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Where to Stay in Darwin, Australia – An Unbiased Guide to Darwin Accommodation

Where to Stay in Darwin, Australia – An Unbiased Guide to Darwin Accommodation

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Knowing where to stay in Darwin, Australia is tricky. The city has a huge range of accommodations to choose from! In this guide, I point out some of the best Darwin hotels and places to stay based on price, location, value, and comfort (and my opinion is 100% unbiased!).

Famous for crocs, waterfalls, pubs, and the good old Australian Outback, the small and touristic city is the perfect place to visit on vacation.

I know because I once visited Darwin as a traveler and loved it so much that I actually moved there for two years! After living there, I can safely say that there are a ton of epic things to do in Darwin.

During my time in Darwin, I stayed at plenty of different hotels and hostels and have discovered that not all places to stay here are created equal. In fact, you don’t always get what you pay for and there are some “budget” hotels that offer some incredible rooms and facilities!

In this blog, I will help you decide where to stay in Darwin by recommending specific Darwin accommodation options based on location, price, and comfort. I’ve included the absolute best hostels, motels, hotels, resorts, and Airbnbs!

Where to Stay in Darwin – The BEST Areas

When you’re looking for a place to stay in Darwin, you need to first decide which area of the city is best for you. Although it’s a pretty small city, there are a ton of interesting areas that are quite different from one another! Below are the most popular areas to stay, including why you should stay there and why maybe you shouldn’t.

Darwin City Center (Darwin CBD)

smith street mall in darwin city center
The Smith Street Mall in Darwin city center.

This is the most popular place to stay in Darwin with the best access to bars, restaurants, and shopping. Unlike most city centers, Darwin isn’t too busy so traffic isn’t an issue. The only downside to staying in the Darwin city center is that it can be loud late at night here.

Cullen Bay

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

Cullen Bay is a gorgeous suburb located just a 5-minute drive from the city center. Here, you’ll find the beautiful Cullen Bay Marina, and most places to stay have an ocean view. There are a handful of restaurants here too, but choices are limited. The public bus connects Cullen Bay with the city center.

Darwin Waterfront

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

While still technically in the city center, the Darwin Waterfront is an area down the hill from the main city streets of Mitchell Street and Smith Street (but still within walking distance.) Staying here will be quieter than in the city, and you’ll be right close to the Darwin Lagoon, Wave Pool, and Precinct (where you can find a few bars and restaurants).

Outer Suburbs

daniel at the territory wildlife park
At the Territory Wildlife Park, an attraction on the outskirts of Darwin.

You can stay in one of the many outer suburbs of Darwin. They are generally quieter than the city, but depending on the suburb you choose can be a bit of a drive. Parap, Stuart Park, and Larrakeyah are the closest suburbs to the city while places like Palmerston are quite far out.

If you’re mostly interested in visiting Litchfield National Park, then a suburb that’s a little further out like Humpty Doo is a great choice! Palmerston is another area that is on the outskirts of Darwin on the road towards Litchfield.

Where to Stay in Darwin City Center (CBD)

Most people who visit Darwin want to stay in the city center. Not only is the city center the perfect place for accessibility (especially if you don’t have a car) but it’s also very beautiful. Darwin city is surrounded by the ocean and beautiful walks that make it the perfect holiday escape.

Why stay in Darwin city center?

To me, the Darwin city center is the best place to stay in Darwin.

Darwin doesn’t have the best public transport. Public buses are the only public transport available and they run infrequently and sparsely. Not to mention, taxis are VERY expensive and Uber does not exist in the Northern Territory.

Therefore, if you don’t have a car, staying in the city center is where you need to be in order to access bars, restaurants, shops, attractions, and tour agencies.

But even if you do have a vehicle, most hotels in Darwin city center have free parking available and the city is a very vibrant and fun place to stay.

