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Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and is renowned for its tropical weather, diverse culture, and its natural beauty. Situated on the Timor Sea, it’s a popular destination for travelers seeking an adventure-filled vacation during the Australian winter as there are many awesome things to do in Darwin.
From hiking through lush rainforests, swimming in hidden rockpools to strolling through the city and the famous beach markets. You can also enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife, diverse culinary scene, and range of shopping options.
Whether you’re looking for excitement or relaxation, the city has something for everyone.
READ ALSO: The Best NSW Road trip itinerary in 2 weeks
How To Get To Darwin?
There are a few different ways to get to this amazing place in Australia, depending on where you’re coming from and your transportation mode. Here are a few options:
The easiest way is by flying into the city from other major cities in Australia or even internationally. Jetstar has regularly discounted offers to Darwin starting from 80AU$
If you fly from abroad prices can be much more and it is sometimes even cheaper to fly to Sydney or Melbourne first.
If you’re driving from another Australian city such as Kununurra or Alice Springs, it will take a while to get here but the drive from every way is actually stunning.
It is also possible to fly into the city and rent a car to explore all the amazing places. Prices for a rental car are about AU$ 70-120 per day
I have been here a few times and loved the trip every time as you see so many awesome places along the way. You can even stop at Nitmiluk National Park, Kakadu National Park, or Litchfield National Park on your way.
Best Time To Visit Darwin
The best time to visit Darwin is between May and September. This is the dry season, so you’ll have sunny weather and clear skies. The temperatures during this time are also very pleasant, ranging from about 25-35 degrees
As the city is located in the Northern part of Australia, it has a lot of rain and cyclones during Summer from November to March.
So I advice you to travel outside this period of the year. Although, this is the best time to visit the waterfalls in the region as they will be full of water.
Accommodation In Darwin?
The city is pretty compact compared to other major cities such as Melbourne or Sydney, however, there are many options on where to stay. From Luxury hotels and resorts to caravan parks and beach camping.
Prices vary between 35 AU$ to 250 AU$ per night depending on the season and the accommodation.
Below I listed some of the best places to stay in Darwin as they have a good location, a great rating and they are affordable.
During a mechanical service on my jeep I stayed at the Darwin City Hotel as it is right in the center, while the Oasis Tourist Park was more comfortable to stay when I visited Litchfield and Kakadu National Park.
Things To Do In Darwin
Visit the Mindil Beach Markets
The Mindil Beach Markets are one of my favorite things to do in the city. Held every Thursday and Sunday during the dry season, the Mindil Markets features a range of stalls selling everything from locally made arts and crafts to delicious international food.
There is also live music and entertainment, making it a great place to spend an evening with family and friends. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or simply want to enjoy a unique cultural experience, the Mindil Beach Market is a must-do in Darwin.
TIP: Go in the early afternoon to explore the market and head to the beach just before sunset to celebrate the most amazing sundowner
INFO: The Mindil Beach Markets are open between April and October on Thursday and Sunday from 4 PM to 9 PM
Relax at the Darwin Recreation Lagoon
The ocean on the northern side of Australia is not really safe to swim because there are many crocodiles, so the city made a safe saltwater lagoon to swim in for locals and tourists.
The Lagoon is the perfect place for cooling off on a hot day as it’s located at the Waterfront where an artificial beach, a safe swimming zone, and many bars and restaurants are.
Besides, there’s also a playground and BBQ area, so it’s ideal if you’re traveling with young children. It is a great place to take the kids or simply to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather during the Australian wintertime.
Explore The City And The Beautiful Murals
The beautiful city has plenty of things to see and do. One of the best ways to explore the city is by walking around and discovering lots of amazing murals that add color and life to the cityscape.
In the street just behind the Darwin City Hotel (Shadforth Ln) where I stayed for a few days were several murals and street art and if you walk towards Mall St and West Lane, you will find the most beautiful ones.
The big crocodile mural is at the parking area of Woolworths on Smith St.
Watch The amazing Sunset
One of the best things to do in Darwin is watch the sunset at one of the many great locations. The city has a beautiful coastline and plenty of beaches to choose from. My personal favorite is Mindil Beach, where you can watch the sunset over the water while enjoying the market atmosphere.
Another great spot is the Nightcliff Jetty as there are many parks with public BBQs in the area to have an afternoon picnic and enjoy the sunset afterward.
TIP: Dundee Beach is also a great place to hang out and watch the sunset, although I haven’t been there myself
Catch a Wave at the Wave Pool
The Wave Pool is also a great place to hang out when it’s hot. The waves are rolling out in different patterns and heights making it a fun activity to do with friends and family.
