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Aquascene

Head to Doctors Gully at high tide to see a natural phenomenon turned tourist attraction, as shoals of fish come to the shallow waters to be fed by hand.

For more than 60 years wild fish have gathered to Doctors Gully, attracted by an easy meal. Darwin Harbour’s large tidal movements, which can reach up to 8 metres (26 feet), bring large numbers of fish close to shore for a few hours at a time. Doctors Gully is an official marine sanctuary and these fish are protected. The wild fish are now accustomed to people, and many will feed right from your hand.

Aquascene facilitates the feeding of these inquisitive creatures. The centre provides visitors with bread and has established some shallow platforms out of the way of stingrays, where you can stand with the fish swimming around your feet.

Several species are regulars at the feedings. Spot the toothless milkfish, which can grow over a metre (3 feet) long, and see the impressive whiskers of the catfish. Feed the diamond-scaled mullet, who are usually not afraid to nibble on the bread in your outstretched hand. Rays, rock cod, and colourful parrotfish are shyer, but you can sometimes see those species lurking behind the more inquisitive visitors of the bay.

Aquascene’s guides are on hand to help identify the fish species, so you’ll be able to name the fish you met afterwards.

When the tide runs out, the fish follow the water back out to the Timor Sea. Before you leave, browse the Aquascene kiosk for keepsakes such as children’s colouring-in books, magnets and T-shirts. The gardens around Aquascene are also worth a stroll: you can see orchids there, within a tropical rainforest setting.

Doctors Gully is located just off Darwin’s esplanade, an easy walk from the city centre. The fish feeding usually lasts for about an hour. Morning sessions between December and August are best if you want to see very large numbers of fish. Bring sunscreen and a hat, because there is not much shade available. It’s also a good idea to wear waterproof sandals if you want to wade in amongst the fish.


Explore More of Darwin City Centre

Aquascene Hotels

See all 138 properties near Aquascene

Estimated price for 1 night/2 adults

Oaks Élan Darwin

Oaks Élan Darwin

31 Woods Street, Darwin, NT
    4.0 out of 5.0
     
     
    4.0 out of 5 (232 reviews)

    Located in Darwin City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Smith Street Mall and Darwin Waterfront. Cullen Bay Marina is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) away.

    Oaks Élan DarwinAU$119

    30 Jun - 1 Jul

    Oaks Élan DarwinAU$119
    Rydges Darwin Central

    Rydges Darwin Central

    21 Knuckey Street, Darwin, NT
      4.0 out of 5.0
       
       
      4.5 out of 5 (852 reviews)

      Located in Darwin City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Smith Street Mall and Darwin Waterfront. Cullen Bay Marina is 1.7 mi (2.8 km) away.

      Rydges Darwin CentralAU$116

      23 Jun - 24 Jun

      Rydges Darwin CentralAU$116
      DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin

      DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin

      122 The Esplanade, Darwin, NT
        4.0 out of 5.0
         
         
        4.4 out of 5 (534 reviews)

        This family-friendly Darwin hotel is located by the sea, within 1 mi (2 km) of The Esplanade and Darwin Waterfront. Cullen Bay Marina is 1.2 mi (2 km) away.

        DoubleTree by Hilton DarwinAU$174

        22 Jun - 23 Jun

        DoubleTree by Hilton DarwinAU$174
        H on Mitchell Apartment Hotel

        H on Mitchell Apartment Hotel

        105 Mitchell Street, Darwin, NT
          4.0 out of 5.0
           
           
          4.2 out of 5 (172 reviews)

          Located in the heart of Darwin, this aparthotel is steps from Darwin Entertainment Centre.

          H on Mitchell Apartment HotelAU$155

          21 Jun - 22 Jun

          H on Mitchell Apartment HotelAU$155
          DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin Esplanade

          DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin Esplanade

          116 The Esplanade, Darwin, NT
            4.0 out of 5.0
             
             
            4.1 out of 5 (376 reviews)

            Located in Darwin City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of The Esplanade and Darwin Waterfront. Cullen Bay Marina is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) away.

            DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin EsplanadeAU$174

            22 Jun - 23 Jun

            DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin EsplanadeAU$174
            Argus Hotel Darwin

            Argus Hotel Darwin

            13 Shepherd Street, Darwin, NT
              3.5 out of 5.0
               
               
              4.3 out of 5 (213 reviews)

              Located in Darwin City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Cathedral and Darwin Waterfront. Cullen Bay Marina is 1.6 ...

              Argus Hotel DarwinAU$140

              23 Jun - 24 Jun

              Argus Hotel DarwinAU$140
              H on Smith Hotel

              H on Smith Hotel

              81 Smith Street, Darwin, NT
                4.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 
                4.5 out of 5 (591 reviews)

                Located in Darwin City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of The Esplanade, Darwin Entertainment Centre, and Crocosaurus Cove. The USS Peary Memorial ...

                H on Smith HotelAU$139

                23 Jun - 24 Jun

                H on Smith HotelAU$139
                Darwin City Edge Motel & Suites

                Darwin City Edge Motel & Suites

                38 Gardens Road, Darwin, NT
                  3.5 out of 5.0
                   
                   
                  3.8 out of 5 (208 reviews)

                  Located in Darwin City Centre, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Cathedral, Darwin Waterfront, and Cullen Bay Marina. The ...

                  Darwin City Edge Motel & SuitesAU$99

                  24 Jun - 25 Jun

                  Darwin City Edge Motel & SuitesAU$99

                  * Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. All rates are displayed in USD unless otherwise noted. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency.