By Darren Potter
Kids love to be adventurous, especially on holidays, but finding new places that can keep up with their energy becomes a challenge. One place you should be adding to the top of your holiday list is Darwin, and our Top End capital won’t disappoint you.
The city has a great outdoor feel with warm tropical weather that will have you making the most of your holiday time and what better place to bring them for their first big croc experience? But, it’s not all about jumping crocs, and the laid back pace makes it easy for both you and the kids to have a great time.
- Find yourself a base:
The perfect place to base yourself for a few days is down at the Darwin Waterfront precinct, which has everything for your tropical holiday from outdoor eateries, family friendly accommodation and water activities for the kids.
The Wave Lagoon is a stand-out feature and will certainly get the kids attention, so be prepared to make this one of the first highlights of your trip. The huge wave pool is safe for kids of all ages, with lifeguards on duty, and being open daily from 10am to 6pm gives you plenty of time to grab a board or tube and ride the waves. Family passes for two adults and three kids are an affordable $18, making it an activity that the whole family to enjoy.
- Dine alfresco:
You will discover that Darwin is all about the alfresco lifestyle, so when it’s time for lunch (or dinner), you’re just a short walk from a choice of great eateries outside or by the water. All the bases are covered, with kid-friendly options like pizza, Mexican, south-east Asian and gelato, and Dad can even find a place to have a quick beer. If you want to make it more casual, collect a few supplies and have a family picnic on the lawns overlooking the Recreation Lagoon. Kids can enjoy this free public lagoon which is protected against tropical stingers… but don’t be surprised if you bump into one of the large fish that live in the lagoon whilst swimming (they are pretty friendly).
- Educate the kids and yourself!
Holidays can also be a learning experience and kids will be totally engaged with the Defence of Darwin Experience which tells the important story of Darwin’s role in World War II. They have taken a true storytelling approach and through multimedia and interactive displays, which kids will find fascinating, the story is brought to life.
The Virtual Reality display is truly amazing and recreates the atmosphere on the harbour when 188 aircraft attacked on 19 February 1942 (parents of young children may wish to check first that the content is suitable).
In the same building a second iconic Territory story of the Royal Flying Doctor Service is also told, with an actual walk-though plane being a key feature of the exhibit. You will find both of these experiences on Stokes Hill Wharf which is also part of the Darwin Waterfront precinct.
- Get your crocodile on:
A trip to the Top End would not be complete unless you get to see a crocodile up close, and kids will love visiting Crocosaurus Cove which is an ‘urban wildlife experience’ right in the center of town. Why not encourage Dad to swim in the ‘cage of death’, where he can come face to face with one of the famous crocs, including Burt who starred in the movie Crocodile Dundee and is over 80 years. Kids can also be very hands-on and help feed one of younger saltwater crocs, by dangling fishy treats off rods and watching them jump for their snack, or have their photo holding a baby croc, which would look great on the fridge back at home.
- See a stunning Darwin sunset:
After all the excitement of spending time with the crocs you can relax by the beach and finish your family trip with a visit to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. The first thing that hits you are the amazing smells from over 60 food trucks & stalls, and it’s the perfect place to wander and try a variety of cuisines from Thai, Indian, Chinese, Greek or Portuguese, or even some ‘bush tucker’.
A real highlight is at sunset when everyone heads down to the beach to enjoy nature’s own show, making it a great opportunity for that special family photo. Before you go, make sure you check out the craft stalls for local handmade arts, whilst being entertained by the buskers…. it’s a unique experience with that casual Top End feel.
Darwin provides the perfect family holiday, but it won’t just be the crocs that will have the kids wanting to come back.