- For other places with the same name, see Darwin (disambiguation).
Darwin, a small yet cosmopolitan city, is the tropical capital city of the Northern Territory. People from more than 50 nations make up its population of 147,255 (2019). It sits on the Northern Territory coast, with the Timor Sea (a branch of the Indian Ocean) to the west, and the Arafura Sea to the north in Indonesian waters. Darwin is the only city of its size to have a north coast in mainland Australia, with the rest being small settlements.
Darwin has a relaxed lifestyle and unique multiculturalism, where people from over 50 different cultures live and work side by side. The regular Asian-style markets form an intrinsic part of the everyday Darwin landscape, for local residents see food, music, language, and culture from just about every Asian nation, alongside "crocodile hunters", local Aboriginal artists, musicians of every genre, sports fishing operators, sunset sails, and families with children playing on the beach. Darwin's unique cosmopolitan makeup has been recognised as an "multicultural icon of national significance" by the Australian National Trust.
Darwin's tropical climate has two major seasons: the "dry", from about May to October, and the "wet", from November to April. There is also the "build up", the time from the end of the dry, leading into the wet when the humidity rises, but the rain doesn't fall. The arrival of the wet is always a welcome break from the buildup.
Major cyclones have occurred approximately once every three decades. Much of the city was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. More recent cyclones have not been as dangerous, and building codes and emergency procedures have improved since then.
Darwin is also the only Australian capital city to have come under substantial attack during a war. On 19 February 1942, Japanese planes made two major air raids on Darwin from the aircraft carrier fleet that had attacked Pearl Harbor less than 3 months earlier. These were the first of 64 air attacks sustained by the city during World War II, the last being on 12 November 1943. (Other areas in northern Queensland and northern Western Australia were also bombed by Japanese aircraft while Sydney Harbour had some submarine attacks.)
Darwin was first named in 1839 by John Lort Stokes during the third voyage of the Beagle. It was named after his former shipmate and famous naturalist Charles Darwin. Darwin's development was accelerated by the discovery of gold at Pine Creek, about 200 km south of the city in 1871. After the gold rush Darwin's growth slowed mainly due to the harsh, tropical climate, distance and poor communications with other Australian cities. The Second World War put Darwin back on the map when the town became an important base for Allied action against the Japanese in the Pacific. The road south to the railhead at Alice Springs was surfaced, putting the city in direct contact with the rest of the country. Modern Darwin is one of Australia's most cosmopolitan cities, more open to Asia than perhaps any other Australian city. It plays an important role as the door to Australia's northern region. Natural wonders such as Kakadu, Katherine Gorge, and Litchfield are all within driving distance from the city and still contain near pre-colonial populations of crocodiles, goannas, snakes and wallabies.
Today Darwin is a fast-growing regional centre that has unique history, culture and adventure.
The following chart outlines Darwin's monthly climate averages as an indicator for the whole northern region.
Jan - Feb
Mar - Apr
May - Sept
Oct - Dec
The Top End, which includes Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land, has a tropical climate. Darwin has an average temperature of 32°C (90°F) all year, with varying humidity.
Darwin is climatically perfect to visit from May to October. There is no need to check the weather forecast as it is nearly always 31°C (89°F) and sunny during the day, with cooler nights.
November and December is the time the build up, or pre-monsoon season, begins and humidity levels start to rise. The summer rains bring the natural landscape to life and deliver the picturesque storms and sunsets the Northern Territory is renowned for. Some people enjoy this aspect of the wet, with the rivers and waterfalls in full glory, and the landscape greener. But its generally not a pleasant time to visit Darwin.
- 1 Darwin International Airport (DRW IATA) (is 13 km north-east of the city centre). There are direct flights to most Australian state capitals, Northern Territory destinations, and destinations in northern Western Australia, plus direct international flights to Bali, Singapore and elsewhere.
There is an airport shuttle bus, which meets all flights 24 hours, and taxis are available.
There are limited public transport services to the airport. Bus 3 has two deviations (c) and (d) which service Charles Eaton Drive and Henry Wrigley Drive. Bus 3(c) services run at three times M-F between 6:25 and 8:05AM, one at 12:30PM. Bus 3(d) services run at three times M-F between 3:55 and 5:20PM. If you are travelling outside these times, it is still possible to catch bus 3, get off just after stop C (Jingili shops) just before the bus turns down Scales St, and walk the 2 km down Henry Wrigley Drive to the Airport. Allow 30 min to walk there. Once you check in at the airport and go through security, there are free (hot) showers upstairs (turn right at the top of the escalators) to freshen up after your walk. Bus 3 is a circuit service starting and finishing at Casuarina Interchange (so you could also use this service to get from the airport to town). If you are travelling from the Darwin city centre, bus 10 operates from Darwin Interchange to Casuarina Interchange where you can then catch bus 3 to the airport. For detailed timetable information and fares, refer to the Darwin public transport website.
Darwin is easily accessible from most major Australian cities by several domestic carriers.
- Singapore Airlines flies from Singapore to Darwin, which is timed to connect with their flights from Europe.
- Jetstar offer direct flights to Darwin from Denpasar.
- Chartair offer specialised travel services ☏ +61 8 8952-6666.
- Regional Link[dead link] is a division of the NT aviation services company Capiteq Limited, whose other airline subsidiary is Airnorth. Regional Link offers numerous flights into Darwin from regional areas including Broome, Kununurra, Gove, Groote Eylandt, Granites, Maningrida and McArthur River. Regional Link also operates one flight a week from Perth via Kununurra.
