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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
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
#3
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
#4
Warradjan Cultural Centre

Warradjan Cultural Centre

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Located at the heart of the Kakadu National Park, the Warradjan Cultural Centre is devoted to telling the stories of Kakadu’s traditional landowners – the Aboriginal people (known locally as Bininj or Mungguy) who have inhabited the region for more than 50,000 years.For visitors to Kakadu, the cultural center offers an important insight into the park’s history and its deep Aboriginal ties. Fascinating multi-media exhibitions focus on the lives of the ancient clans, the role of the tribal elders, hunting techniques, bloodlines and marriage rights, as well as the effects of white settlement and the recent history of the park. There’s also a gallery of Aboriginal arts and crafts and a gift shop on-site.More
#5
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
#6
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
#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
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
#9
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
#10
Darwin Aviation Museum

Darwin Aviation Museum

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Boasting dozens of aircrafts, engines and plane crash remnants, the Darwin Aviation Museum (formerly known as 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 helicopters.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

Darwin Sunset Dinner Cruise on Cape Adieu
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Kakadu Yellow Waters & Katherine Gorge Helicopter Scenic
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Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise
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Darwin Harbour Sunset Cruise

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Litchfield National Park and Jumping Crocodile Cruise
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Kakadu Full-Day Tour from Darwin with Lunch
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Sunset 3-Hour Cruise from Darwin with Dinner and Sparkling Wine
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Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin With Waterfalls And Buley Rockhole
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Darwin to Kakadu Day Trip by Air Including Yellow Water Cruise
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Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
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Top End Safari Camp Day Tour
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Top End Safari Camp Day Tour

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Darwin Sunset Cruise Including Fish 'n' Chips
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Bombing of Darwin World War II Tour with Harbour Cruise
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1 Hour Darwin Airboat Tours
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1 Hour Darwin Airboat Tours

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Jumping Crocs & Nature Adventure Cruise from Darwin
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Heli Pub Crawl – 4 Pubs
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Heli Pub Crawl – 4 Pubs

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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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Wonderful experience
Barb-L-11, 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.
star-5
Great history tour
Jamie_R, Jul 2021
Darwin History and Wartime Experience Tour
Love it was a great way to see Darwin our tour guide was very knowledgeable and made us feel very welcome and the stop at the war museum was a must to the tour so much to see.
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Great experience
Kay, 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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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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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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Nice boat trip to say you’ve seen Darwin harbour
John_M, May 2021
Darwin Sunset Dinner Cruise on Cape Adieu
Good staff, boat went quite a way, top deck best, not a lot to see in Darwin harbour but worth the experience
star-5
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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We would highly recommend.
Phil_H, Apr 2021
Darwin Sunset Dinner Cruise on Cape Adieu
The sunset was beautiful and what better way to see it than from a ketch on Darwin Harbour.
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A pleasant walk around the gardens
Kathryn_G, Mar 2021
Walk the Darwin Botanic Gardens
A pleasant way to see the Gardens.
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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.
star-5
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 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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Enjoyable Day
lquadara, May 2021
Litchfield and Jumping Crocodiles Full Day Trip from Darwin
A great day trip with highlights being the jumping crocodiles the beautiful waterfalls, the magnetic termites mounds were very interesting & evening sunset.
star-5
Amazing day ,Amazing company and service
Robert_Yeo, Mar 2021
Litchfield National Park Day Tour from Darwin With Waterfalls And Buley Rockhole
From the on time pickup at my hotel The tour was amazing ,I was met by Rick the tour driver who throughout the day supplied endless information regarding Darwin and the different places we were going to visit during the tour with a few jokes thrown in he was full of handy information and took great care of all of us throughout the day, The waterfalls were fabulous and on Ricks suggestion I did the 1.
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.
star-4
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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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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