists.

 

MUST SEE DARWIN 

Crocosaurus Cove –also known as Darwin Crocodile Park– is a sure thrill of a place! Here you will get to see crocs up close and learn all about their predatory lives and the crocodile conservation efforts in the area. There’s a state-of-the-art aquarium that houses six of Australia’s largest crocodiles here too –that you can’t miss! Other Aussie critters can also be found here, such as turtles, barramundi, sting rays, and a variety of reptiles.

Within Darwin’s Waterfront precinct, there are plenty of amazing places to visit such as the Deckchair Cinema, Stokes Hill Wharf, the Darwin Convention Centre, the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels and the Indo-Pacific Marine Exhibition. The precinct imparts a combination of historical and modern attractions plus a wide selection of dining options ranging from outdoor eateries to fine seafood bistros.

For nature lovers, there is a large array of places to explore in and around Darwin, from East Point Reserve to Lake Alexander, George Brown Darwin Botanical Garden, the fish (and marine life) feeding sanctuary of Aquascene and Casuarina Coastal Reserve. There are plenty of opportunities for wonderful walks and stunning photography.

For art lovers, be sure to include The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory on your to do list. There are museum collections here as well as regular exhibitions passing through. There is some incredibly beautiful Aboriginal art to discover within these walls, from both traditional and contemporary artists.

 

COOLEST ACTIVITIES DARWIN 

Crocodylus Park is yet another impressive croc park, however this one also includes a mini zoo, where visitors can see tigers, lions, spider monkeys, cassowaries and marmosets, to name a few. The park is home to over a thousand crocs believe it or not, some weighing in at half a tonne!

Defence of Darwin is a wonderful and very educational experience, taking you through the wartime stories of when Darwin was bombed during WWII. You will definitely learn a thing or two here, as many people (especially visitors) are unaware that Australia was bombed in WWII. The museum has artefacts and film footage for viewing.

The mangrove boardwalks around Darwin are great spots to head to for bird watching with a huge list of exotic species to set your eyes on, from kingfishers to honeyeaters, cockatoos, flycatchers, drongos and finches.

The Mindil Beach Market features a great selection of exotic cuisines and beautiful handmade crafts, and then if you head over to the beach for sunset, there’s a stunning view of colours that stops everyone in their path. Darwin is really great for sunsets! There’s a fishing tour and tour cruise that leaves from here as well.

 

WHERE TO STAY DARWIN 

There are many campgrounds to choose from in Darwin. The KOA Caravan Park is 17km from the heart of Darwin, and is close to a popular fishing spot, a shopping centre and a secluded beach. Hidden Valley Tourist Park has a swimming pool and BBQ grill area and is a little closer, only a ten-minute drive away from all the action in town. Free Spirit Resort has some of the best prices in town and is also about a 10-15 minute drive from town and is close to the Mindil Beach Markets and beautiful Mindil Beach.

 

WHEN TO COME DARWIN

There are plenty of exciting events throughout the year in Darwin, ranging from theatre, dance, sports, live music, art and indigenous festivals.

Being a tropical city, Darwin experiences both a wet and dry season. The dry season is the best time to travel here thanks to the big blue skies, less humidity and pretty much perfect temperatures. Around April or May however, and lasting until September or October, the wet season hits. With the wet season come big lightning storms, lots of rain and humidity, and lots of creepy crawlies! Yikes! While you can still do things during the wet season, it is just not as easy.

Darwin celebrates Tiwi Islands Annual Football Art Sale and King Ash Bay Easter Fishing Classic every March. So if you love fishing, this is the time to come indeed! In the same month there is also the Harmony Day Football Festival and Lasseters Easter in the Alice MTB Muster where you can learn a little about outback life and farming. In April is the GOLD Alice Springs Cup Carnival, the Territory Taste Festival, the Tjungu Festival and the Territory Made Pop Up Upmarkets.

 

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