The Stuart Highway is the only highway into Darwin; heading directly into the city centre and extending southwards all the way to Alice Springs (about 1,500 km) and Adelaide (3,042 km or 1,886 mi). You can access Darwin from all the Australian capital cities staying on regularly trafficked sealed (bitumen) roads with regular services. The drive from Sydney or Perth is about 4000–4500 km (2485 mi-2800 mi) depending on the route you choose, plan your trip and your stops carefully. Don't assume you can get fuel at night.
- See also: Across Australia by train
The Ghan is a tourist train that crosses the continent from Adelaide to Darwin twice a week. It's invariably more expensive than flying, and usually slower than driving yourself, but it is a journey for those who enjoy train travel, or who want to bring their car without the hassle of driving. There are transfers in Adelaide from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. You can bring your car from either Adelaide or Perth. The train line to Darwin was built in 2003, and was designed primarily for freight. The terminus for the train is near the deep water port at East Arm, approximately 7 km (4.5 mi) from the city centre; on the other side of Frances Bay, take a taxi, or get your accommodation to arrange a pickup for you. Buslink[dead link] provide a complimentary service for guests travelling in Gold class. Tickets are purchased from the driver and no booking is necessary. Return services run from the Transit Centre on Mitchel St. There is no public transport to the train station.
- 2 Darwin railway station, Saloo St.
Cruising has increased in popularity in the Northern Territory and the schedules for several international cruises include a day stopover in Darwin. Expedition cruise ships touring the northern coast of Australia are becoming a popular way to visit remote Aboriginal art communities in Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt.
Cruise ships dock at Fort Hill Wharf, which is quite close the Stokes Hill Wharf by water, but it is a 2 km or so by road. It is around 1 km (0.6 mi) to the Esplanade, and 2 km (1.2 mi) to downtown.
Driving is the best way to comprehensively see Darwin. Many of the sights are spread out, parking is easy and traffic is usually free flowing.
There is a public bus service Darwinbus, which is useful for accessing areas close to the city. The services are more frequent closer to the central area where the routes overlap, but you will need to plan according to the timetable to get anywhere else - some services only run a couple of times a day. The buses are air-conditioned. $3 per 3 hour transfer or $20 for a weekly pass. Buses can be an opportunity to meet some of the locals.
Walking between attractions or from a bus stop to attractions, even in the inner-city, can be very hot work for those not used to the Darwin climate. Dress to stay cool, and carry water.
Tours are available, and tour coaches are available to some attractions.
- Buslink, 113 Pruen Rd Berrimah, ☏ +61 8 8947 0577. Buslink are one of the major private providers of public transport, operating half of the Darwin Bus Network. Buslink also have charters.
- Darwin Private Hire Cars, 59 May St, Parap, ☏ +61 8 8981 2222. Darwin Private Hire Cars specialise in corporate and leisure transportation, and airport transfers, with fully trained drivers. $40-600.
- 1 Darwin Wharf Precinct, Darwin Wharf, Darwin, ☏ +61 8 8981 4268. At 9:58AM on 19 February 1942, the wharf was a target for Japanese bombs, which claimed the lives of many service personnel and waterside workers. Many of the historical landmarks remain and can be explored today. See also Pacific War.
- 2 Fannie Bay Gaol, East Point Rd, Fannie Bay. 10:30AM-4PM. Fannie Bay Gaol operated as Darwin’s major prison for almost 100 years from 1883. Two maximum security wings were added during the 1950s and the gallows were used for executions until 1952. The building’s grim and oppressive history can be felt as you walk through. free.
- 3 Burnett House at Myilly Point, Myilly Point, ☏ +61 8 8981 0165. Architect B.C.G. Burnett designed homes adapted to the climatic conditions of the Top End, which included the use of lightweight materials and natural ventilation. It is worth leaving your visit to Myilly Point until Sunday afternoon, when you can take High Tea in the shady tropical gardens at Burnett House.
- 4 Browns Mart, ☏ +61 8 8981 5522. Browns Mart is a stone building that was opened in 1885 as the store ‘Solomon’s Emporium’. It played many roles over the years, but today has become a cultural and historic icon of the city that is regularly used for theatre and performances.
- 5 Lyons Cottage, ☏ +61 8 8999 8201. Lyons Cottage, overlooking Darwin Harbour on The Esplanade, was built in 1925 to house staff working on the submarine cable that connected Australia with Britain. Also known as British Australia Telegraph (BAT) House, Lyons Cottage survived the Japanese bombing raids of 1942 and 1943 and escaped structural damage from Cyclone Tracy in 1974. The Cottage today houses the local indigenous tourism booking service.
- 6 The Old Court House and Police. Built in 1884 for the South Australian Government, these colonial style buildings made from local stone have housed criminals, the Navy and today the NT Administrator’s Offices. Restored after damage by Cyclone Tracy, these buildings are a stark reminder of the Darwin of yesteryear.
- 7 Aviation Heritage Centre, ☏ +61 8 8947 2145. The Aviation Heritage Centre has an impressive collection of aircraft and displays depicting the Territory’s involvement in aviation from the early pioneers to the jet age. The prize exhibit is a B-52 bomber on permanent loan from the United States Air Force, one of only two on public display outside the US. The centre is 8 km from Darwin city and is on the site of fierce air combat that took place overhead during World War II.
- 8 Oil Storage Tunnels, Kitchener Dr (opposite the wharf precinct). Long tunnels bored into the cliff to store oil during WW2. Now they contain historic photos and an eerie atmosphere. $7.
- 9 Bicentennial Park, Esplanade. This scenic stretch of parkland along The Esplanade overlooks Darwin Harbour. It’s a great place to kick a footy, soak up some rays or have a picnic while watching the sun set.