The Wave Pool provides tubes and small boogie boards that you can use in the pool although, surfboards are not allowed.
INFO: The Wave Pool is open every day from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Day tours from Darwin
Join a jumping crocodile tour at the Adelaide River
Travel distance: 66 km – 50 min.
The Northern Territory is known for its high population of crocodiles in the Adelaide River and the best way to see this is during a jumping crocodile tour in Djukbinj National Park.
Less than one hour from Darwin driving you’ll reach the Adelaide River, where you can join either the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Tours or The Original Adelaide River Queen Jumping Crocodile Cruises.
It only costs about AU$ 30 and as I visited the Northern Territory twice during my Big Lap around Australia, I did them both. The tours were quite similar but they operate each at one side of the river, The Original Adelaide River tour might be easier to reach from the main road, while The Spectacular Tour was less touristic but still very good.
TIP: Don’t book the earliest tour(s) as the crocodiles are not interested yet to jump until their bodies are warmed up.
BOOK: Book your Jumping Croc Tour in advance as they might be fully booked during the peak season (this is the tour I booked)
Make A Day Trip To Litchfield National Park
Travel distance: 140 km – 1h 35min.
Litchfield National Park is a must do in Darwin as the park is home to incredible waterfalls, rockpools, and stunning rock formations and it’s located just an hour out of the city.
Litchfield National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and I recommend going early in the morning to Florence Falls to skip the crowds and then head for a swim around lunchtime at Wangi Falls as there is much more space to relax.
TIP: go to Florence Falls in the morning before stopping at the Magnetic Termite Mounds as the first visitors from the Florence Campsite will come around 8 AM
BOOK: If you travel solo or don’t have your own transport, you can join a group tour to Litchfield National Park
Explore the largest National Park in Australia, Kakadu National Park
Travel distance: 250 km – 2h 50min
If you make a road trip in Northern Territory or just visit Darwin, make sure you visit Kakadu National Park as it is one of the largest National Parks in Australia with many hidden rockpools, beautiful waterfalls, camping adventures, and stunning views.
I recommend staying in Kakadu National Park for one or two nights as it’s almost 3 hours driving to Jabiru, one of the park’s main towns. Jabiru is also the best place to stay when you want to visit the rock art of Ubirr, the Nadab Lookout, or the Cahills Crossing
On the road from Jabiru to Pine Creek are many other awesome things to do in Kakadu National Park such as the Nawurlandja Lookout, where you have fantastic sunset views, Cooinda for watching wildlife during a Yellow Water Cruise, the Maguk Waterfall for a relaxing swim.
The main highlight might be the adventurous 4×4 trip to the Jim Jim Falls, one of Australia’s most beautiful waterfalls. however, make sure you come during the right time as the Jim Jim Falls can be dry during the dry season.
TIP: When you drive into the Kakadu National Park from Darwin, you’ll pass the Jumping Croc tour first, so it is easy to combine in one day.
BOOK: Join a full-day tour in Kakadu National Park
Discover the Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park
Travel distance: 340 km – 3h 45min
Katherine is the nearest ‘bigger town and located about 3 hours from Darwin. Katherine is popular among travellers for the beautiful walks and river cruises in the Katherine Gorge but also for the Katherine Hot Springs and the Edith Falls to relax after a day full of adventure.
The Katherine Gorge is a must visit place with beautiful hikes but check the website first as I went in 2020 and in 2022 and both times the main trails were closed due to renovations.
TIP: Visit the Edith Falls on the way back as they are located on the other side of the Nitmiluk National Park and accessible by the Edith Falls Rd.
BOOK: Visit the Katherine Gorge and the Edith Falls with a guided group tour, perfect when you are traveling solo!
Stay a night in Matt’s Wright Top End Safari Camp
Travel distance: 120 km – 1h 35min
Matt Wright is a famous Tv star and wildlife adventurer who created the ultimate outback experience in the Top End of Australia. During the Top End Overnight tour, you will do the most unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as a crocodile encounter, an airboat ride and a helicopter flight over the floodplains.
At night you can stargaze from your luxury glamping tent after a BBQ with the group.
I booked this tour but unfortunately it got cancelled due to covid, however it is still on my bucket list.
BOOK: Book this amazing experience in advance as the spots are limited and booked out very fast!
With so many places to visit in Darwin, it can be hard to know where to start. With this article, I hope you get more inspiration for your trip.
From experiencing Aboriginal culture to getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife, these activities will leave you with lasting memories of your time in the Northern Territory
Let me know in the comments what’s your favorite thing and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions about this trip.
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PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
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The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.
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