3 BEST Darwin City Center Hotels – Mid-Range Budget ($$)

There is the most selection of hotels and hostels in the Darwin city center. Some of my personal favorites are:

Argus Hotel Darwin

argus hotel darwin pool
Photo Credit: Argus Hotel Darwin

The Argus Hotel Darwin is easily the best bang for your buck with a central location, gorgeous pool, and rooms fitted out with refrigerators! This hotel has a modern design and room rates also include a delicious breakfast. But for me, one of the best parts about my stay here was the seriously comfortable bed – just heaven!

It really doesn’t get more central than the Argus when it comes to places to stay in Darwin! Rooms here start at around $310 AUD per night. You can book the Argus and check prices here on Booking.com.

Travelodge Resort Darwin

travelodge resort darwin pool
Photo Credit: Travelodge Resort Darwin

I love this hotel! It has the most gorgeous outdoor pools set in a tropical garden that’ll make you want to stick around and enjoy it. The Travelodge is located on a quiet street offering a peaceful stay only a couple of hundred meters (around 600 ft or so) away from the busy Mitchell Street!

To me, it would be a perfect hotel for families with huge outdoor pools. A one night-stay here starts at $300 AUD per night – you can check prices and secure the Travelodge here.

Local tip: If you book a hotel without a pool, you can use the Travelodge’s pool for the day for only $8 AUD per person! That’s right, their gorgeous pool is open for public use, and they also have a café and bar, so you can relax with a drink in hand.

Darwin City Hotel

the outside of the Darwin City Hotel
Photo Credit: Darwin City Hotel

This is easily one of the most popular hotels in Darwin. First of all, the Darwin City Hotel is located right on Smith Street in the CBD. Second of all, the rooms here are super affordable with a massive range of room types available for any type of traveler and budget (standard doubles, apartments, family rooms, and more).

The hotel also has a pool, fitness center, and restaurant. A one-night stay here in a deluxe room costs around $230 AUD. You can easily book the Darwin City Hotel on Booking.com with the lowest price guarantee.

Cheap Accommodation in Darwin – Hostels and Budget Hotels ($)

Australia isn’t cheap, and Darwin is no exception. Finding somewhere to stay on a budget can be challenging as most of the hotels are well over $200 AUD a night!

But, there are a few gems where you can spend the night for cheap and have a great stay at the same time.

There are a couple of backpacker hostels that offer dorm beds for cheap. But there are also a couple of great hotels that offer private rooms for a very affordable rate as well.

Youth Shack Backpackers Darwin

the youth shack hostel pool in Darwin
Photo Credit: The Youth Shack Backpackers

The Youth Shack backpacker hostel offers both private rooms and dorms. It is famous for being a “party place” with its large rooftop bar and swimming pool. I personally stayed here for a couple of weeks when I first moved to Darwin and I really liked it. If you’re feeling like exploring, there are some amazing markets on Mindil Beach just a 10-minute walk away.

I met a ton of awesome people too! A bed here in a dorm ranges from $82 to $103 AUD per night and can be booked online via Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Coconut Grove Holiday Apartments

coconut grove holiday apartments
Photo courtesy of Coconut Grove Holiday Apartments

If you’re looking for a centrally located cheap double room, then the Coconut Grove Holiday Apartments are perfect! There’s a huge range of room types to choose from as well, from their one-bedroom apartments all the way up to three-bedroom apartments. When staying on a budget, I’d suggest staying in the queen motel room, which has air conditioning as well as an ensuite bathroom!

Rooms here go for as little as $135 AUD per night and are perfect for couples traveling on a budget. For the best availability, you should book Coconut Grove Apartments well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Alatai Holiday Apartments

alatai holiday apartments darwin
Photo Credit: Alatai Holiday Apartments

The Alatai Holiday Apartments are located just a 20-minute walk from the city center, with each room equipped with a kitchenette or kitchen. This is great for preparing your own meals, which means you can also save money on food!

Although this is a budget hotel, don’t let the price of the rooms fool you! The apartments are actually quite spacious and even have other super useful amenities like washing machines and free WiFi. Honestly, this is seriously good value for everything that you get, as long as you don’t mind being a little bit further of a walk out from all the action on the beachfront.