- 10 George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Gardens Road (Geranium St off the Stuart Hwy). 7AM-7PM. A stone’s throw from the city centre are 42 hectares of gardens that showcase local flora and that of other tropical habitats around the world. Explore monsoon forests, coastal foredunes and open woodlands on a stroll through the botanic gardens. Free.
- 11 Lake Alexander, Alec Fong Lim Drive. An ideal spot for swimming all year round, Lake Alexander is popular for picnics and barbecues. Spend the day by the water, have a game of volleyball and tire the kids out on the playground.
- 12 Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Trower Road. The Reserve encompasses 1500 hectares, including 8 km (5 mi) of sandy beaches bordered by dramatic cliffs. Stretch your legs on one of the walking paths or grab a table and settle in for a barbecue under a shady casuarina tree.
- 13 Charles Darwin National Park, Tiger Brennan Drive. Shell middens in the area indicate that it has been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years. The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the land. During World War II, this area was part of a network of military sites that formed Australia’s front line of defence, and as a result there are many bunkers and storage facilities remaining.
- 14 Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), 19 Conacher St (Bullocky Point (Darwin Harbour)), ☏ +61 8 8999 6573, fax: +61 8 8981 7625. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su + public holidays 10AM-4PM, closed 1 Jan, 25-26 Dec, and Good Friday. - set on a tropical garden on Darwin Harbour is this, the Northern Territory's premier cultural institution. The MAGNT collections place the region's art, history and culture, and natural history in an Australian and international context through research, interpretation and collection development. These collections encompass Aboriginal art and material culture, visual arts, craft, Southeast Asian and Oceanic art and material culture, maritime archaeology, Northern Territory history and natural sciences. The MAGNT complex consists of five major permanent galleries, a touring gallery, educational facilities for school groups, a theatre, the Museum Shop and the Cornucopia Museum Cafe. All contribute to providing an entertaining, diverse and educational experience for the local community and visitors to Darwin. Marvel at the 18 foot saltwater crocodile known as "Sweetheart", who was responsible for attacking multiple boats in the 1970s and is now on display in the museum. free admission.
- 15 Northern Territory Parliament House, State Sq, ☏ +61 8 8947 2145. Northern Territory Parliament House is Australia’s newest. Opened in 1994, it was built on the site of the old Darwin Post and Telegraphic Office, which included the Post Office, the telegraph office, the telephone exchange, cable company offices, stores, staff residences and staff messes. Public tours are conducted regularly at no charge, although booking is essential. free entry.
- 16 Darwin Beer Can Regatta. Exactly what it says on the tin (oh wait, can)! Wacky races which happened in the water at Mindil Beach annually in July, if you drink enough VB you could always enter yourself!
- 1 East Point Reserve. East Point Reserve, just north of the city, is filled with walking trails and cycling paths. The area is also home to Darwin’s East Point Military Museum. Here you can check out WWII relics and watch footage of the Darwin bombing. Go near dawn or dusk to see Agile Wallabies.
- Berry Springs Nature Park is a popular and picturesque area for picnics and is a great swimming spot. Use goggles to spot native fish and other aquatic life that live in the clear pools. The picnic area is a good base from which to take a walk through the monsoon forest and woodlands. Bring your binoculars if you're keen on bird watching. Around 50 km south of Darwin, reachable in 45 min by car. It has a kiosk. It can be closed for swimming during the wet season.
- 2 Aquascene, 28 Doctors Gully Rd, ☏ +61 8 8981 7837. You feed the fish by hand and they're not little fishies, so luckily they don't bite hard! Feeding is dependent on the tide, so check the website or call for the schedule. entry fee applies.
- 3 Crocodylus Park. Only 5 minutes from the airport, the park is home to more than a thousand crocodiles. It also houses exotic birds, primates, big cats and lizards. Children under 4 years have free entry.
- 4 Batchelor Butterfly and Petting Farm, 8 Meneling Rd, Batchelor, ☏ +61 8 8976 0199. The Northern Territory's only butterfly farm is in the heart of Batchelor, gateway to the Litchfield National Park. You can view rare and beautiful butterflies and a diverse range of birds, and there is also a petting farm with lots of rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles, fish, peacocks and native galah birds. A secure play area for children is provided. There is also a cafe and licensed restaurant on premises. $10, $5 child, $8 senior.
- 5 Territory Wildlife Park, ☏ +61 8 8988 7200. The Territory Wildlife Park is a popular attraction, home to monsoon and paperbark forests and a wetlands walk. You can stand nose-to-nose with a 3.7 metre saltwater crocodile on a walk through the aquarium tunnel. Twice-daily birds of prey show or animal encounters presentation.
- 6 Crocosaurus Cove, Mitchell St. Crocodiles in the middle of the city.
- 7 Casuarina Coastal Reserve. Just a 20 min drive from the city, the Casuarina Coastal Reserve comprises sandy beaches fringed by casuarina trees and sandstone cliffs. The Reserve protects areas of cultural significance, including Old Man Rock, a registered Aboriginal sacred site. The Reserve also features a large grassy area with barbeques and tables.
- 8 Deckchair Cinema, Jervois Rd off Kitchener Dr, Wharf Precinct, ☏ +61 8 89810700. Gates open 6:30PM, films nightly from 7:30PM Apr-Nov. Relax outdoors in the deckchairs on Darwin Harbour and enjoy a movie under the stars. Deckchair Cinema screens quality Australian, family, foreign and popular films every night of the dry season. There is also a licenced kiosk. $13.
