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35 AMAZING Things to do in Darwin, Australia (that you shouldn’t miss!)

35 AMAZING Things to do in Darwin, Australia (that you shouldn’t miss!)

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Looking for fun and interesting things to do in Darwin? Lucky for you, I’m something of an expert myself!

Darwin was my home for more than two years. And yes, there are 35 things to do in Darwin that I highly recommend checking out!

The truth is that Darwin has a sort of quirky charm to it. It isn’t a large city with skyscrapers and a grand Opera House (you’ll have to go to Sydney for that.) Instead, it’s quite dangerous to swim in the ocean, and it gets hotter than 30 degrees Celsius almost every single day!

That being said, I’m writing this blog with a lot of love in my heart for the city. From the many incredible tours in Darwin that I’ve taken, to the bustling marina nightlife that bursts into life come sundown, I’ve made some unforgettable memories here that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

As the capital city of the Northern Territory in Australia, Darwin sadly often gets forgotten about by tourists. But it shouldn’t! In fact, I’ve had countless friends and family tell me that Darwin also won them over when they visited. If you love the outdoors, waterfalls, sunsets, wildlife, culture, or drinking (Territorians love an ice-cold beer), then you will love Darwin too.

Like I mentioned, Daniel and I lived in Darwin for two years and during that time, fell in love with the place. We spent every weekend exploring the area and tried to experience as much as possible! This blog is the result of over two years of exploration, and we hope you’ll be able to try out some of these activities for yourself.

The BEST Things to do in Darwin

1. Enjoy the famous Mindil Markets

mindil markets are the of the free things to do in Darwin
At Mindil Beach right next to the markets, waiting for sunset! Do you think my wine glass is full enough?!

The Mindil Markets are my favorite! During the dry season (May to October), there are lively night markets held at Mindil Beach every Sunday and Thursday night. The markets start at 4 pm and go on into the evening until about 9 pm.

Most people go to the Mindil Markets for dinner and dessert – us included! The selection of food is amazing, from seafood to Indian, Chinese, crêpes, wood-fired pizza, laksa, and so much more. You could seriously never get bored eating here – we definitely didn’t!

There are also street performers, musicians, and many market stalls selling all sorts of random and fun things here. It is the place to be if you’re looking for some quirky souvenirs to take home and surprise your friends with.

I would recommend going before sunset and having something to eat. Then, watch the sunset on the beach with a drink in hand. At the Mindil Markets, drinking in public is actually allowed, so bring a cider or some wine and enjoy the magic show that is the Darwin sunset.

If you don’t have your own transport, the Hop-on Hop-off bus is a great option! For just $48 AUD per person, you can take it throughout the day to many points of interest, and then finish at the Mindil Markets for the sunset. Please note, the stop at Mindil Markets is only available in the dry season. Otherwise, another good option is to simply rent a car!

2. Swim at the Darwin City Lagoon

view of the Darwin city lagoon at the Darwin waterfront
That beachy area is the Darwin City Lagoon!

The Darwin City Lagoon is located on the waterfront right next to the wave pool. As we mentioned at the start of the blog, it can be dangerous to swim in Darwin (mostly because of the crocs and jellyfish), and the lagoon is the only place in the city where it is actually safe to swim. It’s a small bay that has a net surrounding it to prevent those pesky stingers and crocodiles from entering the area.

The lagoon is open all year round and is patrolled by lifeguards every day from 9 am to 6 pm. Water is actually pumped in and out of the lagoon to keep it fresh and extra caution is taken in the wet season (November to April) to ensure stingers do not enter the swimming area.

Unfortunately, the lagoon’s water temperature is still relatively high, so it’s not the most refreshing place to take a dip. With that said, in the dry season it’s the best place to relax, work on your tan, and have a picnic!

The Darwin Lagoon also has a new Mobi-mat for those in wheelchairs. This new addition means even more people can enjoy the lagoon, which is fantastic.

It is completely free to visit the Darwin lagoon, so what are you waiting for?!

3. Go on a Jumping Croc Cruise

jumping crocodile curise in darwin is one of the cool things to do in darwin australia
A jumping croc!

Going on a jumping croc cruise has to be my favorite out of all of the things to do in Darwin! I have gone countless times and would go again in a heartbeat – it is just that exciting! And, as great minds think alike, it’s also one of the most popular Darwin tourist attractions!

So, what is a jumping croc cruise exactly? Well, it’s basically a riverboat cruise on a river (this one is on the Adelaide River) which is literally full of saltwater crocodiles (the most dangerous type in the world). The tour guide will tie some raw chicken onto a stick and hang it over the water to tempt the crocodiles to come out for food.

And boy, are they hungry! The crocs literally jump up out of the water to grab the chicken. The speed and power they do it with is such a thrill, and might make you take a step back or two!

This is your chance to get up close and personal with some wild crocs. They are incredible, a little bit frightening, and fascinating all at the same time!

the jumping croc cruise is one of the best things to do in darwin
On the boat for the jumping crocodile cruise.

Having been on a few croc jumping tours hosted by different tour operators, I’ve noticed that there are two big differences between them all – the boat size and the guide’s knowledge. Some of the boats are multi-level with the guide speaking on a speaker. It would be hard to even see the crocs getting fed in a boat this big. That’s why choosing the right jumping croc cruise is important!

I highly, highly recommend booking THIS jumping croc cruise if you want to have the best time. Dan and I have done it a couple of times, and it’s hands-down my favorite! It also includes a trip to Litchfield National Park and is really good value. You really get to see the crocodiles, and you’ll have a typical “outback Australian” guide who genuinely loves crocodiles (say hi to Pat for me when you go).

