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. This small, touristic city has a huge range of accommodation to choose from. In this guide, I point out some of the best Darwin accommodation based on price, location, value, and comfort (and my opinion is 100% unbiased!)
Darwin Accommodation Guide
Famous for crocs, waterfalls, pubs, and the good old Australian Outback, Darwin is the perfect place to visit as a traveler.
I know because I once visited Darwin as a traveler and loved it so much that I actually moved there for two years!
During my time in Darwin, I stayed at plenty of different hotels and hostels and have discovered that not all places to stay in Darwin 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!
*Please note, that my choices in this blog are ENTIRELY my own. None of these hotels/hostels have asked me to write this or paid for their mention. Each Darwin hotel recommended in this blog is based on my own personal opinion either from staying there myself or from the extensive research I’ve conducted.
Where to Stay in Darwin – The BEST Areas
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Darwin, you need to first decide which area of the city is best for you. Below are the most popular areas to stay in Darwin including why you should stay there and why maybe you shouldn’t.
Darwin City Center (Darwin CBD)
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 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.
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 walking distance.) Staying here will be quieter than 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.)
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 further suburb like Humpty Doo is a great choice!
Where to Stay in Darwin City Center
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.
Best Darwin City Center Hotels
There is the most selection of hotels and hostels in the Darwin city center. Some of my personal favorites are:
Easily the best bang for your buck with a central location, gorgeous pool, and rooms fitted out with refrigerators all for less than $150 a night! This hotel has a modern design and room rates include a delicious breakfast. It doesn’t get more central than the Argus when it comes to places to stay in Darwin!
I love this hotel! It has the most gorgeous outdoor pools set in a tropical garden. It is located on a quiet street offering a peaceful stay only a couple of hundred meters away from the busy Mitchell Street! To me, it would be a perfect hotel for families with huge outdoor pools.
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.
This is easily one of the most popular hotels in Darwin. First of all, it is located right on Smith Street in the CBD. Second of all, they are super affordable and have a huge range of rooms 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.
Cheap Accommodation in Darwin
Australia isn’t cheap, and Darwin is no exception. Finding somewhere to stay on a budget can be challenge 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 few backpacker hostels that offer dorm beds for cheap. But there are also a couple of great hotels that offer private rooms for a very cheap rate as well.
Best Cheap Accommodation in Darwin
This 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. I met a ton of awesome people too!
If you want a centrally located cheap double room then the Value Inn is perfect! Rooms go for as little as $70 AUD a night and have air conditioning with an ensuite bathroom! This is perfect for couples traveling on a budget.
These holiday apartments are located right in the city center. They are affordable and have kitchens in the rooms which means you can save money on food! A studio apartment goes for as little as $70 AUD and a family unit for up to 4 people goes for about $120 AUD!
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:
It 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!
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!
This hotel 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 in no time!
The Absolute BEST Darwin Hotels
If the price isn’t an issue and you want to stay at the absolute BEST hotels in Darwin, then you need to choose one of the following:
Formerly known as “Skycity Casino and Resort” this is the most beautiful and luxurious hotel in Darwin. It looks out onto Mindil Beach and promises incredible sunsets every night. There is a selection of fine restaurants on-site as well as bars and huge pools!
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!
The Mantra is known for being a luxury hotel that also offers luxury holiday apartments. This particular location is right in the city center and on the water! Along the esplanade, you can go for a walk and enjoy the views. This hotel also has a beautiful pool!
Hilton hotels are known internationally for providing consistently good (and beautiful) hotels with great service. This hotel is no different offering rooms with a view, a pool, a central location, and a delicious breakfast! You can also book apartments here in case you’re traveling in a group, with family, or simply need more space.
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!
Best Airbnbs in Darwin
Airbnbs are a great alternative to staying in hotels. Airbnbs are often entire apartments or full houses that come at a fraction of the price of large hotel chains. The following are the best Airbnbs in Darwin including my top choice for couples, families, and large groups!
This Airbnb is perfect for couples or a solo traveler looking for a modern apartment. It is located right in the city center of Darwin walking distance from practically everything! The apartment comes with a full kitchen, laundry, and one-bedroom separate from the living space.
This beautiful 2-bedroom apartment is located right in Cullen Bay, only minutes from the city center. It has views of the marina as well as a pool in the building. The apartment has a full kitchen and two bathrooms with three beds that sleeps up to 5 people. It is perfect for a family or even two couples traveling together!
Located in Cullen Bay, this is one of the only ocean front properties in Darwin. It is an entire villa with 4 bedrooms that sleeps up to 8 people. And it has it’s own private pool! For a group looking for a luxury stay, this Airbnb is perfect!
Before you go…
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:
January 10, 2021