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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
Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge National Park)

Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge National Park)

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Nitmiluk National Park (formerly Katherine Gorge National Park) offers vast sandstone cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and a series of 13 gorges carved out by the mighty Katherine River. All of this dramatic scenery is located on the ancient lands of the Jawoyn people and is home to some impressive Aboriginal rock art sites.More
#2
Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park

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With its waterfalls, waterholes, and lush rain forests, Litchfield National Park has no shortage of spectacular scenery. Just a short drive from Darwin, it’s also known for its magnetic termite mounds that tower up to 7 feet (2 meters) tall. These sculptural cairns were built by termites.More
#3
Ubirr

Ubirr

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It’s hard to grasp exactly what you’re looking at when you see the rock drawings at Ubirr. Here, etched before you on ancient rock that springs from the red dirt Earth, are drawings placed here by Aborigines nearly 20,000 years ago. How the drawings have managed to survive for so long is a fascinating geologic story, but it's one that pales in comparison to the stories told by the drawings themselves.Located in what’s known as the East Alligator Region of Kakadu National Park, Ubirr is a UNESCO World Heritage site that borders on desert magic. In addition to collections of ancient rock art, the site offers sweeping, panoramic views of the surrounding flood plains and fields, and includes a sacred “Rainbow Serpent” painting in one of the three different galleries. According to local Aboriginal legend, the serpent was involved in the very creation of Earth surrounding the site, and is regarded as one of the world’s oldest figures of early creation. To access the ancient rock art at Ubirr, follow the short, one-kilometer walking path that takes 30 minutes to complete.More
#4
Darwin Waterfront Precint

Darwin Waterfront Precint

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The Darwin Waterfront Precint, 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. The lifeguard-patrolled swimming lagoons make for a great daytime spot to splash around, and the Indo Pacific Marine lets visitors get up close and personal to the coral ecosystems of the area.There is a wealth of shopping and pampering opportunities at the wharf – a surf shop, a boutique gift store, a luxury hair salon and a day spa are just some of the offerings. Visitors shouldn’t pass up a stop at the StormBird Gallery, where stunning nature photography by local Jacci Ingham is on display. Restaurants along the promenade range from a traditional Irish pub and a tapas lounge to a Greek restaurant and an open-til-late gelato shop. Come nightfall, the deckchair cinema serves guests from its kiosk as viewers settle in to watch the nightly film at 7:30 p.m.More
#5
Cullen Bay

Cullen Bay

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Cullen Bay is about10 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
#6
Magnetic Termite Mounds

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
#7
Defence of Darwin Experience

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.Immersive exhibits include the Bombing of Darwin Gallery with its 3D helmets and sensory footage illustrating what it would have been like to witness the bombings, plus StoryShare, where locals record their own stories to be shared with museum visitors. Travelers can also record their responses to all they see and learn at the museum. As one of Darwin’s most significant historical sites, the attraction is often included in guided tours of the city.More
#8
Edith Falls (Leliyn)

Edith Falls (Leliyn)

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Located in Nitmiluk National Park in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Edith Falls (Leliyn) 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.Those looking to earn their refreshing swim can first head to one of the two walking trails at Edith Falls. The Leliyn Trail winds around and above the falls in a 1.6-mile circuit, with multiple lookout spots, a river crossing and a few choice swimming pools along the way. The Sweetwater Pool track is longer at 5.3 miles, but the quiet swimming spot it leads to is worth it. Visitors can undertake the walk as a day or nighttime hike, but it should be noted that overnight stays require a permit.More
#9
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT)

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT)

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The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) showcases a collection of more than 1.2 million natural history specimens and 30,000 art and cultural works. In addition to its seven galleries, MAGNT has a family-friendly Discovery Centre, providing visitors of all ages with fascinating insight into Australia’s history and heritage.More
#10
Parliament House

Parliament House

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Australia’s newest parliament house was built in Darwin in 1994, and has been the seat of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since then. It was designed in a postmodern style and built to suit the tropical climate of Darwin. The entrance features a Northern Territory coat of arms placed at the top of its ceremonial doors.The building overlooks Darwin Harbor, sitting on the site of the former Post Office and Telegraph Station which were bombed during a raid in 1942. There is a state library, portrait gallery, and a massive Main Hall indoors, and the Speakers Green outdoor. The areas function both as parliamentary and government receptions and public exhibitions. Unique tributes to the symbols of the Northern Territory, such as a desert rose in the reception foyer, are present throughout.More