With a maximum of 24 people per trip, this is also a small-scale tour which means loads of time to ask any questions you have. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle, plenty of sunscreen, and a hat with you as well!

For just $185 AUD per person, this full-day (11-hour) tour is an absolute bargain, considering it’s also such an unforgettable experience. You can book our recommended jumping croc cruise here!

4. Swim at the Wave Pool

darwin city wave pool
The wave pool in Darwin! Photo credit: Bigstock

If the Darwin Lagoon just isn’t satisfying your need to cool down, there’s always the Darwin Wave Pool! You’ll find the wave pool just steps from the lagoon – it’s such a popular place for families and for those looking for somewhere to relax.

The Wave Pool is a nice place to cool off in Darwin because, unlike the ocean water, it’s much cooler than the outside air temperature. Around the pool, there are grassy areas to hang out with lots of shade, and trust me you’ll need the shade after a while of being in the Darwinian sun.

Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, our tip would be to visit on the weekdays, as it can get super busy on the weekends. If you do visit on the weekend, try to aim to get there by 10 am to avoid the midday rush.

The wave pool costs $8 AUD for adults (15+), $6 AUD for children (under 15) and seniors, and is free for kids under 3. You can buy tickets for the wave pool either online here or at the wavefront kiosk. If you want to visit at a busier time, we definitely recommend you grab them online to skip the queues!

5. Relax on a Sunset Champagne Cruise

Two people cheers on a sunset cruise in Darwin
Photo credit: Sail Darwin
A boat at sunset in Darwin
Photo credit: Sail Darwin

The waters around Darwin may be dangerous to swim in, but they’re most definitely beautiful to sail on. Introducing another sunset activity, but this one includes champagne and cruising on the ocean in a catamaran! Name a more iconic duo – I’ll wait.

I’ve been on a couple of different sunset cruises in Darwin, but my personal favorite one was this particular sunset cruise. Kicking off at 5 pm, this sunset cruise lasts for 3 hours and includes unlimited sparkling wine and a 7-course tapas dinner.

However, there’s one other reason why I love this cruise so much… They let you BYO other drinks! Although other cruises are cheaper, if you enjoy a sunset drink or four, this saves you from buying expensive drinks, and you know exactly what you’ll be spending for the night.

Overall, this was a very fun tour in Darwin and one I highly recommend. The sunsets in Darwin are seriously the best in Australia. You can check dates and book this sunset cruise for $159 AUD per person.

6. Visit the NT Museum and Art Gallery

The Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery
The Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery

Darwin actually has a pretty cool museum and art gallery, which is completely free to visit!

The Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery are both in the same building, located a 5-minute drive from the city center.

While I’m not a huge art fan, so I can’t speak much about the quality of the art gallery, I really liked the museum! They have quite a few different exhibitions on offer, including a whole evolution exhibit which was really interesting. You can also get up close and personal with Sweetheart, the museum’s very own saltwater crocodile. He may not be alive anymore, but he looks just as ferocious as ever.

If you want to see some traditional aboriginal artwork, this is the place to go as well. We love that this museum celebrates aboriginal art from local artists. They also frequently host events and speaking nights, if you’re interested, make sure to check out their website.

The NT Museum and Art Gallery is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day. You can easily get there on the public bus or just drive yourself (there is a large parking lot).

For information on getting the public bus around Darwin, check out the Darwin Journey planner. Otherwise, consider booking a half-day sightseeing tour which includes a guided stop at the NT Museum and Art Gallery.

After you explore the museum, pop into Saltwater at Bundilla. This café is one of my favorites, and it’s attached to the museum.

7. Swim with Crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove

a salwater crocodile inside a tank at crocosaurus cove in darwin
Could you imagine jumping in this tank with this guy?!

Crocosaurus Cove is quite possibly the most popular thing to do in Darwin for tourists. This is the “zoo” right on Mitchell Street in Darwin that you’ve likely seen signs for. As the name suggests, it’s all about crocs here (and not the kind you wear on your feet)!

There are a bunch of things to see and do here, including the opportunity to hold a baby crocodile, see some turtles at the turtle sanctuary, and visit the two-story aquarium.

If you’re a thrill-seeker looking to take it to the next level, there’s also the option to jump into a glass tank and swim with the crocs! While it looks like a crazy cool experience (and it’s definitely one of the most iconic things to do in all of Australia), I did hear some mixed reviews, especially considering the high price tag of $180 AUD.

I never actually did it myself, but I sure would like to. I mean, it is the only place in Australia where you can swim with a real crocodile!

Entrance to Crocosaurus Cove is $38 AUD for an adult (16+) and $23 AUD for kids (4-15). You can buy your general admission ticket online and skip the line. Of course, swimming with crocs is an extra charge.

In all honesty, I personally think that the best crocodile experience in Darwin is a jumping croc cruise. This jumping croc tour is THE BEST as it is a small group tour and the guide is hilarious.

Related Read: It may not have been with crocodiles, but I did swim with whale sharks in Exmouth. If you’re ever in the area, you have to try it out!

8. Walk in the Darwin Botanical Gardens

a tree in the darwin botanic garden
Walking in the gardens is a great way to spend an hour while visiting Darwin!

On a nice day, you should go for a gorgeous stroll in the Darwin Botanical Gardens. They are really well-maintained, and it’s a peaceful escape from city life for a while!

The gardens are located just across the road from Mindil Beach, so you could go for a walk in the gardens before checking out the Mindil Markets and watching the sunset.