A studio apartment here goes for as little as $108 AUD and a family unit for up to 4 people goes for about $180 AUD! You can check prices for your desired dates for Alatai Apartments online in advance.

The Absolute BEST Darwin Hotels – Luxury Hotels ($$$)

If price isn’t an issue and you want to stay at the absolute BEST hotels in Darwin, then there are some seriously amazing hotels on offer here. Trust me, these hotels do not disappoint!

Mindil Beach Casino and Resort

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

Formerly known as “Skycity Casino and Resort”, the five-star Mindil Beach Casino and Resort has to be the most beautiful and luxurious hotel in Darwin. It looks right out onto Mindil Beach and promises incredible sunsets every night. There is also a selection of three award-winning restaurants on-site, as well as four unique bars and a gorgeous infinity pool.

You can book a stay here at this luxurious hotel starting from $304 AUD per night. It is important to book the Mindil Beach Resort online in advance to secure your room, though, as this is a really popular resort and does book up quickly!

Local tip: The Mindil Beach Casino and Resort is located right next to the famous Mindil Markets. Visiting the Mindil Markets is one of the best things to do in Darwin – so check them out!

Mantra on the Esplanade

mantra on the esplanade darwin
Photo Credit: Mantra on the Esplanade

The Mantra is well-known in Darwin for being a luxury hotel that also offers beautifully furnished holiday apartments, many of which have epic panoramic views! This particular apartment complex is right in the city center and on the water, so it’s perfect for exploring the city and chilling out at the beach.

All of the apartments here have weekly housekeeping, which is great if you’re planning on staying here for a few weeks or even longer. That being said, plenty of guests also en

Along the esplanade, you can go for a walk and enjoy the views. This hotel also has a beautiful pool! Check prices for the Mantra online now.

Doubletree by Hilton

doubletree by hilton hotels darwin pool
Photo Credit: Doubletree by Hilton Hotels

Hilton hotels are known internationally for providing consistently good (and beautiful) hotels with great service. The Doubletree by Hilton is exactly that! It’s centrally located in Darwin and offers rooms with a view, as well as a delicious breakfast. You can also book apartments here in case you’re traveling in a group, with family, or simply need more space.

Rooms here start from around $289 AUD, and it’s best to check prices and availability for the Doubletree online in advance.

Why do we suggest Booking.com? Booking.com is our favorite hotel booking platform and how we ALWAYS book hotels. The reviews make it easy to choose a suitable hotel and their customer service has helped us out several times. Plus, they have a “lowest price guarantee”, which means if the hotel lowers the price before your stay Booking.com will ensure they match that price!

Iconic Places to Stay in Darwin

What do I mean by “iconic”? Well, I mean those famous places to stay in Darwin that are so, well…Darwin! What I mean is that Darwin has its own unique personality and with that comes some hotels that have this same “personality.”

If you want a true NT experience then you need to stay at one of these iconic hotels in Darwin:

Humpty Doo Hotel

outside of the humpty doo hotel and pub
The Humpty Doo Hotel has a famous pub attached to it!

The Humpty Doo Hotel isn’t technically in Darwin, but rather one of Darwin’s outer suburbs called “Humpty Doo.” This place is your typical outback Australian pub and hotel. You’re guaranteed to have a few beers and laughs here. It is also located closer to Litchfield National Park than those in Darwin city. Spending a night here is a great experience!

For those on a budget, the hotel offers newly refurbished motel rooms from $160 AUD per night. If you fancy staying in a little more luxurious, they also have cottage-style cabins away from the main building for just $20 AUD more. These guys are so old school that they aren’t on any official hotel booking websites, so you’ll have to contact them directly to book!

Related read: The Humpty Doo Hotel is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore some of the best waterfalls in and around Darwin since it is located on the road from Darwin towards Litchfield.

The Cavenagh

cavenagh hotel room
Photo Credit: The Cavenagh Hotel

The Cavenagh hotel is right in the city center district and is attached to a pub that locals refer to as “the Cav”. Here, you can get a budget room with a pool right next to one of the most popular pubs in town!