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

Top activities in Darwin

Kakadu, Nourlangie and Yellow Waters Tour from Darwin
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Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise
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Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise

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Top End Safari Camp Day Tour
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Top End Safari Camp Day Tour

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US$281.44
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
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1 Hour Darwin Airboat Tours
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1 Hour Darwin Airboat Tours

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Heli Pub Crawl – 4 Pubs

Heli Pub Crawl – 4 Pubs

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Darwin Sunset Cruise Including Fish 'n' Chips
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Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Darwin

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Big Red Bus
Paul_B, Nov 2021
Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Great way to see Darwin .
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Simply wonderful
Lynette_T, Oct 2021
Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise
To see Darwin from the harbour was great & the food & service was also great, our group had a lovely evening.
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Unforgettable experience
renata_W, Sep 2021
Katherine Day Tour from Darwin including Katherine Gorge Cruise
The highest things to see in Darwin.
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Amazing scenery
Lorraine_M, Aug 2021
Katherine Day Tour from Darwin including Katherine Gorge Cruise
Both Katherine Gorges were amazing tour guide a wealth of knowledge, would highly recommend doing this tour if visiting Darwin, Adelaide War Cemetery and Edith Falls were great too , scrumptious buffet lunch with plenty of choices
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Wonderful experience
Barbara_L, Jul 2021
Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
I had a 2 day pass what an amazing adventure it provided for me to see Darwin.
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Great experience
Kumari_D, Jun 2021
Tiwi Islands Cultural Experience from Darwin Including Ferry
Learnt a lot and got to see and do and enjoy a lot more than expected.
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Can't miss in Darwin
Caleb_C, Nov 2021
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin With Waterfalls And Buley Rockhole
Impressive thermite mounds and waterfalls for a refreshing dip.
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Totally recommend!!
Belinda_W, Oct 2021
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
It’s not the best time to be finding crocs but he was persistent and we got to see a couple.
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Darwin sunset magnificence
Peter_M, Sep 2021
Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise
Darwin is a beautiful city and it was lovely to see it from a different perspective.
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The Best way to see Kakadu
Boris_T, Sep 2021
Darwin to Kakadu Day Trip by Air Including Yellow Water Cruise
We were able to see the landscape up close and cover immense distances in 90 minutes.
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A great day out.
Turid_Ray, Jul 2021
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin
It is a shame that Wangi Falls was still closed for swimming after the wet season, and so early in the dry season, but spectacular to see nonetheless.
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A most enjoyable, interesting and informative morning.
Turid_G, Jul 2021
Bombing of Darwin World War II Tour with Harbour Cruise
The visit to the museum was also interesting with so much “stuff” to see and read about.
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A day in Kakadu
Marta_S, Jun 2021
Kakadu Full-Day Tour from Darwin with Lunch
We got to see amazing rock art, had a short easy walk and visited a very informative indigenous centre.
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Kakadu is a must see
Kristy_M, Jun 2021
Kakadu Wilderness Escape - Top End Day Tour from Darwin
We were lucky enough to see baby crocodiles on the Adelaide River.
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Great day in the NT
Ian_P, Jun 2021
Top End Safari Camp Day Tour
Seeing the wetlands then airboat ride down the Finniss River and into the tributaries to see some resident crocs.
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Once in a lifetime experience
John_D, Jun 2021
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
The boat trip with Pat to see many crocs right up in your face was amazing.
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Amazing sun set
Andrew_S, May 2021
Sunset 3-Hour Cruise from Darwin with Dinner and Sparkling Wine
If you want to see the sun set from the water in Darwin this trip is your go to!!
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Tremendous day out, best tour
NANCY_P, May 2021
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin With Waterfalls And Buley Rockhole
Lyn took us to amazing sights, waterfalls to swim and then mades us the nicest lunch.
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Perfect way to get around
Robert_J, Jun 2021
Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
The perfect way to be introduced to Darwin city and the attractions.
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Great way to see Darwin
Alison_D, 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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