In this mysterious Australian paradise you will discover the true wilderness of magnificent waterfalls, immense swamps, kingdom of crocodiles and indigenous culture of over 40 thousand years ago. The port city of Darwin located in the north of Australia is also known as the “territory of crocodiles”, the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia, visitors come here to enjoy the tropical climate, largest national parks, explore diverse cultures, enjoy its unique cuisine and much more in Darwin. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Darwin, Australia for the first-time? Let’s check out our Darwin Australia travel blog (Darwin travel blog, Darwin blog) with the fullest Darwin travel guide (Darwin guide, Darwin tourist guide) from how to get there, best time to go, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!
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Darwin is a multicultural city especially linguistic. One-third of the population in this northernmost tip city are Aboriginal people, although English is still the main language, visitors can hear Greek, Chinese, native Australian, Tagalog (one of the main languages of the Philippines), Italian, Vietnamese and languages of European countries.
Darwin australia travel blog: Overview of Darwin
Darwin is the most populous city in the Northern Territory of Australia with a population of about 165,000 people and an area of 3,164 km². The city is located on the northernmost coast of Australia. The city’s climate is tropical with storms, thunderstorms and tornadoes. As a part of the Northern Territory, Darwin is known as the multicultural city of Australia when it concentrates a large number of residents in the country and comes from other countries around the world such as Greece, Northern Europe, Vietnam… Darwin is a paradise for adventure lovers. Here you will find beautiful harbours dating back to World War 2, experience the tropical lifestyle that you can easily grasp in the “outdoors” culture and inspiring natural treasures.
You can explore it all the way you want, like renting a fishing boat to experience the Mary River wetlands or driving yourself to go on an adventure. Prepare yourself because you will be amazed at the majestic waterfalls and pits as well as the most beautiful flora in the world. Another interesting option is take a hike in the amazingly beautiful Litchfield National Park. Right on the beachfront, there are many restaurants like Hanuman, Pee Wee’s at the Point, Char where you can dine like royalty, or Il Lido restaurant with signature Italian style.
Darwin travel blog: When to go to Darwin?
The climate in Darwin is divided into two main seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. However, you can take the trip at any time of the year.
The best time to travel to Darwin is in the dry season from May to September with sunny days, hot and dry during the day and cool at night. The temperatures ranging from 21 degrees Celsius (70°F) to 32 degrees Celsius (90°F), humidity around 60% to 65%. The dry season is the most ideal time to visit Darwin and experience the activities suggested below, including remote areas that are difficult to reach during the rainy season.
The rainy season starts from October to April next year with an average humidity of over 80%, accompanied by monsoon rains and storms. Temperatures ranging from 25 degrees Celsius (77°F) to 33 degrees Celsius (91°F). However, this time has the advantage of cool air, very suitable for leisure vacations.
Darwin Australia travel blog: Getting to Darwin
Flying is the most convenient way to get to Darwin. Darwin International Airport is Darwin’s only airport, 13 km away from Darwin city center, in the suburb of Eaton.
- 13 km from the city center
- Travel time 15 minutes
- Taxi price around A$20 to A$30 for a trip between the airport and Darwin CBD district.
- Airport Shuttle Service for all flights. One-way fare A$16 (adult), A$8 (children 4-12 years old); round-trip A $ 29 (adult), A $ 14 (children). There is a discount for two or more people. Details for schedules and routes, you can refer here.
- Ridesharing: You also use rideshare service to getting from the airport to city center. The fares vary depending on types of vehicles, travel time, and distance. You can call Uber, the driver will pick you up at the Rideshare Pick-up area.
Darwin travel guide: Getting around Darwin
For the convenience of traveling in and around the city of Darwin. You can choose from the means of transportation below.