- Darwin Festival. The Darwin Festival program provides a feast of local, national and international performances to excite, inspire and entertain. The festival includes everything from free outdoor events to theatre, dance, music, cabaret, films, workshops and comedy, not to mention the sensational cuisine. Running for 18 nights, the Darwin Festival reflects the indigenous, Asian and Pacific cultures of the region. August.
- Aboriginal Art Awards. The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award is the premier national indigenous event on the arts calendar. The Award attracts a broad range of artistic talent and showcases up-to-date developments in contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Aug–Oct.
- Heineken Hottest 7’s in the world. This Rugby 7’s competition is held over two days with local teams competing against the best from overseas, interstate and intrastate. It ranks as the leading prize money 7’s event in Australia with $60,000 up for grabs.
- BASSINTHEGRASS. Every year, thousands of Darwin locals and visitors flock to the Darwin Amphitheatre to rock to their favourite Australian and International bands. Previous line-ups include Powderfinger, Hilltop Hoods, Wolfmother, Gyroscope, Jet and Eskimo Joe. This is a sell out event every year, so make sure you get your tickets early. The event is normally held in May.
- Darwin Cup Carnival. Share in the excitement of Darwin’s premier horse racing calendar. The Darwin Cup Carnival features Ladies Day, where the ladies can show off their finery and enjoy a sumptuous luncheon and a glass of bubbly and culminates in the Darwin Cup race. The picturesque Fannie Bay Racecourse track is one of only a few dirt tracks in operation on the circuit, and the Darwin Cup Day witnesses 19,000 people bursting the rails. 4 Jul–3 Aug (2009).
- 9 Arafura Games. The Arafura Games, held in Darwin, is a sporting event for developing athletes across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. It provides the experience necessary to succeed in competition of the highest level. This biennial event is a major highlight on the sporting calendar and is recognised throughout the Asia Pacific region as a week-long celebration of sporting competition, cultural diversity and friendship.
- 10 Darwin Entertainment Centre, 93 Mitchell Street, ☏ +61 8 8980 3333, [email protected]. M-F 9AM-5:30PM. The Darwin Entertainment Centre has an unmistakable presence on Mitchell Street. Complete with playhouse, studio theatre and exhibition gallery, the centre hosts concerts, dances and performances from Australia and overseas.
- Nightlife. Darwin’s youthful population adds energy and zest to the city’s vibrant night life. After dark there’s plenty of culture, music and entertainment to keep you busy.
Study options in the Northern Territory include VET courses and apprenticeships, as well as undergraduate and post graduate tertiary qualifications. Charles Darwin University is the main tertiary education institution in the Territory, and delivers university and vocational education from several campuses in Darwin and the main towns. See the Territory Government's website for information about studying and working in the Northern Territory.
A working holiday in the Northern Territory gives you the opportunity to experience a lifestyle and culture that's completely different from the rest of Australia. From outback stations and horticultural farms to hospitality and nursing, there are many ways to fund your holiday in the Northern Territory.
Automatic Teller Machines are available extensively. Foreign exchange is available at most banks.
Visiting the local markets[dead link] is a must-do Darwin experience.
- 1 Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Immensely popular, are by far the largest in the NT and runs from May to October on Thursday and Sunday. They cause the largest traffic snarls and most parking hassle you are likely to encounter in Darwin. Bring a bottle of wine and blanket, find a spot on the sand and watch a famous Darwin sunset. For a sweet fix, try chocolate-filled churros, or a flame-grilled Malaysian satay stick for something savoury. Vegetarians should try the Lucky Cow’s felafel wrap. There are many stalls, heaps of food choices, and even avid market haters will like these markets.
- Enjoy exotic cuisine, local art, craft and live music. No visit to the Saturday morning Parap Village Markets is complete without a bowl of Mary’s famous laksa, a curry-filled roti wrap or freshly blended fruit juice.
- 2 Nightcliff Markets, Pavonia Pl, Nightcliff, ☏ +61 4 1436 8773. On Sunday visit the Nightcliff Markets, start with a visit to the crepe stand for a strawberry and nutella breakfast, while listening to the beat of live music. There are some interesting stalls offering eco-friendly soaps, hemp products and locally designed clothing.
- Rapid Creek Sunday Market is great for locally grown fruit and vegetables, particularly Asian herbs. Here you can get a Thai massage, or pick up homemade mango chutney and jams. It operates all year round on Sunday morning.
- Big Flea Market Rapid Creek, Rapid Creek Shopping Centre, Trower Rd, Rapid Creek (Buses from Darwin city and Casuarina stop by the market on a regular basis), ☏ +61 8 8948-4866. Su 7AM-1PM. Relax and enjoy a stress-relieving massage or cool tropical juice. Darwin's oldest market is situated only 20min from Darwin city, in the Rapid Creek Business Village.Good location for a relaxing Sunday brunch or browsing the stalls for fresh organic produce. Asian fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, exotic plants, flowers and seafood are available. You’ll also find a range of local handmade crafts. Free entry.
Start at Smith Street Mall in the city centre then branch out into the surrounding streets. Travellers will find a range of shopping experiences including local galleries specialising in Aboriginal art or speciality shops selling world-class pearls and crocodile-skin products.
- Tiwi Art Network (3 / 3 Vickers St, Parap).
- 3 Nomad Art (1/3 Vickers St, Parap). Specialists in Aboriginal art from the Northern Territory, with an emphasis on works on paper. Nomad Art also run a gallery in Manuka, Canberra.
- 4 Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery (1F, Cnr Mitchell and Knuckey Sts).