Of course, it’s one thing to stroll the gardens by yourself and another to have a relaxing 2-hour guided tour! We were really surprised with how great this tour turned out – our friendly guide dug up some funny and fascinating stories about the history of the gardens, and we got to see all the wonderful collections on offer. For just $50 AUD per person, you can hop on this guided tour too.

Getting to Darwin Botanical Gardens from the city center is about a 30-minute walk, but you can also take the public bus, the hop-on-hop-off bus, or on one of the many available sightseeing day tours!

9. Go fishing

deep sea fishing in darwin
One of the many fish Daniel caught on our fishing charter.

With a place like Darwin that’s teeming with fish and marine life, it’s no wonder that many of the locals’ favorite pastime is fishing! You don’t need a fancy boat and gear either, just a simple rod, some bait, and then head to the Stokes Hill Wharf in the city. However, if you want to go deep sea fishing you’ll need to join a tour with a boat!

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of fishing myself. But in Darwin, I went deep-sea fishing and found it to be a lot more fun than I expected. After all, you are pretty much guaranteed to catch something! When I went deep-sea fishing, I caught a couple of different snappers that I was allowed to bring home with me.

Just be aware, deep-sea fishing can be a little on the pricey side, but when you consider all that’s involved, it’s not such bad value at all. We paid $375 AUD for our full-day fishing tour, catching a ton and leaving with lots of fresh fish to eat!

Although deep-sea fishing is fun, one of the number one reasons people come to Darwin is to catch a barramundi. In fact, Darwin has a competition that runs all year called the “Million Dollar Fish.” 

Basically, if you catch any one of the 100 tagged barramundis in and around Darwin, you’re guaranteed to win $10,000 with one bringing in the million dollars! If you would like a chance to win, or just to catch some of Darwin’s most famous fish, check out this full-day tour run by Mickey.

10. Go to Kakadu National Park

aboriginal artwork in kakadu national park
Some Aboriginal artwork we saw while in Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park isn’t technically in Darwin, it’s actually located a couple of hours’ drive away to get to the nearest attraction there, but it is worth going to if you have the time!

This is one of Australia’s most famous parks and for good reason too. It is simply gorgeous and has been home to Aboriginal people for over 65,000 years! Kakadu is also huge, roughly half the size of Switzerland, so there’s a ton to explore. Birdwatching, croc spotting, and gazing at rock art are just some of the many fun things you can get up to here.

We were even able to see some beautiful pelicans at Anbangbang Billabong, one of the many great birdwatching spots around.

There are also tons of Kakadu tours you can choose from that depart from Darwin, these include transport from the city and make the whole experience of seeing the park so seamless.

For the ultimate tour of Kakadu National Park, this 3-day cultural tour is the best! There are too many amazing activities on this tour to list here, but some of our favorite parts have to be the Guluyambi Cultural Cruise on Kakadu’s East Alligator River, the beautiful hike to the Nanguluwurr rock art site, and the trip to the Warradjan Cultural Centre.

This tour also includes wonderfully comfy accommodation, so you know you’ll be getting a great night’s rest, ready for the next day. The best part? The tour focuses heavily on the cultural things to do here in Kakadu, but doesn’t forget to include some of the most incredible natural spots too!

Tickets for this experience cost $2,400 AUD per person, which can definitely seem a little pricey at first. When you consider that the group size is capped at 7 people, you know that you’ll be getting a personalized experience across each and every day of the tour. We can definitely get behind that! You can check your dates and book your slot here.

gunlom falls at kakadu national park
I loved Kakadu National Park!

Our top tip? Kakadu National Park is best explored in the dry season (May to October). You can go on your own, but you will just want to do lots of research to ensure that you know where to visit, how to get around, and where to camp.

A three-day camping tour from Darwin usually costs around $1,000 AUD per person. I’d personally recommend booking this 4WD camping Kakadu trip, – I went on this tour and loved every minute of it! Such a fun experience in the Australian Outback and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about it.

Our guide was a blast and full of information and funny stories. Plus, the small group also makes it easy to meet new people, so I can totally see this as a great way to get social if you’re solo traveling in Darwin or simply looking to meet like-minded travelers. Oh, and it’s significantly cheaper than other similar tours from Darwin.

If you don’t have time for a multi-day trip, you can still visit on a day tour! Although long (around 12 hours), this day tour to Kakadu from Darwin is the top-rated tour in town. You’ll visit some of the very best attractions, such as seeing the famous the Ubirr rock art, as well as enjoying a Guluyambi cruise, and visiting Arnhem Land.

At $290 AUD per person, be sure to book in advance because these small group tours do book up quickly. You don’t want to get stuck on a less-personalized tour on a large bus!

11. Watch a thunderstorm

thunderstorm in darwin australia
Darwin thunderstorms can be crazy, and they’re beautiful!

If you happen to show up in Darwin during the wet season (October to May) and are upset because a lot of things are closed, don’t fret too much, because you are guaranteed to see some wicked storms!

In fact, the storms can be so intense here that the Bininj Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land believe it is the work of Namarragon, the creation ancestor. It’s said that he has axes attached to his head, elbows, and feet which he uses to split apart the clouds and make lightning and thunder as he travels. Let’s just hope we don’t bump into him!

The storms tend to roll in from the ocean and the Lagoon Bar at Mindil Beach Casino Resort gives you a great view. So, make the most of Darwin’s tropical climate and enjoy the show.

12. Walk the Nightcliff to Casuarina Coastal Walk

walk from nightcliff to casuarina beach
Casuarina Beach!

Looking for a fun way to get some exercise and enjoy some gorgeous views in Darwin? Then take a trip outside the city and walk the Nightcliff to Casuarina Coastal Walk.

