Darwin - Cities, Towns and Localities
Whilst Darwin services both international and domestic routes from Australia, it
is also a very popular stop for visitors, especially those wanting to explore
the 'Top End'. Darwin itself has plenty of local attractions and activities,
together with an annual events calendar providing a great choice of things to do.
For those with limited time, there are many attractions within
easy walk of
Darwin's central business district. From the attractions of the
Waterfront Precinct on the south-east of the CBD, The Esplanade and
Bicentennial Park overlooking Port Darwin to the city's west, and the history
all within Darwin city, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Don't forget there
is the "World's largest display of Australian Reptiles" and the famous "Cage of
Death" located in the heart of Darwin city.
One of the great ways to see Darwin, nearby Kakadu and all that the Top End has to
offer is through one of the many tours operators. With a great range of tours
and charters, including indigenous operated tours, there is sure to be something
for everyone. As well as the tour operators listed under Darwin Tours, we have a number of tour operators listed under the
Territory tours headings:
• 28 Doctors Gully Rd, LARRAKEYAH / DARWIN NT 0800
• Ph: 08 8981 7837 •
• Fish feeding at Doctors Gully. Treat
yourself to an unforgettable experience right in the heart of Darwin within
distance of most city hotels. Aquascene is where hundreds of fish come to shore
at high tide to be fed by hand. Among the many species that you may see, as they
come close enough to touch competing for food, include milkfish, mullet,
catfish, bream and barramundi. Other species that may be seen in the shallow are
rays, cod, mangrove jack and diamond fish. Feeding happens only for a few hours
daily, with the most favourable times being generally in the mornings. Fish
numbers are highest during December to August. Check the website for feeding
Australian Aviation Heritage Centre
• 557 Stuart Hwy, WINNELLIE NT 0820
• Ph: 08 8947 2145 • Fax: 08 8947 1000 •
• The Australian Aviation Heritage
Centre is one of the major aviation museums in Australia. The Centre has an
impressive presentation of aircraft and displays depicting the Territory’s
involvement in aviation, both civil and military, from the early pioneers and
record breakers through World War II and the jet age. The major display item is
a massive B-52 bomber on permanent loan from the United States Air Force and is
one of only two on public display in the world outside the USA. More poignant is
the wreckage of a Japanese Zero fighter plane, a remnant from 1942 when Darwin
was attacked. Other exhibits include a Wessex helicopter, a Sabre jet, Spitfire,
and a number of other displays on Australian aviation history.
The Centre is approximately 8 kilometers from the city and was opened in 1990 in
a purpose built facility constructed by the Northern Territory Government and is
the largest single span building in the Northern Territory.
• Darwin has many beaches but it is wise
to keep out of the water during the wet season because of the deadly box
jellyfish. Popular beaches include Mindil and Vestey’s. In north Darwin there’s
a stinger net protecting part of Nightcliff Beach. A stretch of the 7 km
Casuarina Beach further east is officially designated for nudies. Lake Alexander
in East Point Reserve offers safe swimming.
Bungee and parachuting
• There is bungee jumping on weekends at
Wharf Precinct and a parachute club at Batchelor, 85 km south of Darwin.
• 815 McMillans Rd, BERRIMAH NT
• Ph: 08 8922 4500 • Fax: 08 8947 0678 •
• Open 7 days - 9 am to 5 pm / Feeding & Tour Times 10 am, 12 noon, 2 pm 3:30 pm
• A great place to come face to face
with the largest reptiles on the planet. Built over 30 years of experience in
crocodile research and conservation, the park plays host to over a thousand
crocodiles that vary from hatchlings to massive adults measuring 16 feet and
weighing over half-a-ton. There are also a diverse array of other wildlife
including big cats, primates, birds and other reptiles including the hawksbill
turtles. There is a museum, education centre and souvenir shop. Check the site
for feeding times.