- Top End Gold Honey - local honey from around the Northern Territory. The flavours vary according to the seasons with a unique taste at every time of year.
- 5 Casuarina Square, 247 Trower Rd, Casuarina, ☏ +61 8 8920 2345. Casuarina Square is the largest shopping complex in Darwin, offering a wide range of specialty stores, a food court and a seven screen cinema complex. Browse the stores, treat yourself to a movie or sit down and relax with a coffee. There is a public bus station at the centre, which also runs its own free shuttle from leading hotels between April and September. Casuarina Square is a popular spot for locals and travellers looking to enjoy retail and entertainment. Free entry.
- Kunwinjku Aboriginal Art (Artist Leslie Nawirridj). Leslie is a traditional owner of Mand-dedj-ka-djang outstation on the Liverpool River. He paints in the way of his ancestors whose original work is the rock art of Western Arnhem Land. Leslie has perfected the technique called rarrk, or fine-line cross-hatching, to present the traditional "x-ray" style of painting. You can find him at the markets at Mindil Beach, on Thursdays, and Parap with his original paintings and prints.
Darwin’s downtown dining hub encompasses Mitchell and Knuckey Streets and is brimming with restaurants, cafes and pubs. Dinner in Darwin can be classy or casual, but always relaxed. For breakfast, Café Uno serves a tasty toasted avocado, tomato and cheese croissant, and coffee lovers should head to Café 21 in the mall. For something a little different, try the coconut loaf with lemon curd at Roma Bar or French toast with maple syrup and bacon at Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill.
Lunch options in the Central Business District are endless. Jump on the sushi train at Go Sushi, people-watch over a Caesar salad at Wisdom Bar & Café or try the crispy roast duck at Roast and Noodle. Enjoy Yum Cha at Tasty House, sample the variety of Tapas at Moorish Café or create your own stir-fry at Magic Wok. There is an array of pubs that serve up fish and chips, burgers and parmas, try Kitty O’Shea’s, Shennanigans or the Fox Ale House. For a juicy steak and fine wine visit Char Restaurant @ Admiralty, head to Hanuman for consistently great curry, get your Italian from Giuseppe’s or try mod oz fare matched with a colourful cocktail at Monsoons.
- 1 Amma's Cafe, Shop 8 Vic Arcade, 27 Smith Street Mall, ☏ +61 411 212 094, [email protected]. A cafe that has some fantastic Sri Lankan street-food.
- 2 Rorkes Beer Wine Food (Rorkes), 22 Smith Street, ☏ +61 8 942 1000.
- 3 Shennanigans (Shags), 69 Mitchell Street, ☏ +61 8 981 2100. At Mitchell St and Peel St, for pub-style food and live music
- 4 Tim's Surf and Turf, 10 Litchfield Street, ☏ +61 8 8981 1024. Has good value meals.
- 5 The Tap, 58 Mitchell Street, ☏ +61 8 8981 5521. In the middle of Mitchell St. Sit down and relax and watch the world walk by.
- 6 Wisdom Bar and Cafe, 48 Mitchell Street, ☏ +61 8 8941 4866. Noon until late daily.
- East West Restaurant, 43 Knuckey St, ☏ +61 8 8941 6911. The menu is influenced both by the exotic, aromatic spices of Asia infused with salty, bitter and sweet flavours, whilst western influences are seen in variations of grills, pastas, salad mixes and gourmet sauces. Extensive wine and cocktail list and your choice of al fresco or airconditioned dining.
- 7 Char Restaurant at Admiralty, 70 The Esplanade, ☏ +61 8 8981 4544. Local produce, international and local wines with innovative cuisine and good service.
- 8 Hanuman Restaurant, 93 Mitchell St, ☏ +61 8 8941 3500. Th-Su 9AM-4PM (for breakfast & lunch), F Sa 6PM-late (for dinner). Thai, Indian and Malaysian dishes with local ingredients, though in more recent times, this restaurant has started to specialise in Asian and South Asian food in general. $22-89.
- 9 Essence Restaurant, 1 Henry Wrigley Dr, Marrara (within the Darwin Airport precinct), ☏ +61 8 8920 3333. Influences of both the Asia and Pacific regions. Incorporating Australian 'bush foods' with modern Western ingredients. Fully licensed and offers an extensive wine list.
- Evoo Restaurant, Skycity Darwin, Gilruth Ave, ☏ +61 8 8943 8940. Australian and Mediterranean cuisine in an intimate setting with ocean views. Licensed with an extensive Australian and French wine list, as well as a cellar list of Australian vintage wines.
- Dragon Court Restaurant, Skycity Darwin, Gilruth Ave (Skycity Darwin), ☏ +61 8 8943 8888. Chinese dining prepared by Chinese chefs. Good service, elegant decor, a fully licensed bar and an extensive wine list.
- Redsalt Bar and Grill, Crowne Plaza Darwin, 32 Mitchell St (Lobby level), ☏ +61 8 8982 4992. Fully licensed contemporary restaurant, in light and airy surroundings. Informal, relaxed dining . The Australian cuisine menu features premium steak dishes and seafood including barramundi, as well as a range of vegetarian dishes. Groups are welcomed and reservations are recommend.
Stokes Hill Wharf
Stokes Hill Wharf Watch the barges, sail boats and tinnies out on the harbour or peer over the edge to see moon fish getting their feed from chips dropped by diners. Most of the food served here is picnic style take away. Stir-fried noodles, beer battered barramundi, crumbed calamari and other choices are presented on plastic plates. Make sure you visit the ice cream shop and refresh your palate with a scoop of butterscotch or mint choc chip. There is also a more upmarket seafood restaurant on site.