Although the track begins on Progress Drive on AllTrails, the best place to start is actually from the Nightcliff Jetty car park. You can park your car here and then walk towards Casuarina (to the right if you’re facing the ocean). If you follow the trail, you will head along the beach, over a river, through some mangroves, and finish at Casuarina Beach – the views are gorgeous!

It’s a wonderful way to spend a morning and do some Darwin sightseeing, with the entire trail being around 8 kilometers (5 mi) out and back. But, of course, you can always just walk from the jetty to the Rapid Creek car park, which is a 5-kilometer (3.1 mi) return walk. You can also check out this blog, which explains the route really well.

Related read: Traveling more in Australia? Check out these 31 FREE and cheap things you can do in Sydney!

13. Step back in time at the WWII Tunnels

Darwin WWII tunnels
Inside of the Tunnels.

Near the waterfront (where all of the cruise ships come in) are some original WWII Oil Storage Tunnels. Darwin has a well-known history of its involvement in WWII and much of the city was bombed during raids by the Japanese.

The old oil tunnels are still the original tunnels they built back in the day for WWII and were supposed to be used to store fuel. I’ve got to admit, it did feel a little bit spooky in places (I blame my imagination for that!), but it was such a cool experience to see these tunnels for myself.

Today, for a mere $9.50 AUD you can enter the tunnels and walk through them. They are all lit up and have write-ups and pictures about the tunnels and their use all the way through.

Although it’s just a quick activity in Darwin, visiting is worthwhile if you ask me! The tunnels are open daily from 9 am to 4 pm from May to September and 9 am to 1 pm from October to April.

If you would like to learn more about Darwin’s history and importance in the war, this Bombing of Darwin World War II Tour with Harbour Cruise is the perfect option. It includes a guided visit to the Darwin War Memorial, East Point Military Precinct, Darwin Military Museum, and a short cruise to see the bomb and wreck sites of Japan’s 1942 raids!

Tickets for this tour cost $149 AUD per person and can be booked online here.

14. Shop and eat at the Parap Markets

the parap markets in darwin australia
The Parap Saturday Markets.

On Saturday mornings and early afternoons (between 8 am and 2 pm), the suburb of Parap puts on markets that are a huge hit with the locals! You’ll find many of the same food options that you’d find at the Mindil Markets, but it is a whole different setting.

The Parap Markets are more popular among locals rather than tourists, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth going to. You’ll find a huge selection of handicrafts and goods for sale as well as something tasty if you’re feeling hungry.

Parap is about a 10-minute drive from the city and is accessible by bus as well. The markets also run year-round, so whenever you’re in town on the weekend, stop by for a visit!

Getting around Darwin: One of the best ways to explore Darwin and nearby areas is in your own car. Save on taxis and buses, and rent your own car instead. Rental cars are available both from Darwin city and the airport.

15. Check out the Mindil Beach Resort & Casino

mindil beach resort and casino sunset
Beautiful sunset at Mindil Beach Resort and Casino!

We’ve touched upon the Mindil Beach Casino Resort a couple of times already in this blog, but this resort really deserves its own spot on our list! Whether you’re a gambler or not, it’s such a great place to go for a drink or two, especially during sunset as the bar has killer views of the ocean and tropical gardens.

When you’re feeling hungry, the food at the Italian restaurant called il Piatto is really amazing too! It’s open daily for dinner from 5 pm to 10 pm, and you can make a reservation over on their website. They also have a great selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options on their menu.

For the ultimate place to stay in Darwin, the hotel in the casino is pure luxury! Their pool is right on the ocean’s edge and also features Darwin’s only swim-up bar. There’s also a good selection of rooms on offer too, from their Deluxe King Room right up to their One-Bedroom Suite.

16. Eat crocodile

crocodile meat skewers from a restaurant on stokes hill warf in darwin
It’s actually really tasty!

Locals love crocodiles in the Northern Territory, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t eat them!

One of the popular things to do in Darwin as a tourist is to try some crocodile. To me, it tastes like frog legs, or similar to chicken but with a more rubbery texture.

Crocodile is usually served on a skewer or as a jerky. You can get it as an appetizer at many restaurants or even at the Mindil Markets. The crocodile appetizer dish served at a restaurant called Crustaceans on Stokes Hill Wharf is quite good and worth trying.

17. Eat dinner on Stokes Hill Wharf

dinner at Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin
Out for dinner on Stokes Hill Wharf

Stokes Hill Wharf near the Darwin waterfront is one of my favorite places to go for dinner and drinks. There is a nice restaurant called Crustaceans (which I suggested for trying crocodile), but if that is a bit too pricey for your budget, there are some cheaper options too, including Asian, Indian, and lots of seafood takeaway places.

There is also a food court-type setting – but right on the wharf! Bring your own drinks and enjoy the evening watching the sun go down over the water.

The wharf also hosts free live entertainment every Wednesday and Sunday from April to September, so make sure to come down on these days for a super magical experience.

18. Go skydiving

Daniel Skydiving with his parachute open
Daniel goes skydiving all of the time!

For the adrenaline junkies (I’m looking at you, Dan!), skydiving and landing on the beach is such a fun activity in Darwin.

If you’re after a great bunch of people and a fun night out (I mean, who isn’t?) then head out to the nearby town of Batchelor near Litchfield National Park for a tandem jump or sign up to go solo! The crew at Darwin Parachute Club is awesome and Daniel actually completed his skydive course there.

Be sure to reach out through their website before you visit as the Darwin Parachute Club is only open every second weekend.

19. Enjoy a drink on Mitchell Street

sunday sesh beers in darwin on mitchell street
Beer in the sun – don’t mind if I do!

