The Northern Territory’s capital is bursting with so many activities that it can make your head spin. Fear not, though, because expert travellers The Blonde Nomads have given us their pick of the best spots to visit the next time you’re in Darwin.
Darwin: the Northern Territory's unhurried capital. Famous for its balmy nights, colourful characters and outdoor adventures, it’s a part of Australia we should all experience. Whether you are just stopping over or enjoying a longer stay, there’s something in D-town for everyone. Here’s my top 7 favourites and let’s start with the most ferocious….
Get up close with a Croc!
There’s no better place to learn about these prehistoric beauties than in actual croc country. We highly recommend going on a Jumping Crocodile Tour Just a one-hour drive out of Darwin will have you cruising down the Adelaide River, which is well known for its high concentration of saltwater crocodiles (as well as loads of other amazing wildlife). To see these monsters up-close in their natural habitat, covered in scars and war wounds, rocketing out of the water to munch on some meat is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. If seeing the crocs from above the water is not enough for you, you can pay a visit to Crocosaurus Cove It’s home to the famous ‘Cage of Death’, which will have you swimming face to face with one of the largest saltwater crocodiles in the world! If you want something a little tamer, Crocodylus Parkis another option for you to seeing a croc. This park features thousands of crocodiles from cute lil’ hatchings to snappy big ‘uns! The park is also home to lions, meerkats, spider monkeys, marmosets, cassowaries and more.
Swim, Slide and Splash
If you want heat, you got it! Darwin holds the title of sweatiest city among its state capital counterparts. So, there’s no doubt you’ll need to cool off at some stage on your Darwin adventures. Right in the heart of Darwin you’ll find Wave Lagoon,which rolls out 10 different wave patterns, from gentle swells to waves up to 1.2m high! They have regular breaks in the wave cycles, as well as areas for younger kids to enjoy. Right next door you’ll find the Waterfront’s Recreation Lagoon, which is a manmade beach that’s free to use and patrolled by lifeguards from 9am-6pm every day. A little further out of town you’ll find Leanyer Recreation Park and Palmerston Water Park,which are both awesome fun and free to use. Each park features amazing waterslides, wet play areas and pools for the fam-bam to cool off in and enjoy.
Catch a flick at the Deck Chair Cinema
Take advantage of those warm balmy Top End nights and catch a movie at the open air cinema. Operating seven nights a week from April to November, this unique cinema screens a diverse range of films. You can even pop down early to enjoy dinner from the local caterers or grab a drink from the bar.
Check out the vibrant markets
A visit to Darwin isn ’t complete without a stroll through its famed markets. Loved by locals and visitors alike, the city ’s selection of markets are vibrant, colourful and they radiate vitality. The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets held on Thursday and Sunday evenings are the most popular and well known. Located right on the water’s edge at Mindil Beach, they provide a great opportunity to support local, grab a bargain and a bite to eat as you watch the sun go down. The Parap Village Markets were another favourite of ours. Held on Saturday mornings, this is a vibrant market full of fresh produce and amazing street food… you definitely want to go here with an empty stomach.
Explore Kakadu National Park
In Australia's biggest national park you'll find rugged escarpments, lush rainforest and rock art galleries up to 20,000 years old. A visit to this amazing place will have you learning about Aboriginal culture from Traditional Owners, the Bininj & Mungguy people. A highlight for us was a cruise on the stunning Yellow Water Billabong to spot crocodiles and wildlife in their natural habitat, including millions of migratory birds, crocodiles and a rare amphibious buffalo that swam right under our boat! We recommend you spend at least a few days here to really see what Kakadu has to offer.
Visit Darwin Museum MAGNT
Hear the roar of Cyclone Tracy, marvel at the famous Croc called ‘Sweetie’ and see all kinds of wonderful cultural and scientific collections and displays. Our Blondie tribe loved exploring each exhibit here. This museum is free and located next to the picturesque Fannie Bay, so why not pack a picnic and enjoy a free and fun day out?
Take a visit to Litchfield National Park
Just one hour south of Darwin will have you exploring Litchfield National Park. You’d better pack your swimmers, as the park is filled with stunning waterfalls and waterholes that are all beckoning for you to jump in and cool off. A drive through Litchfield is full of contrasts and some of the most enormous termite mounds we have ever seen! With so much to see here, we recommend taking a few days to explore.
When planning your trip to Darwin, don’t forget to consider the weather. You want to aim for the ‘Dry’ season which is from May to October, giving you warm, dry, sunny days and cooler nights. The Wet season spans from November to April and has high levels of humidity followed by monsoonal rains and storms - which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but perhaps something to experience one day too.