Well known for its markets, but also has a diversity of lesser-known restaurants. Try sizzling Mongolian beef at The Happy Garden Chinese Restaurant or steaming hot tamales from Prickles then move on to coffee and cake at The Cyclone Café or Paraparazzi. If you want to stock up on gourmet goodies, head to Parap Fine Foods, they’ve got a great deli and stock French home-style bread.
- 10 Parap Markets, Parap Shopping Village, Parap Place, Parap, ☏ +61 8 8942 0805. Sa 8AM-2PM. A mixture of Asian cuisine and the aroma of fresh coffee. Great place to shop and a favourite among locals and visitors. Browse the markets, winding through stalls of local produce, local arts and crafts, entertainment and delicious cuisine from around the world. This Saturday morning market has become an institution and ritual among locals who just couldn’t survive a weekend without their Saturday morning laksa, satay prawns or fresh tropical smoothie.
- 11 Saffrron Restaurant, Shop 14, 34 Parap Rd, Parap (Cnr of Gregory St and Vimy Ln), ☏ +61 8 8981 2383. A self-serve, fully licensed restaurant with relaxed, casual dining in a tropical atmosphere. Indian cuisine including traditional Tandoori, North and South Indian dishes.
Best known for its views and pricey real estate, the assortment of dining in Fannie Bay is considerably less expensive than the housing. You can drink a glass of sparkling with breakfast at Cornucopia Museum Café, but be sure to book, as it is always busy. Across the road is the Darwin Ski Club, where the food is pub-style with harbour views. Try The Cool Spot Cafe, a trendy hangout that offers great light meals and snacks. The seafood dishes are a highlight at Pee Wee’s at The Point, especially the soft shell mud crab.
- Saltwater Darwin, Conacher St, Fannie Bay, ☏ +61 434 645 912. Fully licensed cafe is located adjacent to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Fannie Bay, harbour side overlooking the tropical museum gardens and the Timor Sea.
- 12 Pee Wee's at the Point, Alec Fong Lim Dr, East Point Reserve, Fannie Bay, ☏ +61 8 8981 6868. Amongst tropical palms with a quiet natural ambiance. Fresh local produce and ingredients including local saltwater barramundi, tiger prawns, tropical fruit and locally grown Asian vegetables. Dine al fresco on the patio and take in the sunset views across Fannie Bay or inside in the fully licensed restaurant.
Offers an abundance of seafood choices and expansive harbour views, but you’ll also find Italian, Thai, Greek and French cuisine. Freshly shucked oysters are a specialty at Yots Greek Taverna, try the barramundi at La Beach, succulent battered bug tails from the takeaway fish and chip shop or settle with a glass of sparkling at Buzz Café. There is a large variety of restaurants along the boardwalk overlooking the marina, so you won’t be starved for choice.
- 13 Buzz Cafe, 48 Marina Blvd, Cullen Bay, ☏ +61 8 8941 1141. Fully licensed and located at Cullen Bay, offers al fresco dining with modern Australian cuisine. Individually hand painted tables are shaped to ensure waterfront views for everyone. Restaurant has some eclectic design features.
Consumption of alcohol in public places
Please note, within certain areas of the Northern Territory, there are restrictions on the consumption of alcohol in public places. Pay attention to local notices
Darwin has numerous clubs and bars. Also you can check out some local music at Brown’s Mart.
- Humpty Doo Tavern, Humpty Doo Shopping Centre (Cnr of Freds Pass Rd and Challenor Circuit, Humpty Doo), ☏ +61 8 8988 2550. On the edge of the agricultural area surrounding Darwin, 47 km and approximately a 30-min drive from the city. The township of Humpty Doo has attracted people who want to live beyond the city limits, but within easy commuting distance. A favourite stop for both locals and travellers on their way to Kakadu or visiting Fogg Dam, popular for bird watching. Mangrove Jack’s Bar provides airconditioned comfort, or you can enjoy a light ale in the tropical outdoor beer garden. There’s live entertainment, and lunch and dinner is served daily.
- Sirocco Restaurant and Bar, 116 The Esplanade (Holiday Inn Esplanade), ☏ +61 8 8980 0800. Relax and enjoy a pre-dinner drink or refreshing cocktail at the fully licensed restaurant and bar, a tranquil spot overlooking an azure blue pool.
- Top End Hotel, Mitchell St.
- Turtles Bar and Bistro, 342 Casuarina Dr, Rapid Creek (Within the Beachfront Hotel), ☏ +61 8 8985 3000. From Th-Su. Live entertainment including local bands and entertainers. Savour one of the cold tap beers as the sun sets, relaxing at the bar inside or kick back on the deck.
- Victoria Hotel, In the Smith Street Mall
Warning! book ahead in dry season as accommodation gets VERY full.
- 1 The Cavenagh Backpackers (Nomads Backpackers Hostel), 12 Cavenagh St. Located in the heart of Darwin city.
- Frogshollow Backpackers, 27 Lindsay St, ☏ +61 8 8941 2600, toll-free: 1800 068 686, fax: +61 8 8941 0758, [email protected]. Dorm-1 Person, $24, or $140 weekly. Room only-2 persons $55-68.
- 2 Gecko Lodge, 146 Mitchell St, ☏ +61 8 8981 5569, [email protected]. Dorm-1 Person $17-24/room.
- Globetrotters Lodge YHA, 97 Mitchell St, ☏ +61 8 8981 5385, +61 8 8981 3353, [email protected]. $73.50-94 per room/per person-$20.50-27.50 for a dorm per person.