- Buslink bus: Tel: +61 (8) 8944 2444
- Coach Charters Australia: Ttel: +61 (8) 8988 1447 / + 61 (8) 8988 2524
- Darwin People Movers: Tel: +61 0400 870 256
- Grand Touring Coaches: Tel: 1800 444 149 / +61 (8) 8981 0300
- Greyhound Charters: Tel: 1800 801 294
- Metro Coach Services: Tel: 08 898 30577
If you want to rent a car or other means, please visit: darwinairport.com.au/to-from-airport.
Rent a car is also good options, you can maximize your visit by renting a car. There are many rental companies for you to choose from with various types of vehicles, you can refer to some firms:
- Ask Darryl in Darwin: Tel: 0417 832 836
- A1 Luxury Transfer: Tel: 0434 397 913
- Darwin Limousines: Tel: 0414 426 518
- Territory Limousines Service: Tel: 0429 776 799
In addition, you can take a Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus tour to getting around city with no limit travel times, these buses will take you to the city attractions, you can buy tickets for 24 hours, 48 hours…
Darwin Australia travel blog: Where to go and what to do
Officially opened and introduced to the public in 1990, the Darwin Aviation Museum is a place to display aircrafts and engines in the Northern Territory in particular and Australia in general. Most impressive is perhaps the USAF B-52 bomber, supported by the United States Air Force, which is also one of the two aircrafts on display outside of the United States. There are also two Mirage and Saber jet fighters and a Royal Australian Navy Wessex helicopter that was involved in the cleanup of Darwin after the Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
Address: 557 Stuart Hwy, Winnellie NT 0820, Australia
Housed in a tropical garden in Darwin Harbor, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is considered a great stopover for exploration of Australian history and culture. Specifically, the exhibitions here regularly display impressive collections of Aboriginal, Southeast Asian countries and Oceanian art as well as the works of many Australian artists.
In particular, visitors do not forget to admire the 5.1m long “Sweetheart” model of a giant male saltwater crocodile in Australia which often attacked fishing boats in the 1970s. In addition, the museum also preserves pictures of Darwin city before and after the tropical Cyclone Tracy in 1974 which devastated the city, killed 71 people and a terrifying audio record of this devastating storm. After the tour, guests can relax with a cup of coffee and snacks in the lounge.
Address: 19 Conacher St, The Gardens NT 0820, Australia
If you visit Darwin and ignore the Parliament House, it is truly regrettable. Located in the State Square area, this Parliament House serves as the administrative center of the Government and Law of the Northern Territory of Australia. After 4 years of construction, the Building was inaugurated by the Governor-General of Australia – Bill Hayden on August 18, 1994, marked officially put into operation. Coming here, visitors will surely be impressed by the green space covering the outside of this building as if you are standing in a peaceful suburb. Stepping inside, visitors will have 90 minutes to visit and admire the unique architecture of a modern tropical construction.
Address: Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia
If you have the opportunity to travel to Darwin, many of you will definitely choose Mindil Beach as the first place to visit. Located about 2km from the city center, this beautiful tropical beach will give visitors free, comfortable moments by the cool water, sea breeze and fresh natural space. Besides a tropical paradise beach, visitors also have a unique cultural experience with local people when chatting with them.
Every Thursday and Sunday, from the last Thursday of April to the last Sunday of October (from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays / from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays), people of Darwin and visitors gather at Mindil Beach Sunset Market on Mindil Beach. The market often selling tables, chairs, rugs and the best thing of the market is countless style dishes of many countries around the world such as Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, Brazil, Greece, Portugal … You can enjoy a massage service, buy handmade jewelry, experience natural remedies, or simply feel the atmosphere of a bustling local market by the beach.
Address: Maria Liveris Dr, The Gardens NT 0820, Australia
Litchfield National Park
Located about 100km to the southwest of downtown Darwin, Litchfield National Park is located on a sandstone plateau interspersed with deep and narrow gorges and surrounded by monsoon forests. The park spreading over an area of nearly 1,500 square kilometers, possesses beautiful waterfalls and a series of natural swimming pools that attract visitors to drop in the cool water. In addition, the park is also famous for giant termite mounds in many unique shapes … Every year, Litchfield National Park attracts more than 260,000 visitors.
