Darwin Australia Vacations

Darwin Weather (When to Visit)

Best Darwin Area Beaches

Mindil Beach, Darwin Australia, Australia beaches, Darwin beaches, things to do in Darwin, best hotels in Darwin, best bars in Darwin, Darwin area attractions, best beaches in AustraliaMindil Beach 

Mindil Beach is one of Australia’s best beaches. Many visitors are surprised to find such a pretty tropical beach so close to a regional capital city. Some locals swim at Mindil during the dry season, but the possible threat of crocodiles and jellyfish makes this unwise for visitors to try. Better swimming is over at at Casuarina, which is patrolled by surf life savers, or alternatively at the Wave Lagoon water park and the free Leanyer Recreation Park. Still, at any time of day, a walk along the splendid Mindil Beach is not to be missed.

Cossies Beach, Darwin Australia, Australia beaches, Darwin beaches, things to do in Darwin, best hotels in Darwin, best bars in Darwin, Darwin area attractions, best beaches in AustraliaCossies Beach

Located on the isolated Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cossies Beach was named the best beach in Australia in 2017.  Cossies Beach is perfect in every way: azure and crystal clear waters, swaying palm trees, superb snorkeling just off its shore, and white sandy shores.

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Wagait Beach, Darwin Australia, Australia beaches, Darwin beaches, things to do in Darwin, best hotels in Darwin, best bars in Darwin, Darwin area attractions, best beaches in AustraliaWagait Beach

The dog-friendly and unspoiled Wagait Beach stretches for two kilometers (1.2 miles). Here you’ll find WWII gun emplacements, and spot dolphins, turtles, and manta rays from the shoreline.

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East Woody Beach, Darwin Australia, Australia beaches, Darwin beaches, things to do in Darwin, best hotels in Darwin, best bars in Darwin, Darwin area attractions, best beaches in AustraliaEast Woody Beach

East Woody Beach has a large stretch of white sandy beach, azure waters, open forest, inland waterways, and spectacular sunsets. Swimming is not recommended at Galaru, due to saltwater crocodiles and box jellyfish.

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Darwin-Waterfront-Precinct, Darwin Australia, Australia beaches, Darwin beaches, things to do in Darwin, best hotels in Darwin, best bars in Darwin, Darwin area attractions, best beaches in AustraliaDarwin Waterfront Precinct

This saltwater recreational lagoon is protected from jellyfish by stinger nets and regular monitoring by local lifeguards. The lagoon has a sandy shore, so you wouldn’t be remiss to think you’re swimming in a calm tropical beach. The Waterfront Precinct is also home to a Wave Lagoon, which has an entrance fee but is a great family-friendly attraction in Darwin.

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Best Darwin Tours & Activities

Explore the Northern Territory’s forests and wetlands on a half-day air and boat adventure from Darwin. Fly to Sweets Lagoon by floatplane, and after a water landing, enjoy a cruise and barbecue breakfast or lunch. Ride an airboat through rainforest to spot saltwater crocodiles and other wildlife before a floatplane return. Choice of departure times, with central hotel pickup and drop-off included.  Learn more about the Outback Floatplane & Airboat Tour.

See an abundance of birds, crocodiles and other wildlife on this day trip from Darwin with a 2.5-hour Corroboree Billabong cruise. You'll board a shaded, open-sided boat for optimal wildlife viewing along the Mary River Wetlands, home to the largest concentration of saltwater crocs as well as 30 species of birds. Hear commentary from your guide throughout the full-day tour, which includes an informative stop at Window on the Wetlands Visitor Centre as well as lunch and round-trip hotel transport.  Learn more about the 1 Day Corroboree Billabong Wetland Experience.

Ensure you get the best sunset vista by heading out onto the water on this cruise across Darwin Harbour. Aboard a large, ocean-going catamaran with plenty of deck space, sit under the sails or in the air-conditioned salon and toast the setting sun with a glass of sparkling wine before enjoying a tapas/barbecue dinner while soaking up the views—if you wish, you can bring your own drinks and keep them chilled in the on board coolers.  Learn more about the 3-Hour Cruise.

Darwin Sunset Cruise with Optional Buffet Dinner

Enjoy a spectacular northern Australian sunset over Darwin Harbour during a 2.5-hour sunset cruise with an optional dinner. Learn about Darwin's history and landmarks from your captain, and get the chance to see batfish and other marine critters. Be sure to bring your camera to capture fantastic photo ops. Your relaxing cruise includes a complimentary drink and gourmet snacks, and the option to upgrade to a 3-course buffet dinner.  Learn more about the Darwin Sunset Cruise.

