DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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Stay and play – Darwin, NT

A vibrant but laidback tropical city overlooking a glorious harbour, Darwin is a destination that captivates at every turn. 

Darwin steals attention at all turns. Location: George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Credit: Tourism NT/Ashley Dobson.

Where is it?

Darwin is 1495km north of Alice Springs (14hr 35min drive).

By air, Brisbane to Darwin is approximately a 3hr 35m flight, a 4hr 10m flight from Melbourne, and 4hr 15m from Sydney.

Why go?

For the feeling of being somewhere completely different without having to leave Australia. The Northern Territory capital and its surrounds deliver a wide assortment of fascinating experiences that will likely remain etched in your memory. 

Those sublime sunsets over Darwin Harbour are hard to top. Credit: Tourism NT/Jules Ingall.

The essentials – things to do in Darwin, NT

Crocosaurus Cove

This is a standout Darwin attraction, allowing up-close viewing of imposing saltwater crocodiles alongside a huge display of Australian reptiles. Its famous Cage of Death crocodile dive is an exhilarating experience for those who are game!

Crocodylus Park

Continue the intimate and engrossing animal encounters with a visit to this popular wildlife park. The likes of lions and meerkats feature together with loads of crocs, and a jumping crocodile cruise is among an enthralling line-up of daily activities.

Crocosaurus Cove's Cage of Death offers a spine-tingling experience. Credit: Tourism NT/Helen Orr.

Darwin Waterfront

This CBD precinct has must-visit status written all over it. The assortment of seaside cafés, restaurants, and bars are ideal places to unwind, particularly on a balmy night.

Adding to the area’s ability to pull a crowd are a recreation lagoon, parklands, and a playground alongside a wave lagoon and aqua park; the latter both requiring admission fees. 

The Darwin Waterfront is the place to be. Credit: Tourism NT/Adrian Brown.

And don't miss the wave lagoon. Credit: Tourism NT/Peter Eve.

Darwin Harbour sunset cruise

The waterfront is the departure point for this essential Darwin activity. Various cruise options are available and are the perfect way to soak up a magical Darwin sunset.

Cruising the harbour at sunset is magical. Credit: Tourism NT/Ashley Dobson.

Darwin Military Museum

Retrace the city’s evocative World War II history via the museum’s interactive Defence of Darwin Experience. This first-class attraction has a strong focus on the 1942 Bombing of Darwin and recounts this significant event in powerful style.

The Defence of Darwin Experience comprehensively covers its chosen theme. Credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught.

World War II Darwin Oil Storage Tunnels

For more exploration of Darwin’s war past, head underground and explore the city’s fascinating storage tunnels. Various photos and displays are dotted along the way, making for a thought-provoking self-guided tour.

Unearth more World War II history at the storage tunnels. 

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

The sprawling tropical gardens are spotted on the CBD’s fringes and are dominated by botanic beauties found in northern Australia. Things to see and do abound, with a Segway tour among the highlights.

This is one way to admire the botanic gardens. Credit: Tourism NT/Nick Pincott.

East Point Reserve

There are more scenic surrounds to encounter at this spacious reserve, home to walking trails, playgrounds, a lake, and historical remnants, among more. This is an excellent place for a BBQ or picnic as well as a popular site to take in a memorable sunset. Alternatively, head to Casuarina Coastal Reserve.

East Point Reserve is a crowd puller. Credit: Tourism NT/Adriana Alvarado.

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Culture and history combine at this excellent, multi-faceted attraction. View outstanding works that form part of permanent and touring exhibitions, including . Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. And don’t miss the dedicated Cyclone Tracy exhibition among much, much more.  

Explore for hours at the museum and art gallery. Credit: Tourism NT/Aude Mayans.

Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility

Continue the heritage theme with a visit to this absorbing attraction. Various interactive exhibitions delve into the founding of an iconic Australian organisation as well as recounting wider Darwin history.

There's appeal for young and old at RFDS Darwin. Credit: Tourism NT/Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Deckchair Cinema

Located on the edge of Darwin Harbour, this is a wonderful outdoor cinema experience that runs each night from April-November. Titles include family favourites to foreign films.

Mindil Beach Sunset Market

This icon showcases Darwin’s rich multicultural influence with an atmosphere and flavour likened to a Southeast Asian night market. More than 200 stalls feature a huge assortment of tasty treats as well as arts and craft. It all takes place from 4-9pm each Thursday and Sunday evening from late April-late October.

Alternatively, the Nightcliff Markets offer fun for the senses each Sunday morning.

It's a hive of activity at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Credit: Tourism NT/Helen Orr.

Must-visit attractions near Darwin, NT

Berry Springs Nature Park

A gorgeous area, Berry Springs features inviting swimming pools in serene, shaded surrounds. They are perfect for a refreshing dip after exploring the park on various walking tracks that showcase such sights as monsoon forest, bird life, and World War II relics.

Distance: 50km south of Darwin and 35km south of BIG4 Howard Springs. 

Jump in: Berry Springs Nature Park. Credit: Tourism NT.

Fogg Dam Conservation Area

This area is highly regarded for its ease of accessibility to stunning wetlands, which are home to wildlife, birds, and marine creatures. It can all be viewed on a network of walking tracks.

Distance: 65km east of Darwin and 45km east of BIG4 Howard Springs. 

Fogg Dam is an underrated gem. Credit: Tourism NT/Jarrad Seng.

Daytrips from Darwin, NT

Litchfield National Park

Towering termite mounds, cascading waterfalls and their swimming pools, and historical ruins are among a mountain of treasure to explore within the vast confines of Litchfield. Not to be missed.

Distance: Approx. 120km south of Darwin and 95km south of BIG4 Howard Springs.

Buley Rockhole is one of many star attractions in Litchfield. Credit: Tourism NT/Backyard Bandits.

Kakadu National Park

You simply cannot visit Darwin without taking a daytrip to Kakadu. Australia’s largest national park is also one of its most significant, evidenced by its World Heritage status. Variable landscapes and eye-popping natural features – from waterfalls to wetlands – jostle for attention along with ancient Aboriginal rock art.

Distance: 250km east of Darwin (to Jabiru) and 230km east of BIG4 Howard Springs.

Spectacular: Nadab Lookout, Ubirr. Credit: Tourism NT/Helen Orr.

And the ancient rock art is equally dazzling. Credit: Tourism NT/Helen Orr.

Random fact

Although the city was named after British evolutionist Charles Darwin, the famous figure never visited the area. The location was given its name by Lt. John Lort Stokes who was a former shipmate of Darwin.

Location: Fannie Bay. Credit: Tourism Australia/Allan Dixon.

Accommodation in Darwin, NT

Searching for Darwin accommodation? Look no further…

BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park

Park type: Holiday.

Surrounded by inviting tropical gardens and boasting excellent amenities, BIG4 Howard Springs has built a reputation as a favourite among travellers.

Its varied accommodation includes cottages, cabins, and villas as well as an eco-tent combined with ensuite and powered sites.

Choose from one of three resort-style pools at BIG4 Howard Springs.

In-park attractions are highlighted by three resort-style pools, a water park with tipping bucket, a jumping pillow with shade sails, TV/movie room, camp kitchen, and BBQ areas. And it’s all backed by a relaxing atmosphere.

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