Mindil Beach Sunset, Darwin

Holidays inDarwin

It’s Australia’s most celebrated gateway to the outback — but there’s much more to Darwin than a tick-off-your-list pit stop. Our tiniest capital city is drenched in vibrant Indigenous culture, tenacious creative talents and a distinctly easy-going lifestyle; Darwin sparkles amid quintessential tropical surroundings. Find memorable culinary experiences, family-friendly itineraries, romantic escapades and further holiday inspiration with our ultimate guide to the very best of this captivating city.

Best things to do and see in Darwin

Kakadu National Park may be calling but Darwin itself is a mecca for adventure seekers thirsty for one-of-a-kind good times. Heck, even the city’s central Waterfront Precinct has an enormously fun wave pool, undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Darwin. Eyeball saltwater crocs onboard a crocodile cruise or swim with one at Crocosaurus Cove, marvel in weekly multicultural market madness, ferry over to the remarkable Tiwi Islands or hop on a tour of some of the city’s best sights including historical museums and buzzing urban hot spots.

Darwin accommodation

Small in scale, overgrown with options. The best Darwin accommodation is often found around the city’s CBD, namely the Esplanade and Waterfront Precinct which provide easy access to well-trodden Mitchell Street and its always-on entertainment. But there are a bunch of gems worth considering outside the thick of it. Darwin caravan parks, located in and around the city centre, are spoiled with natural beauty, while a collection of far-flung resorts provide ultra-luxe amenities, Mindil Beach is gaining momentum thanks to the show-stopping Mindil Beach Casino Resort and a cluster of airport hotels blend convenience and grandeur.

Darwin restaurants and bars

Sample the freshest of native ingredients layered within the flavours of Asia and Europe at Darwin’s best restaurants. Morphing into a bit of a stomping ground for ambitious Aussie foodie talent in recent years, Darwin is home to authentic international cuisine for travellers on every budget. Mouth-watering market food and an eclectic mix of cafes provide stress-free on-the-go feeds while special occasions are marked with feasts at the likes of Hanuman, fusing Indian and Thai influences, and Darwin Ski Club, famed for family-friendly pub classics.  Speaking of pubs, Darwin has plenty of excellent bars to visit for a sundowner or a nightcap.

Getting to Darwin

While flying into Darwin from some of the country’s capital cities is a breeze, there are several jaw-droppingly scenic road trips to be considered if you’re visiting from the northern ends of Queensland and Western Australia. First and foremost, direct from capital city flights depart Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and you can also fly direct from Alice Springs and Cairns.

Fancy the longer way round? Popular road trips include the 2600-kilometre journey along the eastern section of Savannah Way to Darwin from Cairns, plus the 2000-kilometre drive between Broome and Darwin along the western half of Savannah Way where you’ll rip right through the Kimberley.

Getting into Darwin quickly is an obvious choice but if you’ve got time on your side, road-tripping will provide glimpses into adorable townships, dips in stunning hot springs, national park hopping and further soul-stirring moments.

Best time to visit Darwin

While the wet season between November and April is renowned for its high humidity and ample rain, it is an indisputably magical time to see Darwin. Referred to as the city’s Tropical Summer, this period invites greener-than-ever national parks, overflowing waterfalls, astonishing lightning storms and even more natural wonders. The dry season runs from May to October and brings on long, warm days which sparks their own perks including outdoor events and sunset markets, resulting in more tourists. Whichever you pick, sensational sights come on tap.

Car hire in Darwin

If you’re staying in the city, public transport will get you mostly anywhere you want to be in Darwin. Securing your own set of wheels, however, is going to help you explore the city’s fascinating outskirts and surrounding hot spots with ease. As a bonus, it’s going to provide you with instant shelter if one of Darwin’s infamous storms suddenly strikes. The big guns including Europcar, AVIS, Hertz and Budget can all be found at Darwin Airport and many of them have outposts in the CBD along the Esplanade, Mitchell Street and Smith Street.