Things to do in Darwin

The Northern Territory’s capital and its surrounds makes for an excellent choice of destinations for those looking for urbanised Australia that still has plenty of history and stays in touch with the country’s traditional roots. Sitting on a lovely coastal aspect facing the Timor Sea and serving as the ideal gateway to the many natural wonders of the NT’s interior, Darwin is famous for a number of distinctive traits.

Aquascene Darwin
[​IMG]Location: 28 Doctors Gully Rd, Darwin, NTWhile Darwin isn’t exactly brimming with activities that are fun for the kids, there are a few notable exceptions, and one spot in particular – fish sanctuary Aquascene, a staple part of the city’s history for a long time that has been continually improved over the years. Situated on the Esplanade by the water, it’s a unique way of being able to feed fish straight from the wild – something which is quite rare, and a great way to get up close with nature uninhibited by glass or overly-commercial surroundings.

Go Birdwatching in the Mangroves in Darwin

Join this half-day tour that takes in a monsoon forest, rocky coastline, savannah woodland and a two-kilometre walk through mangroves and along a boardwalk to the mudflats. The tour includes pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation and the use of binoculars and spotting scopes to help you see exotic species like honeyeaters, flycatchers, kingfishers, finches, cockatoos and drongos.

Crocodylus Park
[​IMG]Location: McMillans Rd, Knuckey Lagoon, Darwin, NTIt’s a recurring theme that many of Darwin’s attractions involve crocodiles in some fashion, whether it’s in the wild or controlled captivity, but Crocodylus Park is an attraction that showcases the crocs while also balancing things out with a variety of other animal species as well. Despite its name, this is much more of an overall “zoo” or “wildlife park” than just a crocodile-based spot, Things to do in Darwin and as such it’s a great place for those who have an interest in all parts of the animal kingdom. Sure, there are a ton of crocs of varying ages and sizes – everything from 30cm long babies all the way up to titanic 4.8m adults can be found here – but it’s the likes of the big cats, monkeys, Aussie native wildlife and other species that round out the experience and help to separate Crocodylus Park from some of the other local animal attractions and tours. Located just outside the Darwin city centre (approx. 15 minutes drive), the park is packed to the brim with crocodiles in a range of different pens – there are even specialised breeding pens with matched males and females, which makes it interesting to see the juxtaposition of sizes, and the keepers will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Crocodile feeding time is an obvious highlight, with a smaller-scale “jumping for food” activity that features the crocs springing out of the water for their food. For more detailed croc-related information, Crocodylus Park also has a crocodile museum that offers plenty of background info on how the crocodiles evolved, behave and coexist.One of the newer and more enjoyable highlights of the park is their recently-added boat cruise – navigating its way through a man-made lagoon, the water-borne tour offers a great way to get acquainted with not only the crocodiles outside of their regular enclosures, but also a range of regional NT bird life, trees and plants which are all explained in detail by the cruise guide.
Cruise Around Darwin Harbour

Discover the history, intrigue and natural environment of Darwin Harbour on four different nature-focused tours. See the local marine habitats, shipwrecks, mangroves, sites of cultural significance and learn what happened when World War II came to Darwin. You may even be able to meet nesting or hatchling turtles on the Turtle Tracks tour between April and October.

Visit the Mindil Beach Market at SunsetSample a range of exotic cuisines and pick up beautiful handmade craft pieces at the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Every Sunday and Thursday night, crowds gather on the shore of the Arafura Sea to watch the sun slip below the horizon, Things to do in Darwin hundreds of stalls and enjoy the buskers. You can also grab a massage while you’re there.

Jumping Crocodiles with Adelaide River Queen Cruises
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Location: Arnhem Hwy, Wak Wak, NT (just under 1 hour’s drive from Darwin)Not to be confused with a destination in South Australia, the greater Darwin region’s Adelaide River is a body of water that’s especially notable for one main feature – its inhabitant salt water crocodiles. If you’ve looked at a postcard for Darwin and the NT depicting a massive croc jumping out of the murky water to grab some food, then this is the place it was likely taken. These massive creatures have existed for millions of years and are surprisingly agile, a fact that you’ll get to see up close and in person during a cruise with local operator Adelaide River Queen Cruises on one of their “jumping crocodile” cruises. Located just under an hour’s drive to the east of Darwin city, it’s a great starting experience to get yourself some raw and uncut exposure to the Northern Territory’s wildlife. While they’ve become something of an icon of the Northern Territory as a whole, it’s easy to take Australia’s crocodiles for granted before seeing them in person – they’re efficiently designed natural killing machines, and on this tour you’ll be separated from them by only a few centimeters of glass, at best (depending on your choice of cruise itinerary). Conducted a board a purpose-built and comfortable vessel, the tours are conducted by a friendly and knowledgeable crew and head out from Darwin for a journey that’s as educational and informative as it is scenic and entertaining – you’ll likely come away with a whole new degree of knowledge and respect for the crocs after the trip.

Crocosaurus Cove and the Cage of Death
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Location: 58 Mitchell St, Darwin, NTHad enough of crocs on this list yet? While it’s possible to feel a sense of “crocodile overdose” when looking at tourist places to visit in and around Darwin, each of them tend to have their own unique focus on the creatures. Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of the city takes this theme and kicks things up a notch by being the only place in Australia that allows you to dive with a fully-crown crocodile with its pants-wettingly-named Cage of Death experience. Situated right in the middle of the city’s main shopping district, it’s an excellent time-saver for those wanting to get close to crocs without leaving the city or heading further afield.

“Situated right in the middle of the city’s main shopping district, Crocosaurus Cove is an excellent time-saver for those wanting to get close to crocs without leaving the city or heading further afield.”
The attraction features some of the largest captive saltwater crocodiles in the country, which are interesting and impressive to look at, but it’s the Cage of Death that makes Crocosaurus Cove a standout. So what exactly does this experience involve? Those looking to take part will don goggles and enter a transparent glass cylinder, which will be gradually lowered into a pool with one of the “big” crocs, coming literally face-to-face with one of these awesome beasts. Over the next 15 minutes, you’ll be able to tread water as the creatures approach the glass

Darwin Aviation Heritage Centre
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Location: 557 Stuart Hwy, Winnellie, Darwin, NTWhile it’s all well and good to read about wartime history in books or on information brochures, it’s another thing entirely to see the scale of some of the tools of war in person. As with its Defence of Darwin Experience listed above, the combination of wartime involvement along with a location on the far north coast of Australia has made aircraft more important to the city’s history than many other parts of the country (for both good and bad). The Darwin Aviation Heritage Centre is a living showcase of many of the major aircraft that have formed the backbone of this slice of history, and contains multiple aircraft direct from their time period that are still in tip-top condition. With a multitude of award-winning displays – and the planes themselves – this is a spot that will serve as a dream for aviation and history buffs.

“With a solid and deep mix of Australian, American and Japanese planes and their parts as well as a dizzying amount of information to watch, read and digest, it’s easy to spend several hours at the museum soaking it all in.”
The stars of the show are the diverse array of aircraft themselves, and there are planes of all kinds and design purposes on display here: from the centrepiece of the massive B-52 bomber (it’s one of only two spots in the world outside the USA to contain such an aircraft) to Spitfires and smaller Tiger Moth biplanes and everything in between it’s a veritable archive of some of aviation’s best and brightest from the past 100 years.