• Located in the heart of Darwin’s tourist precinct • Ph: +61 8 8981 7522 •
• Swim with the crocodiles in Darwin
City! Crocosaurus Cove, opening soon, has ‘BFC’ (Big Flippin’ Crocs). There will
be seven crocodile enclosures with underwater viewing areas, and one with a
swimming pool next to a viewing window so you’ll be able to feel a bit like
you’re swimming with the crocs.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is the ‘Cage of Death’ — a clear box made from
just 1.6 inches thick acrylic, where the thrill seeker can climb into, before
being lowered into Choppa’s lair. It is described as ‘a shark cage without the
bars’, where the tourist can get an close up view of the jaws of Choppa, an 18
foot saltwater crocodile.
As well as
the crocodile displays, there are live reptiles and massive fish aquarium
stocked with turtles and a variety of fish species relevant to the waters of the
NT. The enormous reptile section will house 11 goanna species, frogs, skinks,
dragons and geckos. The exhibit will consists of both diurnal and nocturnal
animals found in the ‘Top End’ and Kimberly regions of Northern Australia and
will also show one of the worlds most venomous land snakes through to the rarest
of Top End pythons. Private function space is available and gift shop.
Cruises and Charters
• Sunset cruises of the harbour
run most evenings. There are also boat trips at Adelaide River Crossing to see
crocodiles jumping out of the water and grabbing pieces of meat held on the end
of poles. Darwin is a good place to organise bushwalking or 4WD drive
tours of the Top End, Kakadu or the Kimberley.
See NT Tours for individual destinations and
Boats, Charters, Cruises, Yachts.
• (Farm 40 km south of Darwin) Stuart Hwy, DARWIN NT
• Australia’s largest crocodile arm
housing some 36,000 animals. It operates as both a farm producing skins, meat
and other products for export and as a tourist facility. Get here in the early
afternoon for feeding time.
See ‘Snowy’, the world’s largest albino crocodile in captivity and many other
very large animals feeding daily. With the ‘freshie’ billabong, garden, and bush
settings, it is a place that is home to many native birds and animals. For the
bird enthusiasts there have been spotted kingfishers, ibis, sandpipers, storks
and birds of prey. Water monitors, turtles and many lizard species can also be
spotted in the surrounds.
Darwin Military Museum
• Alec Fong Lim Drv, EAST POINT NT 0820 • Ph: 08 8981 9702 • Mobile: 0417 876
• This museum was originally set up as
an artillery museum by the Royal Australian Artillery Association to exhibit
information from Darwin’s war time history. There are photographs and artefacts,
including information on the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese during World War
II. During this period there were 64 raids conducted on Darwin, that lasted for
almost two years and killed over 300 people. Visitors are welcomed to take a
tour of one of Australia’s most fascinating military museums and find out the
truth of really what happened in 1942.
Darwin Waterfront Precinct
• Experience Darwin’s tropical lifestyle at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct.
Cradled on the ocean side by Stokes Hill Wharf, visitors can enjoy resort-style
luxury, friendly wharf retailers and eateries whilst enjoying panoramic harbour
views and safe swimming. Walk the waterfront promenade, admire the iconic Darwin
Convention Centre, learn about the local marine life in the Indo Pacific Marine,
Wave Lagoon and
Recreation Lagoon. With easy access via Sky Bridge, connecting you to Smith
Street and the shopping mall, you can also explore the preserved cultural
Deckchair Cinema /
Darwin Film Society
• Kitchener Drv, Wharf Precinct, DARWIN NT • Ph: 08 8981 0700 •
• Deckchair Cinema, operated by the
Darwin Film Society, is unique in many ways. It is fully independent and screens
films that are often otherwise unavailable to local audiences.
The outdoor setting, on the edge of Darwin Harbour is absolutely stunning. The
lights reflected from anchored and passing ships make for a serene periphery.
The wonderful sunsets over the sea every evening are a stunning backdrop for
people who come early with their picnic dinners.
Run by the community-based Darwin Film Society, the Deckchair Cinema runs seven
nights a week during the dry season screenings a range of movies from family
favourites to festivals and foreign films.
