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Things to do in Darwin

Things to do in  Darwin

Welcome to Darwin

Welcome to Darwin, mate. The laid-back capital of the Northern Territory—and unofficial capital of the Australian Outback—is tropical, cosmopolitan, and surrounded by turquoise seas. Located at the southern edge of Australia’s Top End, this small but vibrant town is where rich Aboriginal heritage, strong Asian culture, and the Aussie Outback lifestyle intersect. Darwin pleasantly surprises travelers who intend to use it mainly as a base for exploring Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. The city’s main attractions can be easily visited on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, leaving time to spot saltwater crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove, stroll the waterfront precinct, and scour the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Or get out on the water with a jet-boat, pontoon, or sunset cruise on Darwin Harbour. Then, it’s time to step outside the refined city streets to discover Australia’s northern region. Guided tours lead nature lovers straight to Litchfield’s ancient rock formations, crystal-clear waterfalls, and natural rock pools. Others head to UNESCO World Heritage–listed Kakadu to cruise down Alligator River, hike the striking Jim Jim Falls, and learn about Aboriginal rock art. To best experience the dramatic landscapes of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park, take a sunset cruise along the gorge; helicopter above it; or hike, rock climb, and canoe all around it. With extra time, day trip to the Tiwi Islands, 62 miles (100 kilometers) off the Timor Sea coast, for an authentic look at Aboriginal life.

Top 10 attractions in Darwin

#1

Edith Falls (Leliyn)

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Located in Nitmiluk National Park in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Edith Falls offer gorgeous views over the river, tiers of rock pools and waterfalls that cascade through the gully. All that, along with the area's wildlife, makes Edith Falls one of Australia's most picturesque -- not to mention underrated -- natural attractions. The falls are full of water year-round, but the clear, dry season between May and September is the best time to visit. Even so, the area surrounding the falls is especially lush and green during the intense rains earlier in the year, so visitors are in for a treat no matter when they go. A visit to the falls typically involves swimming, and Sweetwater Pool, as well as both the upper and lower pools, are all particularly suited for the activity. Visitors to the falls during the wet season, however, may find that swimming is off-limits due to potentially dangerous conditions.More
#2

Magnetic Termite Mounds

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Across fields in northern Australia stand these tall magnetic termite mounds standing up to two meters high. As a habitat created by termites, they’re strategically built to face away from the hot sun and keep temperatures cool. Inside are complex and fascinating architecture and networks of arches, tunnels, chimneys, and various chambers. Thousands of termites live in a single mound and are known to last anywhere from fifty to one hundred years — which can also be the lifespan of one termite queen. Looking at the mounds it’s hard to believe such a small insect could create such a large, elaborate dwelling for itself. There are several types of termite mounds, and in this case ‘magnetic’ refers to the way they are aligned (in conjunction with the earth’s magnetic field.) How the termites are able to consistently determine the north-south orientation to avoid the heat is unknown, and these structures remain a bit of a natural phenomenon.More
#3

Arnhem Land

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Arnhem Land, one of Australia’s wildest and most sacred areas, lies at the lush northern tip of the continent. It was declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931 and remains a place of strong tradition with a distinctive culture and famous artwork, while also staying largely untouched by European colonization. The beautiful landscapes provided by the area’s diverse ecosystems include rugged coastlines, rivers, remote islands, a rainforest, woodlands and bluffs. Arnhem Land is home to both saltwater crocodiles and gentle dugongs, for which this area works as an important conversation habitat. Visitors drawn to Arnhem Land for its culture won’t be disappointed. Gunbalanya (also known as Oenpelli) is home to the Injalak Art and Craft Centre, where artists work and their wares are available for purchase. Tours often take travelers into the nearby bush to learn about the Aboriginal rock art, Dreamtime myths and bush tucker, the foods native to Australia.More
#4

Cullen Bay

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Cullen Bay is about 10 minutes outside of Darwin. Its drawcard is a big sleek marina packed with yachts. In an uncertain tropical climate like Darwin's, this marina offers yachting traffic the security of a man-made environment with a locked waterway and sea walls that close. This means it's accessible in the low Spring tides and a registered cyclone haven - hence its popularity. For the landlubber, Cullen Bay is an equally sleek oasis of shops, restaurants, bars and day spas. It's a popular place for visitors to stay, as its serviced apartments are so close to all these amenities - and water views. It's also close to the ferry terminal, so you can take off on trips to Mandorah and Tiwi islands.More
#5