Locals in Darwin love a good “Sunday sesh” which essentially is an excuse to drink on a Sunday afternoon. On Sunday afternoons the bars on Mitchell Street fill up with those trying to savor the last of their weekend. Most bars have live music as people sit out on the patios drinking ice-cold beers.

Forget about partying late into the night, just go party on a Sunday afternoon!

Wisdom Bar and Café is a local hang-out spot because the music is good, the vibe is chill, and the beers are cold. It’s a nice place to meet locals, people-watch on Mitchell Street, and even have lunch! Open from 11 am to 2 pm, they even have great lunch specials, sometimes for as little as $15 AUD with a beer, house spirit, or house wine.

For an Irish party, head over to Shenannigans. This is one of my favorite bars in Darwin and every day of the week this place draws a crowd, so you know you’ll have a great time. They also have themed food nights every week, from their $15 AUD curry night on Monday to their $10 AUD pasta night on Wednesday.

There are plenty of other bars on Mitchell Street, and to be honest, they are busy most days of the week most of the time. While Sundays were always one of our favorite times to have a drink when we lived in Darwin, you can also head out in the evening. Monsoons Is a favorite for those who want to dance!

20. Explore Cullen Bay

cullen bay in darwin
Cullen Bay is a gorgeous place to hang out!

Cullen Bay is another great place for sunset in Darwin! I know what you’re probably thinking, “how many sunsets do I need to see?” The simple answer? A lot!

The sunsets in Darwin are truly amazing, and you won’t want to miss a single one, so my best advice is to go somewhere different every evening to watch the sunset.

Cullen Bay is a cute little neighborhood that’s about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the city center, so just a short 10-15 minute walk. There is a nice grassy area where you can sit and bring a picnic lunch or dinner, or there are a few different restaurants to choose from.

If you are a big eater, then the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at Seafood on Cullen is well worth a try. But if you are into a chic-pub setting, then try Lola’s PergolaExotic North Indian for great Indian food, or Yots Greek Tavern!

There are also plenty of fishing charters that set off from Cullen Bay, so if you’re up for trying your luck at catching the big one, check them out.

Cullen Bay is also one of the stops on this Hop-on Hop-off tourist busAn adult ticket is only $48 AUD for the day and gets you around to some of the best places to check out around Darwin! So, stop off at Cullen Bay before the sun goes down to spend a wonderful evening here.

21. Visit Crocodylus Park

saltwater crocodile
Crocodylus Park is an option if you want to see crocs and other local wildlife from the area!

Move over Jurassic Park, there’s a new zoo in town, and it’s called Crocodylus Park! To be completely honest, I haven’t been myself, but I have a friend who went and paid extra to play with the meerkats – she absolutely loved it.

There is actually a funny story about Crocodylus Park. When I was living there, a whole bunch of crocodiles happened to, well, escape! Weeks later, people were still finding crocs in drains and backyards, making themselves nice and cozy at home.

Speaking of crocs (it’s almost like this is a croc park or something), the friendly folks at the park also offer – you guessed it – a croc jumping cruise. Taking place daily at 11 am and 1 pm, the cruise follows along their man-made river system that’s actually home to over 40 saltwater crocodiles.

Going to Crocodylus Park in Darwin is a full-day activity, and you’ll find it about 20 minutes from the city center in the suburb of Berrimah. There’s also free parking located on-site too!

Tickets for the park cost $44 AUD for adults (16+) and $24 AUD for kids (3-15 years).

22. Go swimming at the Travelodge

pool at the travelodge darwin
Me, enjoying a cold drink while swimming on a hot summer day in Darwin!

If you don’t have a pool where you are staying (which is likely in Darwin) and need to cool down, the Travelodge in the city has a beautiful outdoor pool that’s open for public use. In fact, you’d be surprised how many people don’t know about this hidden gem!

They will charge you about $8 AUD to use the pool, but it’s honestly a lovely way to cool down with friends right in the city center. I mean, what could be better than good friends, an ice-cold beer, and the Darwinian sun?

The Travelodge itself is also a good budget-friendly hotel option right in Darwin. Check out their prices and availability if you are thinking about booking.

23. Ride in an airboat

an airboat in a swamp
An airboat tour is a unique experience in Darwin! Photo credit: jrferrermn on Bigstock

This is a super unique activity in Darwin! Riding on an airboat is all about thrills, getting you going at top speeds as you cruise through the mangroves, spot crocodiles, and get splashed with mud!

If you’re looking for something fun to do for an hour in the morning or afternoon, then this Darwin adventure airboat tour may be just what you’re looking for. The tour kicks off from Stokes Hill Wharf, which is only a 15-20 minute walk from Darwin’s city center, and includes 60 minutes of thrilling airboat action. Just make sure to hold on tight when you get to the fast laps part of the tour!

This particular airboat tour costs $190 AUD per person and can be booked online here.

24. Go to the rodeo!

noonamah rodeo near darwin
Me, at the Noonemah Rodeo with some friends!

Just on the outskirts of Darwin, you can actually go to a real rodeo!

The Noonamah Rodeo is on nearly every weekend during the Darwin dry season from May to August. Expect live music, barrel racing, bull racing, freestyle motocross, lots of drinks, and tons of fun! It is the place to go if you want to meet locals, the atmosphere is so lively and friendly here!

Getting to the rodeo is about a 35-minute drive from Darwin towards Litchfield National Park. There are free shuttle buses available as well as camping options if you’d rather pitch a tent and spend the night.

Tickets for the rodeo are typically around $50 AUD for adults and $20 AUD for accompanied youths (5-17). The gates officially open at 5:30 pm, so round up your crew and don’t forget to get there on time to see all the action.