Address: Litchfield Park Rd, Litchfield Park NT 0822, Australia
The conservation of Australian reptiles and many of the largest saltwater crocodile species in the world is Crocosaurus Cove. The reptiles that live here are brought from Australia’s Top End region.
It preserves and nurtures more than 100 individuals representing crocodile breeds throughout northern Australia. Here there are most types of giant crocodiles with a lifespan of up to 80 years, carefully nurtured and cared for in 14.5cm thick glass cages. Here visitors can experience to “live with crocodiles” by getting into a glass cage and dropping into the pool to swimming with and observing the crocodile in the closest way. You can swim with crocodiles (but still safe, in an enclosed area), hug baby crocodiles, visit turtle enclosures and large aquariums. The most attractive point that you can not miss when coming here is “The cage of death”, the “residence” of the only 5m long crocodile in Australia. It’s very exciting but to have that feeling you have to spend about 120 – 150 Australian dollars for 15 – 20 minutes living with crocodiles.
Address: 58 Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia
Opened: July 15, 2008
The outdoor Deckchair Cinema is managed by the The Darwin Film Society which opens every evening from April to November. Here, you’ll be able to sit in a hammock or upright chair during the sunset on the shore to see the latest movies. Besides classic films, there are many other foreign films. Licensed stalls sell a wide variety of wines, beers, soft drinks, snacks and some hot dishes. You can bring food here, but no alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Address: Jervois Rd, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia
Kakadu National Park
Discovered in 1869, the Northern Territory is considered home to the famous large national parks of Australia such as Mary River, Litchfield or Kakadu – a national wildlife park on the list of world natural heritage.
Kakadu National Park is located in the southeastern city of Darwin, 170km from the city to the north and about 60km to the northeast. With an area of over 19,000 square kilometers, nearly half the size of Switzerland. It boasts hundreds of species of flora and wildlife, more than 5,000 paintings of nearly 20,000 years old carved on rocks by Aboriginal peoples, along with many streams, waterfalls, mangrove swamps, desolate monsoon tropical forests. Especially you will have the opportunity to see Jim Jim and Twin Falls from the sky when take a helicopter tour.
With more than 1,600 species of plants, 60 species of mammals, 290 species of birds, 120 species of reptiles, 25 types of amphibians and 55 types of fish. Come to Kakadu National Park to be able to relax and experience many other interesting activities such as boating, climbing, camping, observing wildlife …
Address: Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT 0886, Australia
Hours: Open 24 hours
Established: April 5, 1979
Crocodylus Park was opened in 1994 is a place where visitors can observe huge animals from all over the world. True to its name, this park mainly focuses on the famous Australian crocodile spieces. Crocodylus has Australian’s saltwater and freshwater crocodiles as well as the New Guinea freshwater crocodile, the Filipino crocodile and their relatives from the US, the US crocodile. This is also the place where you can see a lot of other animals from birds to reptiles. Crocodylus Park is just a 15-minute drive from Darwin city. The park is open every day, except Christmas Day.
Address: 815 McMillans Rd, Berrimah NT 0828, Australia
Watching Darwin from above
The fastest, most relaxing and undoubtedly the most impressive way to experience Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, the Adelaide River and the Mary River is to book a scenic flight from above. By this way you will see the vegetation, lush wetlands and waterways that surround Darwin in a completely different way. You can book a tour in advance here.
Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association
If you are a lover of handicraft items, you cannot miss the Jilamara handicraft center in Darwin. Visiting here, you can not only admire the crafts with sophisticated designs but you can also buy some products at the center as gifts for friends and relatives.
