Discover the best of balmy Darwin, which sits on a huge harbour on the Timor Sea. Swap your city suit for the uniform of the tropics – T-shirt and shorts – and get out and explore this vibrant, multicultural city. Walk or bike ride through the tropical parklands, see Aboriginal art in the museum and taste the city's multicultural mix at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Visit chic Cullen Bay Marina and take a heritage walk round the wharf. Beyond Darwin's compact CBD, you can cruise next to acrobatic crocodiles on the Adelaide River and swim beneath waterfalls in the tangled green jungle of Litchfield National Park.
At a glance:
- Two nights Darwin
- Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
- Cullen Bay Marina
- Jumping crocodile cruise Adelaide River
- Litchfield National Park
- Natures Way
Marina to markets to Mitchell Street
Have a lazy breakfast looking over the luxury homes and swaying sailboats of Cullen Bay Marina. Then visit nearby Myilly Point Historical Precinct, where the tropically-adapted cottages were designed by architect B.C.G. Burnett in the1930s. Browse Aboriginal art and learn how Cyclone Tracey devastated Darwin in 1974 in the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Stop for a picnic lunch in East Point Reserve, home to mangroves, monsoon vine forest and the popular swimming spot of Lake Alexander. See footage of the World War II air raids on Darwin at East Point Military Museum. Then meander through orchids, bromeliads, cycads and palms in George Brown Botanic Gardens. Emerge at Mindil Beach Sunset Market, open between May and October, in time to see the flamingo sunset over the Timor Sea. Sit down to a plate of steaming Asian food beneath the palm trees, then trawl the vibrant bars, pubs and live music venues along Mitchell Street.
History, crocodiles and cruising
Start your day on the historic wharf precinct where Japanese bombs first fell during World War II. Visit Parliament House and follow the Historical Walk to various landmarks. Take in the view from Survivors Lookout, then wind down to World War II oil tunnels on the network of walking trails. Visit the pearling exhibition and see a living marine display featuring the coral reefs of the Northern Territory. Have an alfresco brunch overlooking the jetty, then drive part of the Nature’s Way to Adelaide River. Visit the Adelaide River Railway Station and see the graves of soldiers who died in World War II in the Adelaide River War Cemetery. Join a jumping crocodile cruise and peer into the snapping jaws of prehistoric crocodiles. Drive back to Darwin city and watch the crimson sun sink into the sea from a cruise around Darwin Harbour.
Litchfield National Park
Drive the Nature’s Way to Litchfield National Park, lush monsoon rainforest dotted with crystal-clear swimming holes, thundering waterfalls and tall termite mounds. Do the easy walk around Wangi Falls and picnic alongside roosting fruit bats. Or hike further to Tolmer Falls for sweeping valley views. Swim in Buley Rockhole or the plunge pool beneath Florence Falls. Head off on a 4WD adventure to Tjaynera Falls, the historic Blythe Homestead Ruins and the time-worn sandstone domes of The Lost City. Join a wildlife cruise or fishing trip down the Reynolds River, which borders a working cattle station. Or get a bird’s eye view from a helicopter. Head back up the highway, stopping at the Territory Wildlife Park to meet fish, birds-of-prey, nocturnal animals and reptiles. Back in Darwin, relax with an outdoor movie under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema.