Darwin is located at the top end of the Northern Territory and is the gateway to exploring Kakadu
National Parks where there are beautiful waterfalls, gorges, rock art, crocodile tours, fishing expeditions and much more. There is so much to see and do in this tropical oasis.
The city itself is relaxed and has a real holiday feel to it. There are plenty of good restaurants and bars in the bustling city centre, as well as eateries on Stokes Hill Wharf. Indulge yourself and sample some true local cuisine such as Barramundi or Crocodile.
Cullen Bay Marina boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor eateries along a public boardwalk, offering menus from local Northern Territory produce and many other cultures. The views of the marina are very pleasant as is the atmosphere and service. Enjoy a drink at one of the bars or cafes while watching the sun go down.
Mindil Beach markets are held every Thursday and Sunday evening along the foreshore on Dick Ward Drive during the dry season, usually commencing late April to early May. They are a real treat, selling cheap food, souvenirs and many other bargains.
Daily fish feeding close to the city centre is a unique experience. Hundreds of fish come in to the shallows at high tide to be fed and you can be part of it for a reasonable entry fee. Many species including Mullet, Catfish, Milkfish, Bream, Estuary Rock Cod and Toadfish join the feeding frenzy. Aquascene Fish Feeding is located on Doctors Gully Road near The Esplanade. Be sure to check feeding times which are displayed weekly at the entrance and differ daily according to tidal activity.
The Darwin Museum and Art Gallery is located on Conacher Street off Dick Ward Drive. The gallery features impressive aboriginal artworks, native flora and fauna displays, Cyclone Tracey exhibit and “Sweetheart” the famous predatory crocodile. The displays are very interesting and enjoyable and worth experiencing (no photography permitted).
Crocosaurus Cove is right in the heart of the city on Mitchell Street. The marine and reptile park features aquariums displaying a variety of fish species, rays, turtles, barramundi, lizards, snakes and of course crocodiles. Presentations are scheduled regularly throughout the day including fish feeding demonstrations, croc feeding, reptile handling and much more. Swimming with a crocodile in the cage of death is also available if you dare!
Crocodylus Park is another interactive crocodile viewing venue. Located on MacMillans Road, the park features many native and exotic animals and predominantly crocodiles. You can hold a baby croc, see a jumping croc, feed a croc, purchase a genuine croc handbag or take home fresh croc meat for dinner! Crocodile presentations are scheduled regularly and the park is open daily between 9am and 5pm.
East Point Reserve is located at Fannie Bay along East Point Road. The well maintained reserve borders the waterfront with grassy picnic and barbeque areas and walking and cycling paths. East Point Road ends at the Darwin Military Museum and World War II defence post. The reserve is a popular place to relax, socialise and enjoy the coastal scenery.
Lake Alexander is also situated on East Point Road in the reserve. The beautiful lake and surrounding lawn area is suitable for swimming, picknicking and relaxing under the palm trees. Gas barbeques, tables and toilet facilities are provided for your convenience.
Darwin Botanical Gardens on Garden Road feature absolutely gorgeous rainforest walks and a variety of plant life with striking coloured flowers and foliage. The gardens are open daily between 7am and 7pm and offer a pleasurable tropical experience.
Charles Darwin National Park is located off Tiger Brennan Drive and is part of Darwin’s network of old military sites during World War II. Bomb dumps are still standing and house displays of old military paraphernalia and defence history. The park features fabulous views of the city across the harbour and has a pleasant grassed picnic ground with barbeque and toilet facilities. Opening times are 8am to 7pm daily. Pets and camping are prohibited.
About 35km southeast of the city, off the Stuart Highway, is the Howard Springs Nature Reserve. The reserve features a picturesque freshwater pool and its marine inhabitants include protected turtles, barramundi and other fish species. Swimming is permitted and there is also a kids’ wading pool. The surrounding monsoon forest is home to wallabies and plenty of birdlife with walking tracks and a grassy picnic area with toilet and barbeque facilities. Note dogs are not permitted and the mosquitoes can be friendly so take some insect repellent.
About 60km south of Darwin along Cox Peninsula Road is Berry Springs Nature Reserve. The main attraction is the natural spring fed spa and freshwater pools suitable for swimming. The surrounding rainforest has abundant grassed areas with barbeque facilities and is a fabulous picnic spot amongst nature. A kiosk, information hut and toilet facilities are also on site.
Territory Wildlife Park is located only 1km from Berry Springs on Cox Peninsula Road. It’s a great day out seeing the Top End’s native animals in their natural environments. You can even get up close and personal during daily presentations. The park can be explored on foot or sitting back on the shuttle. Opening hours are between 8.30am and 4pm daily (exit closes 6pm).
Window on the Wetlands is about 60km from Darwin on the Arnhem Highway. This viewing station is at the highest point on the lower Adelaide River floodplains. These northern coastal wetlands offer scenic views particularly after rain and the visitor centre features interactive displays detailing environmental functions and seasonal changes.
Along Arnhem Hwy some 65km southeast of Darwin is the Adelaide River where you can experience the amazing jumping crocodiles from guided tour boats. The crocs are coaxed right out of the water with fresh meat on a stick and the height they leap to get a feed is unbelievable. You just have to see it for yourself.
Litchfield National Park is located 100km southwest of Darwin via the Stuart Highway. This stunning park boasts many breathtaking waterfalls, refreshing swimming holes and tropical rainforests all within close vicinity. The main attractions are Wangi Falls, Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole with magnificent scenery and fabulous swimming. Entry into Litchfield National Park does not require a permit and is free of charge. The best time to visit Litchfield is during the dry season (May to September) when the attractions are generally open.
Kakadu National Park is located about 180km southeast of Darwin and a permit is required to enter. This World Heritage-listed park is the largest in Australia and features diverse landscapes including rolling floodplains, picturesque billabongs, tumbling waterfalls, crystal clear plunge pools, striking escarpments and historical Aboriginal rock art.
Fishing fanatics will love the Top End as there are so many waterways to drop a line in. If you choose to take a fishing charter there are plenty of experienced local guides who know the waters and will do their best to provide a successful day out. Good land based fishing can be found at Darwin Harbour in town and Shady Camp (Mary River), Daly River and Dundee Beach in Darwin’s surrounding area. If launching a boat all the rivers and Darwin Harbour are worth fishing. Our favourites are the Daly River, Darwin Harbour and Shady Camp. Other spots worth mentioning are the Adelaide River, South Alligator River, East Alligator River and Corroboree. The best time to try for the north’s iconic Barramundi is during the run-off period between March and May. When the Barra are off the bite other species to target include Spanish Mackerel, Golden Snapper, Mangrove Jack, Black Jewfish, Blue Salmon, Threadfin Salmon, Giant Trevally and Mud crab.
The best time to visit the top end is during the dry season between May and September. The weather conditions are generally perfect each day with blue skies, warm days and comfortable nights.
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Destinations in the Northern Territory
Elsey National Park
Return from Darwin to Northern Territory