- 3 Melaleuca Backpackers, 52 Mitchell St, ☏ +61 8 8941 7800, 1300 723 437 (local rate).
- Stella Maris Seafarers Centre, 1 McMinn St, ☏ +61 4 0059 0279, [email protected]. $20/night or $100/week for a single room.
- 4 Value Inn, 50 Mitchell St, ☏ +61 8 8981 4733.
- 5 YMCA of Darwin, Doctors Gully, ☏ +61 8 8981 8377, [email protected]. Single room $25/night or from $120/week.
- 6 The Wilderness Lodge, 88 Mitchel St. $24.
- Accommodation on Eden, 36 Eden St, Stuart Park, ☏ +61 8 8947 4440, fax: +61 8 8980 0888. $200-450.
- Botanic Gardens Apartments, 17 Geranium St, ☏ +61 8 8946 0300. Quality accommodation centrally located in tranquil surroundings on Gardens Hill with views over the Botanic Gardens to the Arafura Sea. 2 or 3 bedroom fully self contained apartments, as well as motel rooms, also have four three bedroom, self contained townhouses, situated opposite the main complex. A stroll through the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens leads to the Skycity Casino, Mindil Beach, restaurants, golf course, tennis courts and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. $129-395.
- Crab Claw Island Fishermans Village, Lot 180, Crab Claw Island, Bynoe Harbour, ☏ +61 8 8978 2313. Nestled on the waters edge in a Balinese style reflecting a fishing village with elevated A/C cabins connected by walkways through the trees and palm gardens. Swimming pools a restaurant and fully licensed bar with harbour views. A limited number of powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites are situated 75 m from the waters edge and boat ramp. $28-344.
- Crowne Plaza Darwin, 32 Mitchell St, ☏ 1300 666 545 (local rate), toll-free: 1800 891 107, fax: +61 8 8981 1765, [email protected]. Bed and breakfast 2 persons $159-250.
- 7 FreeSpirit Resort Darwin, 901 Stuart Hwy, Berrimah, ☏ +61 8 8935 0888. Set on 28 acres of lush tropical gardens and located just 15 min from Darwin city on the Stuart Highway. An independent member of BIG 4 Holiday Parks. 1 and 2 bedroom villas and cabins Powered and unpowered sites for caravans, recreational vehicles, motorhomes and campers. Facilities include; swimming pools, a poolside bistro and bar, internet cafe and a giant jumping pillow for children. $28-340.
- 8 Grungle Downs Tropical Bed and Breakfast, 945 McMillans Rd, Knuckey Lagoon, ☏ +61 8 8947 4440. Set in an idyllic location, only minutes from all Darwin's attractions and is perfect for a family . The Lodge has 4 queen beds. Bed and breakfast rooms and the completely self contained Family and Pet Friendly Cottage, pets are welcomed by arrangement. $120-400.
- Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin, The Esplanade, ☏ +61 8 8980 0800, 1300 666 747 (local rate), fax: +61 8 8980 0888, [email protected]. $149-230.
- Litchfield Tourist Park, Litchfield Tourism Precinct, Litchfield Park Rd, Batchelor (4 km N of Wangi Falls), ☏ +61 8 8978 2077. One of Litchfield’s premier safari camps, close to all major attractions of the Litchfield National Park. Good base from which to explore the region. Has a range of permanent safari tents and tented cabins equipped with comfortable beds. Includes dinner and breakfast at Litchfield Cafe. $215-235.
- Mandalay Luxury Stay, House 4, 78 Esplanade, ☏ +61 8 8942 3012. Self contained house with 3 bedrooms available. Quality artwork and luxurious furnishings. Offers privacy and comfort for up to six people sharing the fully equipped kitchen, views of Darwin Harbour from the balconies and swimming pool. $165-660.
- 9 Mantra on the Esplanade, 88 The Esplanade, ☏ +61 8 8943 4333. Overlooks Darwin Harbour to the Arafura Sea and the city skyline. 4 star hotel offers 140 one, two and three bedroom suites, 64 hotel rooms. Restaurant, bar, outdoor swimming pool and spa. Apartments have large private balconies. The hotel is adjacent to the Mitchell Street restaurant hub and within walking distance to the central business district. $215-750.
- 10 Moonshadow Villas, 6 Gardens Hill Crescent, The Gardens, ☏ +61 8 8981 8850. Tropical garden estate of five luxurious self-contained residential villas in a tranquil. Easy access to the city centre and Mindil Beach Sunset markets. $399-725.
- Oaks Elan Darwin, 31 Woods St, ☏ +61 7 3246 1616, [email protected]. Check-in: 1400 hrs or 2 pm, check-out: 1000 hrs or 10 am. This property offers 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, with restaurant facilities, an outdoor lap pool, gymnasium and onsite restaurant (O.A.K)
- Bamurru Plains, Swim Creek Station, Harold Knowles Rd, Point Stuart (Two and half hours from Darwin), ☏ +61 2 9571 6399. An exclusive wildlife experience at Swim Creek Station on the Mary River floodplains, Safari-style camp is surrounded by savannah woodland teeming with wildlife, reptiles and birds. Spacious free-standing rooms expose guests to the sounds of the floodplains. The dining area has good views across the vast wetlands. 10 m wet edge pool and a library. Wide variety of activities are available including trips on the Sampan River, animal viewing, crocodile cruises, airboat trips and four wheel drive safaris. Helicopter flights are available at an additional cost. $898-1345.