25. Go on a scenic flight

small flight plane for a scenic flight in darwin
That’s a tiny plane!

There is no better way to take in the beautiful scenery of Darwin than from the air! From up in the sky you can see the unique bays, mangroves, city center, and incredible wilderness that surround this little city.

You can choose from either a fixed-wing scenic flight or opt for a helicopter ride! Either way, the views are guaranteed to be spectacular. There are lots of flight options available, with the best ones flying over Litchfield National Park or Kakadu National Park.

This particular scenic flight leaves from Darwin airport and takes visitors all the way to Kakadu National Park to soak up the scenery from the sky. It’s one of the best in Darwin and the perfect way to see parts of Kakadu that you couldn’t easily see from the ground! Tickets for this tour start at $800 AUD per person and can be booked online here.

If you’re keen on visiting Litchfield, home to some spectacular waterfalls, this scenic flight is a good option that’s also cheaper than most others in Darwin. Some of the amazing spots you’ll see along the way include the Darwin River Dam, the Magnetic Ant Hills, and the Cascades (such a gorgeous swimming hole!). Starting from just $510 AUD per person, you can grab your spot on this tour online here.

For some of the best views of Darwin City, then this small-group helicopter tour is for you. It’s the best way to get a whole new view of areas you’ve probably visited already on foot, like Mindil Beach and Darwin’s Central Business District. The best part about this tour had to be our amazing pilot, who knew a crazy number of facts about Darwin we’d never even heard of before!

For $410 AUD per person, you can also enjoy this beautiful 30-minute ride above Darwin. The views seriously don’t get better than this, so don’t forget to book your spot!

26. Swim at the Buley Rock Pools

jumping into buley rock pools in litchfield national park
Jumping into the rock pools!

Seeing Litchfield National Park from the air is such an adventure, but so is seeing it from the ground too! The park is only an hour from Darwin and is one of the top attractions we always recommend to friends and family when they visit.

When it comes to what to do in Litchfield National Park, there are a few different attractions that I’d suggest dropping by, one of them being the Buley Rock Pools.

The Buley Rocks Pools are the one place in Litchfield National Park where I could easily spend an entire afternoon at. They’re essentially a series of connected natural pools that you can relax in or jump into, and boy is it fun to jump into them! It’s also the perfect place to have a drink and chill (no glass bottles allowed though, you must bring cans).

The rock pools are almost always open for swimming – it is only during extreme weather conditions where they flood that they close, but this doesn’t happen often.

There’s also no entrance fee to Buley Rock Pools or Litchfield National Park in general, making it a great free activity that you can do solo or with family. There’s an on-site car park not far from the rock pools, so it’s super easy to hire a rental car and drive yourself there.

As for road conditions, the main roads in Litchfield National Park are sealed and well-maintained for 2wd small cars. You can read our road trip guide about how to get from Darwin to Litchfield for more details.

If you don’t fancy driving but still want to visit, then you can skip the hassle and go on a full-day tour from Darwin like this one instead. This small-group tour is limited to just 20 people and stops off at some of the best places to visit in Litchfield National Park, including Florence and Wangi Falls, the Cathedral and Magnetic Termite Mounds, and so much more.

Tickets for this 12-hour tour cost $225 AUD per person, and you can secure your spot online here.

27. Check out Wangi Falls

wangi falls in litchfield national park
The gorgeous Wangi Falls.

About a 15-minute drive from the Buley Rock Pools in Litchfield National Park, you’ll find a beautiful set of two waterfalls known as Wangi Falls. The water here is pretty deep, making it great to swim in (you can bet that we did!).

There’s also a 2.1 km (1.3 mi) loop hike you can do to the top of the waterfall and back down again, which is a great way to stretch your legs after a long car ride. The falls are the furthest attraction from Darwin in Litchfield National Park after all!

The falls are closed for swimming during the wet season (November to May) as it’s prone to flooding and there is the possibility of saltwater crocodiles. But, during those months you can still go and view the waterfalls – just avoid going from a dip!

Wangi Falls is free and accessible with a 2wd car from Darwin. There’s on-site parking and even a nearby campground if you fancy spending the night out in the beautiful Australian wilderness.

Related read: Wangi Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Darwin – find out what the rest are!

28. Relax at the Douglas Daly Hot Springs

the douglas daly hot springs are another one of the free things to do in darwin
The Douglas Daly Hot Springs

Growing up in Canada, I have a special place in my heart for hot springs. So, when I learned about the Douglas Daly Hot Springs, which are about a 45-minute drive from Darwin, I knew I had to visit! This is a perfect place to camp if you have a tent and the time, but if not, it is also a great day trip from Darwin.

The hot springs is basically a small river with areas that vary in temperature. Some parts get really, really hot! From the Douglas Daly Tourist Park, you can go straight into the hot part of the river and relax. Again, it’s also free to visit.

Just be “croc-wise” in this area. Saltwater crocodiles have been spotted here, although this is mainly after heavy rains and is VERY rare. Just be cautious, especially if you are camping overnight and swimming in the dark (like we did). Rangers do check the area daily and close the area if crocs are sighted.

29. See the Termite Mounds

termite mounds in darwin
A HUGE Termite Mound

The Termite Mounds is a cool area to stop at if you are already in Litchfield National Park. It is pretty neat (and impressive!) to see termite mounds standing taller than a person. Now that’s some serious termite-teamwork.

