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15 Best Things to do in Darwin (Australia)

15 Best Things to do in Darwin (Australia)

Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Darwin in Australia, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and has an estimated population of more than 150,000 people. The area is particularly known for being home to Aboriginal people of the Larrakia language, who have been living here for centuries before modern-day Australia.

In addition to Aboriginal history, the area of Darwin is also famous for its diverse nature and wildlife, that can be found in national parks such as Litchfield or Kakadu.

This article features some of the best places to visit in Darwin Australia as well as attractions and activities that shouldn’t be missed while visiting. 

Berry Springs Nature Park

The picturesque Berry Springs Nature Park lies just south of Darwin, promising a great day out surrounded by nature. Take a picnic under one of the park’s shady areas, at a picnic bench, or one of the barbecues dotted around the grounds.

Get active with a swim in one of the clear pools – be sure to bring your swim goggles along to spot native fish under the water – or explore the area on foot. There’s a fantastic walking track that loops through monsoon forest and woodlands, plus plenty of local birdlife to keep an eye out for.

Berry Springs Nature Park

Wave Lagoon

Darwin’s coolest waterfront attraction offers a fun day out for the whole family. Here, you can tube-ride, boogie-board, and make a splash at the palm-fringed swimming pool. Just listen out for the siren, as when it rings out, you know that’s when the real fun begins!

Bursts of waves send people bobbing over the water, but don’t worry, the swell isn’t harsh enough for wipeouts. If you want to relax, there’s banana loungers under beach umbrellas and sprawling shady lawns, as well as wading pools for kids.

Wave Lagoon

Photo: katacarix / Shutterstock.com

Experience Aboriginal culture on the Tiwi Islands

Just a two and a half-hour ferry ride takes you to the fabulous Tiwi Islands. The islands provide visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the workings of a modern-day Aboriginal community and allow visitors to get an insight into the culture and lifestyle of the Tiwi people.

Join a local guide for a tour of the island, spend time with the Tiwi ladies, sample local billy tea, then be blessed in a smoking ceremony. You’ll get to experience a culture rarely seen by outsiders and leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

Aboriginals in Tiwi Islands

Photo: Annalucia / Shutterstock.com

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is one of the region’s premier organizations, renowned for its collections of art and science. Situated on the scenic Larrakia Land at Bullocky Point, here, you can see Darwin’s culture come to life.

You’ll see the best cultural displays from around Australia through a range of diverse collections. To learn more about the pieces showcased by the museum, drop into regularly-hosted talks, workshops, and other activities.

Mindil Beach

Darwin’s most-visited and most-loved beach is a must-visit on any Darwin itinerary. The 500-meter beach comprises of beautiful golden sands stretching from Bullocky to Myilly points and offers something for every kind of traveler.

With views over the Beagle Gulf, the Mindil beach is the perfect place to watch the sun set over the lapping waves. The nearby Mindil Beach Reserve preserves some of the city’s rugged wilderness, while the Mindil Beach Sunset Market showcases the very best of Darwin’s talented local vendors.

Mindil Beach

Photo: Ian Crocker / Shutterstock.com

Defence of Darwin Experience

Discover the story of Darwin’s role in World War II at the Defence of Darwin Experience, a depiction of the region’s history between the years of 1932 and 1945. Encounter a range of artifacts and historical accounts of a bygone era as you learn more about the world of war.

The exhibition space contains displays of all kinds of objects to help you learn more. See iconic items from the time, hear stories through interactive exhibits, and marvel at the artifacts of the Darwin Military Museum, including artillery, vehicles, uniforms, and much more.

Darwin Military Museum

Photo: Claudine Van Massenhove / Shutterstock.com

Make a day trip to Litchfield National Park

Just a 60-minute drive from Darwin takes you to Litchfield National Park, an area of outstanding beauty and one of the Northern Territory’s best-hidden gems.

Whether you just want to visit for the day or stay overnight, there are cabins, camping ground, and caravan sites available for your use. Relax and rejuvenate as you float in lush waterholes and marvel at stunning waterfalls.

Are you feeling the heat of a hot summer day? Just head into the surrounding vine forests to cool off, then explore the enormous termite mounds of the Top End.

Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park

Cruise Darwin Harbour at sunset

Explore Darwin from a new perspective with a relaxing two-and-a-half-hour cruise aboard the ’Charles Darwin’ ship. Enjoy a delicious Northern Territory-style buffet with locally-sourced seafood on the Captain’s Deck while taking in Darwin’s best sights.