Defence of Darwin Experience

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The Defence of Darwin Experience chronicles the Northern Territory’s role in World War II through a number of powerful exhibits that educate visitors on how the war deeply affected the region and its residents. This multimedia museum offers fascinating insight into the fateful events leading up to and on Feb. 19, 1942, when the Bombing of Darwin took place, killing over 250 people, sinking 10 ships, and kicking off a period of nearly two years of bombings in the Northern Territory. Guests can view historic equipment and artifacts from the war and listen to somber stories of locals’ whose lives were changed forever, as well as firsthand accounts of those who went off to war to avenge the lives that were lost.More
#6

Darwin Waterfront Precint

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The Darwin Wharf Precinct, a scenic waterfront area full of options for dining and play, exists thanks to an initiative by the city of Darwin that turned 61 acres of industrial wasteland into a thriving center for the city. The area includes the Stokes Hill Wharf, a historical site that was constructed in the early 1800s by Darwin’s first European settlers and bore much damage from the 1942 air raid upon the city during World War II. These days, the wharf is home to a much livelier atmosphere. Award-winning dining, entertainment, shopping and outdoor attractions have helped transform the wharf precinct into one of the most celebrated parts of Darwin. The wharf is connected to Darwin’s Central Business District by a dedicated walkway lined with parks, tropical landscaping and, of course, the waterfront itself.More
#7

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT)

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The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory has a fine collection, but what is its most popular attraction by far? That's right - a preserved saltwater crocodile called 'Sweetheart.' Sweetheart, a 50 year-old male, was menacing boats on the Finnis River, so he was captured by rangers. They intended to give him to a croc farm for breeding. Sadly, during the capture, the drugged crocodile drowned and could not be resuscitated. His body was given to the museum. If you can drag yourself away from Sweetheart, there's a fine natural history collection and plenty of indigenous art. You'll also get a good grounding in the Territory's history, including Cyclone Tracy (there's a room that simulates the cyclone) and visits by Indonesian sailors back in the day. The museum looks beyond the mainland to focus on Southeast Asian and Pacific culture.More
#8

Crocosaurus Cove

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Located in the heart of Darwin, Crocosaurus Cove is home to the largest display of Australian reptiles in the world, including species unique to the Top End and Kimberly regions of Australia. There's also a turtle sanctuary and a two-story freshwater aquarium. If you've always wanted the thrill of getting reeeeeallly close up to these massive reptiles, here's your chance. At Crocosaurus Cove you can lure a hungry croc close to you with a chunk of buffalo meat on your fishing line, 'swim' with them (you'll be snorkeling in a glass cage, the crocs will be outside the cage) and meet and hold baby crocodiles. Don't forget to pay a visit to the infamous Burt, star of the iconic Australian movie Crocodile Dundee. If you need a rest from all that croc-fired adrenaline you can take some time out to pet a (relatively) innocuous snake or feed some fish.More
#9

Adelaide River

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In the far reaches of Australia’s Northern Territory, the rough and tumble outpost of Darwin is a hotbed of quintessential Australian adventure, and none more so than a cruise on the Adelaide River to see the legendary jumping crocodiles, which can grow upwards of 20 feet long. Salt-water crocodiles are some of the most fearsome and notorious wild animals in the Australian bush, and the Adelaide River literally teems with them—don’t plan to take a swim during a day on the water. Experienced guides control the experience so you can see these incredible prehistoric reptiles from the comfort and safety of a boat. And while the crocs are certainly the highlight of a trip to the river, you can see plenty of other wildlife along the way, including wild buffalo and white-breasted sea eagles. The Adelaide River is also a hotspot for fishing trips to snag massive, hard-fighting barramundi fish.More
#10