Screening: Every evening, double features on Friday and Saturday from April to
November. Visit the website for program details.
• The waters of Doctors Gully is
an official marine sanctuary, with a rich history. It is also the premier local
attraction of the fish feeding sanctuary, Aquascene. This popular
attraction is one of Darwin's best known tourist attractions, bringing locals
and visitors during high tide to see hundreds of fish come in for a free feed.
• Located just to the north of Fannie
Bay, East Point Peninsula is a popular recreational area that is also home to
the Darwin Military Museum and the
East Point Reserve. Home to a colony of
wallabies, East Point is one of the best places in Darwin for watching the
sunset, with Dudley Point offering uninterrupted sunset views and a popular
observation spot for Darwin City and Fannie Bay. There are extensive walking and
cycling tracks, as well as a great spot for families looking for picnic areas
with barbecue facilities.
• A special place for the people of
Darwin and a popular recreational area for locals and visitors, East Point
Reserve covers almost 200 hectares, of which 30 hectares include natural forest
land. Easily accessible from both the city and suburbs, it is the largest park
area in or near the city.
The reserve offers safe swimming at Lake Alexander, especially during the summer
months when the surround waters are dangerous with box jellyfish. Drawing its
sea water from Fannie Bay, the lake has a maximum depth of 2.8 meters and covers
an area of some 3.5 hectares.
There is a range of barbecue and picnic facilities, a military history that goes
back to 1932 and a range of community and tourist facilities including the Royal
Australian Artillery Association Museum and the gun turret precinct. The popular
Dudley Point boast uninterrupted sunsets and magnificent views of Darwin and
A meandering walking trail through the vine forest containing some 600 plant
species, and the nine species of mangroves that occur within the reserve, are
points of interest for those interested in the flora of the region. The
wallabies are a popular attraction in the reserve, especially in the late
afternoon when they come out to feed. Other fauna seen in the area include
bandicoots, brushtail possums, various reptile species, over 35 different
species of butterflies and 133 bird species.
See Darwin Council website for more information or
click here to download document (PDF 740 Kb)
• Fishing for barramundi, freshwater and
saltwater perch is a popular pastime in Darwin.
For a list of fishing tours and charter operators check out our listing under
NT Fishing Tours and Charters,
that include a number of options for Darwin Harbour and nearby regions.
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
• Gardens Rd, The Gardens, DARWIN NT • Ph: 08 8981 1958 •
• Gates open 7 am - 7 pm daily
• Located about 2 kms north of the
Darwin Business District, the Gardens was established over 130 years ago to
introduce and evaluate plants for food and flavour to a small developing
community and has since become important in the recreational and scientific life
of the city.
Having survived numerous cyclones and the direct effects of World War II, the
site extends inland from the sea to a plateau providing a range of planting
environments and is one of a few botanic gardens in the world which has marine
and estuarine plants naturally in its grounds. The gardens spread across 42
hectares showcase the flora of Northern Australia and other tropical habitats
around the world. You can wander through rainforest, coastal fore dunes,
mangroves and open woodlands, see orchids, aroids, bromeliads and other striking
foliage plants up close. There are over 400 palm species alone growing in the
gardens. There is also a self guided Aboriginal Plant Use walk. The location of
the gardens is within the Fannie Bay cultural and recreational precinct and
places it amongst primary tourist venues.
Howard Springs Nature Park
• Open from 8 am to 8 pm daily
• Located about 35 km east of the city is this
crocodile-free swimming hole, surrounded by a monsoon forest. It’s makes a great
break from the heat, but gets crowded at weekends. There are short walking
tracks, wildlife include fish and turtles, tame wallabies grazing around the
springs and plenty of bird life. There are lots of shady picnic area with access
to spring-fed swimming pool, a toddlers pool is provided for small children. See
the website for current details including ‘Ranger Guide Activities’.