Located right at the entrance of Litchfield National Park, this is just a quick attraction for when you’re passing by. You can just pull over, take a look around at the termite mounds, snap a couple of pictures, and move on. While they are really cool to see, we wouldn’t suggest driving all the way there just to see them. Your best bet is to make it a stop on a day trip to the Litchfield waterfalls!

This full-day tour from Darwin to Litchfield includes a stop at the Termite Mounds as well as the BEST waterfalls in the area.

30. Grab a beer in Humpty Doo

outside of the humpty doo hotel and pub
The Humpty Doo Hotel is a great place to stop for a beer and food.

When you think of the Northern Territory locals you probably imagine a “Crocodile Dundee-type”, right? Well, the pub at the Humpty Doo Hotel is your best chance of meeting him.

One afternoon, stop by this local favorite which is located, believe it or not, in the suburb of Humpty Doo on the outskirts of Darwin. It is on the way to Litchfield, so it also makes for a good stop on the way back into the city.

Enjoy a couple of drinks and meet the locals. There will be drinking, dancing, and having a good laugh – that much is sure. If you’re hungry, try their iconic buffalo, barramundi, or crocodile burgers. The barramundi is my personal favorite!

31. Visit the Territory Wildlife Park

daniel at the territory wildlife park
Daniel, at the Territory Wildlife Park near Darwin.

If you’re confused about what to see in Darwin, then start with a saltwater crocodile! The Territory Wildlife Park is one of the best places to do this. They have their very own resident 6-meter-long (19.7 ft) crocodile in a tank that you can walk right next to!

But besides the croc, the Territory Wildlife Park is essentially a giant outdoor zoo, with so many amazing animals. It is right out in the middle of nowhere and the trails wind through the forest, which makes the experience pretty unique. It’s also famous for the big bird cages that you get to walk through.

Open daily at 9 am, entrance to the Territory Wildlife Park is $39.50 AUD for an adult (17+), $20 AUD for kids (5-16), and it is about a 45-minute drive from Darwin city center. You can book a shuttle from Darwin if you don’t have your own rental car already.

32. Crab Claw Island

crab-claw-island-resort-darwin
Crab Claw Island! Photo credit: Crab Claw Island Resort

If you’re looking to spoil yourself on a stunning island complete with seafood, drinks, pools, and more, then Crab Claw Island Resort is exactly where you need to go.

This is a beautiful island located about a 2-hour boat journey from Darwin. Once there, you can simply relax poolside or join in on some of the many activities the resort offers, including fishing, mud crabbing, bird watching, and more!

You can choose to visit Crab Claw Island on a day trip from Darwin or spend a couple of nights. This particular day trip includes your transport, a buffet seafood lunch, and use of resort facilities, including the pools.

However, if you have time to spare, then I highly recommend spoiling yourself and spending a night or two at the resort. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant, and if you catch yourself a big one when fishing, the chefs here can prepare it for you!

Rooms here start at $220 AUD per person. Be sure to book in advance though as the resort is often fully booked (especially in the dry season!).

33. Tiwi Islands

ferry-to-tiwi-islands-from-darwin
Venture to the unique Tiwi Islands – home to the Tiwi people.

Jump on a ferry from Cullen Bay in Darwin and head across to the Tiwi Islands for a cultural experience like no other. Home to the Tiwi people, the Tiwi Islands is the only aboriginal community that you don’t need a permit to visit. The Tiwi people are known for being extremely friendly!

When Dan and I last visited, we got the chance to do some painting and hand weaving with the locals, who are so skilled you wouldn’t believe. There’s also a beautiful museum which tells the story of the islands, from past to present.

The Tiwi Islands are located about a 2.5-hour boat ride from Darwin. You can choose to visit on a full-day organized tour, or simply book the ferry and explore the island yourself.

Either way, a visit is a wonderful cultural experience and easily one of the most unique things to do in Darwin.

34. Visit Katherine and the Katherine Gorge

the katherine gorge is a great option of things to do near darwin
Daniel checking out the Katherine Gorge.

If you have more than a couple of days to spend in Darwin, consider taking a trip over to the scenic town of Katherine, which is about a three-hour drive away.

Near Katherine is the famous Katherine Gorge – which is absolutely breathtaking! We’d recommend taking a boat cruise through the gorge to enjoy it best. There is even a famous waterfall that you can visit if you do the cruise. It’s one of the best in the Northern Territory.

You can actually visit Katherine on a day trip if you prefer. Although a long day, you’ll get to do a two-hour cruise through Katherine Gorge, visit the Adelaide River War Cemetery, swim at Edith Falls, enjoy a delicious lunch, and get to see large saltwater crocodiles. It’s a great tour for those short on time and want to get in as much as possible.

This tour costs $339 AUD per person and dates do book up quickly, so make sure to secure your spot online here in advance.

35. Explore Edith Falls

swimming at edith falls
The top waterfall at Edith Falls. You are allowed to swim here.

Last, but definitely not least, it’s time for more waterfalls! On the way to Katherine, don’t forget to make a stop at Edith Falls. These waterfalls have several levels, many of which you can actually swim in! It is free to visit and a super fun place to explore, swim, and take pictures at the various lookouts.

You can also camp at Edith Falls. At the lower falls near the parking lot is a government-run campground – perfect for spending a night on a budget! Alternatively, the grassy day-use areas have picnic tables which are where I usually go for lunch.

Where to Stay in Darwin

mindil beach resort pool from above
Photo Credit: Mindil Beach Resort Darwin

If you’re visiting Darwin to explore all of the best things to do, then you’re going to need somewhere to stay. Lucky for you, there are tons of amazing places to stay in Darwin. In fact, there are so many that you might have a hard time choosing!