Darwin Aviation Museum

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Boasting dozens of aircrafts, engines and plane crash remnants, the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre is the best place in Darwin for anyone with their head in the clouds. The enormous museum prides itself on its coverage of the fateful bombing of Darwin in 1942 and many other air battles of World War II. Its North American B-25 Mitchell Bomber is especially notable, as it is one of the last in the world and only one of two on display outside of the United States. Other exhibits include an Auster biplane, a Japanese Zero fighter, shot from the sky in 1942, a Tiger Moth, the remains of a crash-landed RAAF Mirage jet, a Spitfire replica and even a few of the first attack helicoptersMore

Trip ideas

Top National Parks in Darwin

Top National Parks in Darwin

How to Spend 3 Days in Darwin

How to Spend 3 Days in Darwin

Recent reviews from experiences in Darwin

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Great experiences, great services, would highly recommend
emily_c, Feb 2021
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
The waterfalls were beautiful and lunch/evening snack (prawns) provided was terrific.
star-5
Great way to see Darwin
alison2204, Dec 2019
Darwin Shore Excursion: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
We were on a cruise ship, so this was a very convenient way to see Darwin.
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Great way to see Darwin Harbour
apehseven, Oct 2019
Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise
At first my friend and I were seated in a corner which was not very comfortable Requested to see out side and they did accommodate The Buffet Dinner was great and a great way to see Darwin at night
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Fantastic day
Annielou111, Aug 2019
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin With Waterfalls And Buley Rockhole
The boat on the river to see the crocodiles was one of the best, most informative, trips ever
star-5
Good value
Ann R, Jul 2019
Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
The perfect way to see the sights of Darwin with informative commentary on the way.
star-5
Very informative
Shylea U, Jun 2019
Bombing of Darwin World War II Tour with Harbour Cruise
Great to see various sites in Darwin and hear about the past that many Australians know little about.
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Absolutely amazing
Joanne62-Graham62, May 2019
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
To see crocodiles up so close and personal was great and scary.
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Best way to see Kakadu!
Explorer02829219510, May 2019
Darwin to Kakadu Day Trip by Air Including Yellow Water Cruise
If you have limited time in Darwin but want to see all the amazing rock formations as well as take a tour through the local community, this is well worth the money!
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It is a long day out as distances to...
ANGELA R, May 2017
Kakadu, Nourlangie and Yellow Waters Tour from Darwin
The boat trip was a highlight as was our walk to see ancient aboriginal art.
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This was an excellent tour that took...
kedwards01, May 2016
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin With Waterfalls And Buley Rockhole
This was an excellent tour that took us from Darwin to Litchfield National Park and allowed us to explore some of the many waterfalls and water holes.
star-5
Best way to see Darwin, worth the...
Peter M, Sep 2016
Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Best way to see Darwin, worth the afternoon loop to the Military Museum Drivers very good with info of the area
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Loved Darwin and quite frankly, this...
Jenny, May 2016
Darwin Shore Excursion: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Loved Darwin and quite frankly, this tour bus took us to all of the main attractions there.
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The Katherine Gorge trip was the...
Peter S, Jul 2015
Katherine Day Tour from Darwin including Katherine Gorge Cruise
The swim at Edith Falls was another highlight.
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This was a great tour of Katherine...
Julie J, Mar 2016
Katherine Day Tour from Darwin including Katherine Gorge Cruise
Stopping at Edith Falls and the scenery was excellent.
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This tour was fantastic. It was good...
Anne R, Sep 2014
Darwin Sunset Dinner Cruise on Cape Adieu
It was good to see Darwin from the water.
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Litchfield Day trip was Awesome...
Sarah M, Oct 2014
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin
The waterfalls were breathtaking and swimming in the watering holes was so enjoyable.
star-5
The Yellow Waters Tour was the...
Brad G, Oct 2014
Kakadu, Nourlangie and Yellow Waters Tour from Darwin
An enjoyable cruise on the river with good commentary and plenty of crocodiles and birds to see along the way.
star-5
Fantastic day trip, if you do...
Michael E, Sep 2011
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin
It allows you to see a lot and experience outside of Darwin.
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Great, Amazing
kennowitzki, Jan 2019
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
Special the Jumping Crocodiles, very exciting to see the wild animal.
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See Darwin Differently
chrisjknight, Jan 2020
1-Hour Darwin Harbour Highlights Cruise
This cruise was a great way to see another part of Darwin & to see the city from a different perspective.

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