Having a drink and a steak at “the Cav” will have you chatting with some Darwin locals and learning all about the city in no time. Rooms here start from around $150 AUD in the low season and can go to around $250 AUD in the high season. You can book the Cav online in advance to secure your room and rate.

Related Read: While in town, be sure to check out the best tours in Darwin!

Amazing Holiday Homes and Airbnbs in Darwin

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

Holiday home rentals (also commonly referred to as “Airbnbs”) are a great solution for an amazing place to stay in Darwin. Grab a central apartment complete with a full kitchen and pool, or if you’re traveling as a family or group, an entire home is perfect to sleep everybody comfortably!

Here are some of our top holiday home rentals you should consider in Darwin:

The CitySide

A homey 2 bedroom apartment that sleeps 4 and is located on the outskirts of Darwin just 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) from the Darwin International Airport. This space will provide safe accommodations while still being within walking distance of restaurants and cafes and is only a short 5-minute drive into the city center.

It’s especially great for families because of the large kitchen (yes, it has a coffee maker!), dining room, and tropical outdoor courtyard. You can book The Cityside online here!

Absolute Waterfront – Neptuna

For groups looking for an elevated stay in the Darwin CBD district, the Absolute Waterfront – Neptuna suite might just be perfect! It’s a modern open-air concept that looks directly out at the water and can sleep 6 adults in three bedrooms. Spend one of your evenings dining inside one of the Darwin Waterfront Precinct restaurants right across the street, or make use of the property’s private beach and pool.

A stay here costs around $513 AUD per night in the low season, however it does increase during the high season. You can book the Absolute Waterfront online – this one does book out really quickly!

Hudson Parap

This apartment-style hotel is a moderately priced option with tasteful decor and furnishing. It’s a brisk walk from the Parap Markets and is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and public transportation. There are several different room sizes and optional upgrades, so you’ll be sure to find something that works for your needs.

One night here at Hudson Parap starts at $233 AUD per night and can be booked online in advance here!

Renting a Car in Australia

Driving through the outback in a rental car in Australia
Outback Australia!

With many must-see destinations in Australia outside city limits, one of the best ways to get around is in a rental car.

Australia is a huge country and traveling between cities or getting to some of the most scenic spots requires driving. While public transit is sometimes an option, it often adds a lot of time and planning. Plus, we love the freedom of a rental car to stop wherever we want and not have to stick to a set schedule.

Car rental in Australia is super affordable, especially if you choose a smaller vehicle. We use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine that compares multiple car rental companies for you – saving you from visiting each website individually.

If you plan to be based in a main city like Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth and do a few day trips while returning your car to the same location, we’ve booked rentals for as cheap as $25 AUD a day! Full coverage insurance can be added for around an extra $12 AUD a day too.

The price will vary depending on the time of year, type of car, and if you’re able to pick up and drop off at the same location.

Discover Cars also offers handy filters so you can search for cars that offer features like child seats, GPS, or let you have an additional driver. There are also free cancellation options if your trip changes.

Check out the selection and book your car rental online here!

Before you go…

we love waterfalls near darwin
Thanks for reading!

Honestly, Darwin is an amazing place to visit and the truth is that you will have a brilliant time no matter where you stay! Nonetheless, I hope this blog has helped you choose a Darwin hotel and made your planning process that much easier.

If you do stay at any of the above-mentioned places I’d love to hear what you thought – leave a comment at the end of this blog for me!

Be sure to check out some of our other Australia blogs – they offer tons of more insider information about visiting Darwin and other places in Australia! Otherwise, check out these related blogs:

Jumping Cruise Darwin – Know Before You Go

33 Best Things to do in Darwin

31 Free and Cheap Things to do in Sydney

7 BEST Waterfalls near Darwin

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Isabel

Sunday 19th of June 2022

Thanks. Darwin accommodation very helpful. Hope to go there.

Cheap Hotels In Toronto City Centre

Saturday 24th of August 2019

I love anything & everything that is written well… yeah you got some good content going on there for sure.