To help you decide which hotel is best for your needs, I’ve put together a list of the best hostel, hotels, and Airbnbs for you in Darwin. These choices are based on my own personal experience and the experiences of friends and family who always came to visit us in Darwin!

Best Hostel – Youth Shack

This backpackers hostel is located right on Mitchell Street in the most central location, just 5 minutes from Darwin Harbour. They offer comfortable dorm beds, budget-friendly private rooms, and all rooms have air conditioning. What’s more, there are also on-site laundry facilities, which you’ll definitely need after some time spent out in the Darwin sun!

Their rooftop pool and bar is always busy and the perfect place to party and meet other travelers. If you’re a solo traveler looking to get to know locals and other travelers, this is the place to be!

A bed in a dorm here at the Youth Shack goes as low as $82 AUD per night and can be booked on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Best Budget Hotel – The Cavenagh

This centrally located hotel is super cheap but also comfortable with a pool and clean rooms. They have standard double rooms but also have a few dorms available too. The on-site restaurant is a favorite among Darwin locals for their delicious steak and cold beer, so you can’t go wrong grabbing a bite to eat here!

Rooms at the Cavenagh start at $150 AUD. You can check prices and book The Cavenagh online here.

Best Moderately Priced Hotel – Travelodge Resort Darwin

I love the Travelodge Resort Darwin for their amazing outdoor area complete with tropical gardens and multiple pools. Located a short walk from Mitchell Street, this hotel is in a quiet area but still central.

Their rooms are great value and are perfect for couples or families. Aside from the incredible pools, they also have a fully-equipped fitness center, and you can grab a light meal throughout the day at their Raintree Poolside Café and Bar.

A one night stay here starts at $289 AUD. You can check prices and book the Travelodge Resort Darwin here.

Best Luxury Stay – Mindil Beach Casino and Resort

It doesn’t get more luxurious in Darwin than the Mindil Beach Resort. Located right on Mindil Beach, this hotel is known for its out-of-this-world oceanfront pools, as well as having tons of delicious on-site bars and restaurants. It really is pure luxury!

Of course, this resort naturally offers tons of entertainment options, as well as an incredible fitness center and amazing service. If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Darwin – then this is it.

Rooms here at the Mindil Beach Casino and Resort start at $331 AUD per night. You can check dates and book online here!

Best Holiday Home/Airbnb – Argus Apartments Darwin

This apartment building is located right near the CBD, not far from the waterfront, and includes everything you’d expect from a fully self-constrained apartment. You can choose between a 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, and 4-bedroom apartment, that sleeps up to 8 people.

All units are fitted with a full kitchen as well as a patio with a BBQ. The building also has a pool as well as a gym, so you can get in some exercise or simply relax whenever you’d like.

Rates here for apartments start from around $400 AUD per night, and you can browse available apartments online here!

If you’re looking for more details on where to stay in Darwin, check out our complete blog! Otherwise, you can have a look at all of the hotels available online here.

Visiting Darwin, Australia FAQs

picture with a guide on a jumping croc cruise in darwin australia
Meet Pat, a true Blue Aussie!

Getting Around Darwin

4wd-drive-tour-in-kakadu
My mother-in-law and I on a 4wd tour in Kakadu!

There is public transport (a bus) that operates in Darwin. This is great for getting around within the city limits to places like Cullen Bay, Mindil Beach, or even the Parap Markets.

However, if you want to explore more remote locations such as Litchfield National Park, Berry Springs, the Territory Wildlife Park, or many other attractions then you’re going to need to book organized tours or get your own wheels.

You can easily rent a car in either Darwin or at the airport. Rental cars are great value for money – especially when compared with booking a couple of organized tours!

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Darwin in the dry season, then you might want to camp! Consider renting a campervan or motorhome for camping and road trip opportunities! Head out to Kakadu National Park, Litchfield, or Katherine and spend a few nights in the Aussie Outback.

Before you go…

we love waterfalls near darwin
Thanks for reading our blog! We hope you enjoy Darwin as much as we do! (The picture is us enjoying a drink at Litchfield National Park).

And there you have it, 35 awesome things to do in Darwin, Australia! As you can tell, I am very enthusiastic about Darwin. I truly think that Darwin offers an experience unique to anywhere else in Australia and I hope this blog has helped you see that too!

If you found this blog useful, then be sure to check out the rest of our blogs about Australia. Otherwise, check out some of our most popular blogs below:

Choose the BEST Jumping Croc Cruise in Darwin

Complete Guide to Visiting Exmouth, WA

25 Tips for Surviving Long-Haul Flights

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Tammy Larkings

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

An absolutely fabulous rundown of whats on and to do in Darwin, I followed most of these posts and had a fabulous holiday due to your recommendations

Yvi

Monday 4th of October 2021

Thanks for all the tips and fyi about Darwin 😘👍🏻💕

Waza

Sunday 15th of August 2021

Well done Covered everything plus more, that I wanted to know about Darwin

Pam Levy

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Great article! We're planning to head back to Australia next year and have been debating going to Darwin - this has clinched it for us! One quick question though - you mentioned in the section about watching a thunderstorm, that the wet season is from May to October, but I was under the assumption that the wet is November to April? Thanks again for the great tips, we'll be hitting as many of these as we can :)

destinationlesstravel

Thursday 13th of February 2020

Hey Pam!

That's awesome Darwin is amazing! We are actually heading back this year in July!

Yes, you are totally correct that is a typo! We will fix it right away!

The bet tie of year to visit Darwin is June, July, and August.

Thanks Daniel

Ruger M Hawkeye For Sale

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Bookmarked!!, I love your site! I'll be back!!!! Thank you :-)