Indo Pacific Marine
Wharf Precinct, DARWIN NT 0801 • Ph: 08 8981 1294 •
(for bookings use
• The Indo Pacific Marine is the
longest established man-made tourism facility in the Northern Territory,
receiving industry recognition for excellence over many years. The exhibition is
unique in the fact that this is a land based living marine centre where each
system is totally self supporting – no feeding, filtration or water changing. As
the marine displays are contained eco systems, rare and unusual species can be
observed far more easily than would ever be the case on a dive in the open sea,
even for skilled SCUBA divers.
Indo Pacific Marine also features unique night tours of the reef. Yet again,
this all happens indoors where each visitor is supplied with a torch to observe
the nocturnal world of the reef environment, and this can include corals
spawning or fluorescing in a spectacular display of light. For an even more
close-up experience, magnifying sheets are placed against the glass walls of the
displays to observe minute organisms as they go about their business, as they
would in an ocean environment.
The Museum & Art Gallery of NT
• Conacher St, FANNIE BAY NT 0801 • Ph: 08 8999 8264 • Fax: 08 8999 8289
• The museum features the regions’ art,
natural history and culture with collections of Aboriginal art and material
culture, visual arts, craft, Southeast Asian art and material culture, visual
arts, craft, Southeast Asian art and material culture, NT history and maritime
Permanent exhibitions include Cyclone Tracy Exhibition, that depicts the
greatest natural disaster in Australia’s history with the destruction of the
city of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy. With documentary footage, historical artefacts,
photographs and sound recordings, you can immerse yourself in the history of
that terrifying impact on Territorians at the time.
Another popular exhibit is ‘Sweetheart’ the crocodile, an icon of the Territory.
In the 1970s, this formidable predator gained notoriety for attacking several
aluminium dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot, and on 19 July 1979, was
caught in a trap and anaesthetised. Unfortunately in the attempt to haul him
ashore, Sweetheart became entangled with a sunken log and drowned.
The Museum also includes other venues in Darwin:
- Fannie Bay Gaol
• East Point Rd, DARWIN
• Ph: 08 8999 8290
• Depicts the early Northern Territory
- Lyons Cottage
• Cnr Esplanade and Knuckey St, DARWIN
• Ph: 08 8981 1750
• BAT - British Australian Telegraph
House, also known as Lyons Cottage is an early example of Darwin
architecture houseing a collection of European and Larrakia early history.
Mindil Beach Market
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
• Mindil Beach, Maria Liveris Drv, THE GARDENS / DARWIN NT 0800 (see website for
dates and times)
• The vision statement of Mindil Beach
Sunset Market 'Live the Lifestyle' reflects the essence of the market - tropical
paradise, relaxation, fun, vibrant, creative, alive and entertaining.
Less than 3 km from Darwin city centre, on any given Thursday and Sunday, throughout the dry season, locals and visitors
can enjoy the tastes of five continents, with over 1,200 different menu items
for your taste buds, an eclectic range of handmade craft and live entertainment.
Port of Darwin
• ‘Australia’s Northern Gateway’ -
situated at the western end of Stokes Hill Wharf is a 1,750 square metre complex
of shops, restaurants and tourist facilities. The wharf also is the site of the
architect designed Function Centre.
• Cox Peninsula Rd, BERRY SPRINGS NT 0837
• Ph: +61 8 8988 7200 •
• Operated by the Parks and Wildlife
Commission of the Northern Territory, this park demonstrates the relationships
that exist in the wild, between the unique native plants and animals of the
region. It offers an amazing and unparalleled insight into the diversity of
tropical Australia. Just 45 minutes drive south of Darwin, nestled in almost
1,000 acres of natural bush, with 4 kms of easily walked paths.
- Fascinating daily guide presentations about the native flora and fauna.
- The Aquarium offers remarkable views of crocodiles, barramundi and more as
you journey from the river’s source to its end.
- Free-flying birds of prey display.
- Walk through one of the largest domed walk-through aviaries in the Southern
Hemisphere. The path beyond explores a monsoon forest fed by an underground
- Goose Lagoon bird watching from a hide overlooking a vast billabong.
- Nocturnal House with endangered and rarely seen native species.