Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Learn the stories behind Aboriginal paintings, local wildlife, regional archaeology and the cyclone that flattened Darwin in this gallery that has free admission.

One of the best places to escape the blazing sun and humidity of the “Top End” is the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT). Enter a world of art, history and culture in this building, which is surrounded by lush tropical gardens on Darwin’s harbor. Learn about Darwin’s natural and maritime history, experience its living culture and study art of the indigenous Australian and Southeast Asian traditions.

MAGNT includes five permanent galleries, as well as a number of temporary displays and a theater. View contemporary and traditional art from the indigenous people of the Northern Territory. The MAGNT holds an annual National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and the winning artworks are displayed in the gallery.

Head to the Southeast Asia Link Gallery to admire beadwork from tribes in East Malaysia and carvings, woodwork and ceramics from Australia’s other close neighbors.

To understand why there is a relatively low number of heritage buildings in Darwin, visit an impressive display dedicated to Cyclone Tracy. On Christmas Day in 1974, Tracy flattened the city, destroying the original art museum in the old Town Hall. Watch footage of the destructive tropical storm, see photographs of iconic buildings that were lost and listen to audio recordings that provide insight into the experiences of locals during this disastrous event.

For seafaring history, visit the Maritime Gallery, which displays a large collection of watercraft from Southeast Asia and the Northern Territory. Nearby is the preserved and mounted skeleton of the enormous crocodile known as “Sweetheart,” which was captured in 1979 because it kept attacking small boats in a local river.

Sweetheart is not the only representative of the Territory’s natural riches. One of the museum exhibitions focuses on local flora, fauna and geology. Here you can see anything from molluscs, reptiles and birds, to sparkling minerals.

Enjoy a traditional Australian meat pie or a fresh seafood salad for lunch in the museum’s Cornucopia Café, which has a terrace overlooking the harbor.

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is located at Bullocky Point on Darwin Harbour. This free attraction is open every day, except for major public holidays. An entry fee may apply for the temporary exhibits.

19 Conacher St, Darwin City NT 0820, Australia   |   View Google Map