Watch as the sky turns to hues of orange and yellow, listening to an informative commentary on the harbor’s history as you cruise. This exciting excursion is one of the best ways to experience Darwin while learning about its colorful history.

Darwin Harbour cruise

Mary River National Park

Experience the wetlands of Mary River National Park on a cruise or fishing charter, taking in the wildlife, birds, and marine life of this thriving Top End microcosm. Located just an hour from Darwin, the national park makes for a great day trip from the city.

Take your binoculars and keep an eye out for the 250 different bird species that call the park home, or head out on the water to spot huge saltwater crocodiles. Learn more at the Wetlands Visitor Centre, with interactive displays and panoramic views of the wetlands below.

Mary River National Park

Darwin Aviation Museum

Travel back in time to a bygone era as you discover the Northern Territory’s heritage at the Darwin Aviation Museum. The museum, located in Winnellie, houses an extensive collection of aviation history, allowing visitors to learn about Darwin’s important role in World War II.

See a real-life B52 Bomber, jets, a Spitfire replica, and helicopters on display, as well as a plethora of other exhibits including engines, wartime photographs, and videos. Be sure to make the most of your time at the museum with a guided tour.

Darwin Aviation Museum

Photo: Claudine Van Massenhove / Shutterstock.com

East Point Reserve

Darwin’s largest park area is a popular spot among locals and visitors alike, offering year-round swimming opportunities at Lake Alexander. It’s also an area with an important military history and boasts fabulous views of the city, Fannie Bay and Dudley Point.

Go for a walk, learn about the area’s colorful past, or utilize the free barbecue facilities. There are several pretty beaches to explore, plus an abundance of wildlife to keep a lookout for – think wallabies, possums, butterflies, birds, and reptiles.

East Point Reserve in Darwin

Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Mindil Beach Sunset Market epitomizes Darwin’s multicultural communities. It’s a melting pot of diverse local and international cuisine, arts, crafts, and much more. Over 200 stalls join together here to bring excellent food and culture to Darwin’s locals and visitors.

Try an array of local delicacies at one of 60 food stalls, whether that’s kangaroo, crocodile, or barramundi. Shop for jewelry, art, hand-crafted souvenirs, or, for the VIP experience, head to the sunset lounge to take in a beautiful tropical sunset.

Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Photo: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Immerse yourself in nature at George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, where you can see a magnificent variety of plants from across Australia and the world. Take a self-guided tour, or hop aboard a Segway for a unique way to explore the gardens.

As you make your way around, you’ll see a whole host of exotic plants, an African-Madagascan garden with an amazing collection of boab trees, and Darwin’s largest ornamental fountain. Head to the visitor center to learn more about the plants and their uses.

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Photo: EA Given / Shutterstock.com

Chinese Temple and Museum Chung Wah

Understand the importance of the Chinese people in Darwin at the Chinese Temple and Museum Chung Wah. This significant landmark illustrates Australia’s multi-culturalism and the long-spanning history of Chinese settlers, who first came here in the gold rush days.

The temple is elegantly decorated in the trademark Chinese red color, and inside, you can discover the narratives, traditions, and ways of life of the country’s Chinese settlements through historical documents, family trees, and personal stories. See how Chinese culture has influenced Australia, both past and present.

Chinese Temple in Darwin

Check out the magnetic termite mounds

One of the reasons visitors flock to Litchfield National Park is for its impressive Magnetic Termite mounds, which rise an impressive two meters upon a broad flat plain, as well as the even taller four-meter-high Cathedral Termite mounds.

These 100-year-old structures are unique to the region and provide a fascinating insight into the remarkable creatures that create them. Learn more about the mounds at the nearby information shelter, then head to the viewing area to get a closer look at these eye-catching specimens.

magnetic termite mounds

Interesting facts about Darwin, Australia

  • Darwin has a tropical climate with similar temperatures year-round and a distinct wet and dry season.
  • Although Darwin is named after famous scientist Charles Darwin, he actually never visited the area.
  • The Larrakia people were the first settlers of the area
  • Darwin has been an Australian city since 1959, when its city status was granted on 26 January.
  • The city has one of the fastest-growing economies in Australia with a strong industry and tourism sector

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