Located on Darwin Harbour, the Territory’s tropical capital has had a turbulent history - including being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Today, however, this is a modern multicultural city with a famously relaxed lifestyle.
Start in the compact City Centre, where you can shop in Smith Street Mall and follow the Historical Walk, which takes you to sites like the Chinese Temple and modern Parliament House. At nearby Doctors Gully’s Aquascene you can hand-feed fish that come into the shallows.
There’s much to see and do around Darwin Harbour - this is the location of the Darwin Wharf Precinct, the ideal spot for fishing, and home of the Australian Pearling Exhibition; Indo Pacific Marine, with its living coral reef ecosystem; and a great selection of cafes and entertainment. The Deckchair Cinema, where you can watch movies under the stars, is also in this area.
North of the city centre, Mindil Beach is the setting for the MGM Grand Casino and the famous April to October sunset markets, while the Darwin Botanic Gardens are renowned for their fine collection of tropical plants. The suburb of Fannie Bay offers many attractions - the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, with its maritime museum, Aboriginal items and Cyclone Tracy exhibits; the 1883 Fannie Bay Gaol Museum; East Point Military Museum; and East Point Reserve, the domain of mangroves and parklands.
Darwin is the ideal base for touring around the remarkable ‘Top End’. Just forty-five minutes away at Berry Springs, the acclaimed Territory Wildlife Park is the ideal place to meet the local fauna; magnificent World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park is a mere 250 km from Darwin; and Litchfield National Park and the wildlife-rich Mary River wetlands are even closer.
Where to Stay
Time Required: 2 days recommended