- Dragonfly House, 164 Dick Ward Dr, Coconut Grove (8 km from Darwin city centre or Casuarina), ☏ +61 8 8985 6322. Modern self-contained apartment is ideal for families, groups or individuals. The house is serviced weekly and is perfect for families attending weddings and family gatherings. The indicative rate shown is a weekly basis, however longer stay rates are available. Public buses passing by location on a regular basis $1200-1500.
- 11 Skycity, Gilruth Ave, The Gardens, ☏ +61 8 8943 8888, toll-free: 1800 891 118. Set amongst tropical beachside gardens, this is a 5 star boutique hotel located moments from the CBD.
In an Emergency dial 000 for ambulance, fire or police.
- Dial 000 and request the service that you need
- Remember to remain as calm as you can and give a clear description of your location
- Speak clearly and give the details as requested
Take care at night. While the tourist areas around the waterfront are pretty friendly, there are some rough areas in the city proper.
Royal Darwin Hospital is one of five public hospitals located within the Northern Territory. The hospital is on Rocklands Drive, Tiwi, on the northern side of Darwin. As you approach Casuarina, blue signs give directions to the hospital, but it is better to familiarise yourself with the Hospital's location before you may need to find it. Darwin Private hospital is situated across the road. Extensive delays may occur for treatment of anything other than very serious illness or trauma injuries at the Accident and emergency section of Royal Darwin Hospital. Be prepared for a long wait, especially on weekends.
Drink plenty of water; at least 1 litre of water for every hour of walking in very warm weather. Ensure you have an adequate fitness level for the bushwalk you plan to undertake.
Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day or walking alone, register with the overnight bushwalking register if you plan an extended walk. Carry a map of the area you're walking/camping in and know how to read it, tell someone your plan and when you expect to return. Carry a mobile telephone if in a potential coverage area but do not expect coverage anywhere other than very built up areas with good line of sight to a transponder tower. Under no circumstances should you rely on mobile telephony for essential communications unless within the city area. Ensure you are using a mobile telephone service that provides usable coverage in the Northern Territory. Not all of the service providers give even faintly adequate coverage throughout the Darwin area and much less so outside the immediate city and suburban area. Please see the Driving in Australia article for some useful tips that apply to travelling by road in the Northern Territory. Even locations very nearby to the city can present serious challenges and concerns unless properly skilled and prepared for the conditions. The effects of hot weather and exhaustion can set in quickly if you encounter difficulties. Even if you are successful in raising an alarm for assistance it may still be a long wait before it can arrive.
Malaria does not exist in or around Darwin and during the peak of the dry season (the preferred travelling season) Mosquitoes are still present though in areas where there is water. Bring a DEET based repellent, as this will also work on sandflys. Risks arising from Dengue fever should be considered.
The dreaded Box Jellyfish is a potentially deadly beach hazard between the months of October and May, but less so during the peak travel season. When swimming at local beaches, even in the 'safe' season of June to September, bring vinegar and pour it over the wound if stung. Transport to hospital is a must as the venom of the Box Jellyfish can be deadly - remember CPR.
Crocodiles are very common in waterways, but are only occasionally found on public beaches. The local newspaper loves a good crocodile story. If a crocodile is nearby to a public place it will often feature in the local media.
Never camp near the water's edge.
There are safe swimming areas in and around Darwin, but caution should always be practiced- if you are even the slightest bit unsure about an area do not swim. A 6 m crocodile can lie completely invisible for more than 2h in less than 1 m (3 ft) of water, so unless an area has been deemed safe by the local wildlife management, you'd be best to leave it alone. A check with the NT Parks and Wildlife Service will reveal which parks are open, and which are open with swimming prohibited.
Snakes inhabit most areas of the Territory, so be cautious when walking through long grass
Many hotels, motels and backpacker lodges have Internet access with special deals for guests. Some accommodation providers have free internet for guests.
Local roadhouses increasingly offer internet kiosks. Darwin libraries offer Internet access terminals for $3 per half hour for visitors, and there are variety of Internet cafes around the city.
Free Wi-Fi is available at Darwin Airport, Smith Street Mall, CBD library, Casuarina Shopping Centre as well as McDonalds restaurants (in the CBD, Stuart Park, and Bagot Road near the Airport).
Darwin is the gateway to the rest of the Northern Territory. It provides a base for day trips to explore the 'Top End' of Australia.
- Kakadu National Park is the second largest national park in Australia. It contains one of the highest concentrated areas of aboriginal rock art sites in the world, the most famous being at Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr.
- Katherine is where the outback meets the tropics. Situated about 300 km south of Darwin. The township is situated on the banks of the Katherine River, which flows down from the world-renowned Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk National Park). There are incredibly diverse landscapes and unique ecosystems set the scene for outback adventure activities like fishing, canoeing, bushwalking, birdwatching, camping and four-wheel driving.
- Litchfield National Park is a 1,500 km² park situated an hour-and-a-half's drive from Darwin. The Park includes a lot of the Tabletop Range, which is a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs. Stay for the day or for the more adventurous stay for two or three days. The monsoon season lasts from October to May, the rest of the year is a good time to visit as the waterfalls flow more gently, making the waterholes perfect spots for a cool dip. Main attractions include permanent spring fed waterfalls (Florence, Tolmer and Wangi), cascades at Buley Rockhole, magnetic termite mounds, and a wildlife cruise along the majestic Reynolds River.
- Tiwi Islands are a small archipelago 100 km north of Darwin, famous for Aboriginal culture and art. Only a 20min flight away, but only accessible via organized tour.
|Routes through Darwin|
|END ←||N S||→ Katherine, Tennant Creek → Alice Springs|
|END ←||N S||→ Katherine|