Address: Lot 218/219, Milikapiti NT 0822, Australia
Hours: 9AM–4:30PM/Sundays, Saturdays: Closed
Happiness on the wheels
Another interesting suggestion is that you could spend more time to self-driving along the picturesque road from Darwin to Katherine through Kakadu National Park and along The Northern Territories Nature’s Way route. The journey is 550km long and you can make a road trip and find accommodation along the way to overnight. With all the experiences drawn from many trips, we recommend a minimum itinerary of 7 days. That’s enough time for you to soak in the waterfalls and rock pools in Litchfield National Park, canoeing on the Katherine River and explore the Aboriginal rock art carving in Kakadu. Refer to the recommended itinerary here.
Darwin Australia travel blog: What and where to eat?
Some famous Darwin specialties you can try such as: Grilled crocodile meat, Kangaroo meat, beef, Barramundi fish, beetroot burgers, … or drinks like Australian wine are also very attractive.
When sunset falls on Cullen Bay Marina, you will have the opportunity to enjoy local delicious specialties such as barramundi fish, mud crab, kangaroo or crocodile are prepared in many ways with various style from grilled, steamed, fried… Or enjoy Thai, Indian and Malaysian cuisine with local produce at Hanuman restaurant (Address: next to Darwin Entertainment Centre, 93 Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia) near Crowne Plaza.
Buzz Café (Address: TA, 8 Osgood Dr, Eaton NT 0820, Australia/Hours: 6AM–4PM) is a “must stop” on your itinerary to Darwin, where tourists often choose to stop because from here you can see the entire harbour at night. There are a variety of Australian modern dishes with impressive eye-catching presentations, so call the hotline number on the signboard so you don’t have to wait a long time.
Darwin travel blog: What and where to buy?
In this region, there is a specialty of Barramundi fish, the meat is extremely delicious and its leather is used to make shoes and purses like some other leather. The price is more expensive than crocodile leather because it is smooth and rare.
Shopping is always a unique pleasure of tourists when traveling to Darwin. You can explore and shop for Aboriginal art, locally made jewellery at Smith Street Mall (Address: Smith Street, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia) or bring home the beautiful handmade souvenirs selling at Mindil Beach Sunset Market (Address: Maria Liveris Dr, The Gardens NT 0820, Australia) – the bustling market open from 5 pm on Thursdays and 4pm on Sundays every week during the dry season from May to October.
If you go on Saturday, the Parap Village Markets (Address: 3/3 Vickers St, Parap NT 0804, Australia/Hours: Saturday: 8AM–2PM) will be a perfect choice. Starting at 7am, the market atmosphere is bustling with stalls selling local products, art paintings and countless food from many different regions.
In particular, the region’s golden honey is always mentioned by tourists because of its aroma along with its characteristic taste depending on each season of the year.
Darwin travel blog: Where to stay?
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Ramada Suites Zen Quarter, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $140/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Palms City Resort, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $104/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $104/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $186/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Mantra on the Esplanade Darwin, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $135/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Darwin:
- Darwin City Apartment, on The Esplanade at $72/night.
- STUNNING 1 BEDROOM WATERFRONT APT at $114/night.
- ★Private Spacious Bedroom & Bathroom in the City★ at $45/night.
- Moil Studio at $34/night.
- Comfortable Parap Apartment (Free wifi & Netflix) at $57/night.
- Private room close to the city at $61/night.
- Cozy room in a tropical house at $38/night.
- Private self-contained villa close to CBD at $69/night.
- MARINA LISTING – TWIN ROOM at $42/night.
–> Use this link https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185, to register for an Airbnb account and book a room, you will get a discount up to $55 for the first booking.
Darwin travel guide: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Darwin you can refer to
- Darwin City Sights Half Day Tour
- Croc and Darwin Ticket
- Crocosaurus Cove Ticket
- Return Ferry Between Darwin (Cullen Bay) and Mandorah
- Darwin Big Bus Open-Top Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
- Kakadu National Park Explorer Full Day Tour with Cruise
- Jumping Crocs and Nature Explorer Half Day Tour
- Katherine Gorge Cruise and Edith Falls
- Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise
- Litchfield National Park Waterfalls
- Shared City Transfers from Darwin to Stokes Hill Wharf