Heading to the Top End region of the Northern Territory
? Spend some time in Darwin
, a capital city like no other. Overlooking a stunning harbour, Darwin is laidback, tropical and diverse. You’ll find beaches fringed with palm trees, Aboriginal art galleries, stunning gardens, a crocodile park, great food and nightlife. Pick one of our Darwin CBD hotels for a top time in the heart of the city.
Darwin is the traditional home of the Larrakia people, also known as “the Saltwater People” because of their close relationship to the sea. John Lort Stokes was the first European to discover the region in 1839, naming it Port Darwin after his young shipmate on the HMS Beagle: naturalist Charles Darwin.
Gold was discovered at Pine Creek in 1871, leading to a wave of Chinese immigration. Darwin was badly damaged in Japanese airstrikes during WW2 and almost destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. But it was rebuilt, and these days it continues to evolve.
Things to see and do
Darwin has a year-round tropical warm climate, so the revitalised waterfront is where most of the activity occurs. Luckily, there are some family-friendly beaches close to the CBD: swim between the flags at Mindil Beach or Fanny Bay Beach, a small and peaceful beach next to man-made Lake Alexander (just watch out for crocs!). Once you’ve finished with the beach, visit the George Brown Botanic Gardens to check out tropical plants, wetlands, monsoon forests and colourful flowers that are unique to this region of Australia.
Crocosaurus Cove is Darwin’s crocodile park and the home of the Cage of Death, Australia’s only crocodile dive. From the safety of a glass cage, you can come face to face with a 700kg crocodile in a tank. If that sounds a bit full-on for you, watch from a safe distance as a handler feeds a croc, or check out the aquarium.
While you’re in the heart of town, drop into Darwin’s city art galleries. Have a night out at an Irish pub, dance to a DJ or live band, hit a beach party or watch a movie under the stars at Deckchair Outdoor Cinema.
The strikingly beautiful and World Heritage listedKakadu National Park
is 240 km east of Darwin and has amazing walks, waterfalls and rock art. Litchfield National Park
, 100km south-west of Darwin, is another tourist favourite, with walking tracks, rainforest and the unique and strange termite mounds.
Shopping and dining
If you want to shop in Darwin, there are boutique stores and galleries selling local art, but your best bet is the markets. Mindil Beach Sunset Market is the place to head on Thursday and Sunday evenings. As the sun sets over beach and palm trees, rows of stalls sell art, handmade jewellery, and food from all over the world.
Darwin’s dining keeps up its multicultural vibe, with eclectic cafes and restaurants offering everything from Thai to Malaysian to Mediterranean.
Getting to Darwin couldn’t be easier when you book one of our flights to Darwin
to go with your Darwin CBD accommodation. If you want a top time in the Top End, start by making Darwin CBD your natural selection.