Enjoy a history tour from a unique angle: the seat of a World War II truck. The vehicle sets the scene for many of the places you’ll drive past and the stories your guide will tell you. See important wartime sites and get the chance to visit a military museum (extra cost). An ideal tour for history buffs and travelers curious to learn more about Darwin.  Learn more about the Darwin History & Wartime Experience Tour.

Best Darwin Restaurants

Beneath an old elevated house by the sea, Char Restaurant is where Darwin’s power brokers dine. The steak-and-seafood-focused menu includes the standout numus of pickled local fish and scallops with lime and coconut cream (a popular dish in the Northern Territory). Wonderful little sides and an extensive wine list seal the deal.  Telephone:  08 8981 4544  Web:  Char Restaurant.

Pretty as a picture with its striped wallpaper and ornate mirrors, The Pearl is worth seeking out for elegant cocktails and Frenchified Australian food. À la carte and prix fixe menus offer the likes of trout rillettes and lobster tortellini with scallops on cauliflower purée.    Telephone:  04 2372 5885  Web:  The Pearl Darwin.

Pee Wee’s offers a special dining experience: tables at the water’s edge facing the lights of the city and dishes such as kangaroo carpaccio and nut-crusted wild-caught barramundi. Time your booking to catch the sun setting over the sea – at about 6.30pm to 7pm depending on the season.   Telephone:  08 8981 6868  Web:  Pee Wee's at the Point.

Darwin’s first tapas restaurant, Moorish Café still has it. There’s always a tagine of the day, as well as 30-plus excellent tapas dishes. Sample grilled local eggplant with pomegranate and yoghurt; Berber-spiced kangaroo with tomato jam; or pumpkin and fetta salad with basil and pine nuts.   Telephone:  08 8981 0010  Web:  Moorish Cafe.

Chow is a ton of fun. Choose between the air-conditioned dining room or the palm-fringed outdoor space and order up a taste of tropical Asia: maybe Vietnamese pho, Malaysian laksa, chilli-salt chicken wings or a dish to share. After dinner, enjoy a cocktail, a whole fresh coconut or an icy, fruity slushie.   Telephone:  08 8941 7625  Web:  Chow.

Best Darwin Nightlife

While no longer as hot as it once was, Viva La Vida is still a popular haunt for city workers on a Friday night, who throw back jugs of sangria and craft beers on the outdoor terrace. Despite this being the only real wine bar in town, there are only a handful of non-Australian bottles on the extensive menu and barely any by the glass. That said, a gin cocktail and a mezze platter served by the very efficient staff is a pleasant way to pass an evening in town. On Friday nights there is live blues jazz and Motown tunes, while on Saturday night there's a house DJ from 9pm.    Telephone: 08 8942 0544  Web:  Viva La Vida.

There’s no better place in Darwin for a sun downer than this laid-back beach bar, which is also the club house of the Darwin water-skiing association. Despite its million dollar sunset views, it’s little more than some plastic chairs and tables dotted among the palm trees, which is how us locals like it. Don't leave as soon as the sun goes down. Grab another cold beer and watch the real magic in the sky happen. There’s live music on Friday and Sunday afternoons and standard pub grub, including the terrifyingly tall Bad Boy Burger stuffed with beef, chicken, bacon and egg.   Telephone:  08 8981 6630  Web:  The Darwin Ski Club.

At the slightly more low-key parliamentary end of the street you’ll find Deck Bar, with its eponymous outdoor area shaded by large trees. It’s a nice spot to kick back with a couple of drinks, and it always feels a lot less intense than the pubs down the road. Owned by the same mob who run Chow, the food is also tasty – particularly the Malaysian curry laksa, which goes down well with one of the 80 plus varieties of beer. Brunch is served here on weekends, too.  Telephone:  08 8942 3001  Web:  The Deck Bar.

The pub promises a great outback experience, and to a certain extent that’s what you’re going to get. Along with the cold, cold beer and the decent pub grub, there’s a range of travelling entertainers that will make you cringe or guffaw, depending on the night. Chilli is the resident showman and he keeps the grey nomads happy with stories from the early days of the Territory. Memorabilia adorns the walls, from Irish football jerseys to bras.   Telephone:  08 8975 9927  Web:  Daly Waters Pub.

Monte’s is a really lively, laid-back drinking hole with a fantastic beer garden that is beautifully lit up at night, and an interior with the feel of a circus. It attracts everyone from backpackers to public servants who favor the eclectic menu and boutique beers on tap, including Western Australia’s Little Creatures, Vale Ale and Hills Cider. Kids will be kept amused by the giant rocking horse and swings. If you are sitting outside and planning on eating later in the night, make sure to sit at one of the designated non-smoking tables or you’ll end up losing you seat.  Telephone: 08 8952 4336  Web:  Monte's Lounge.

Best Darwin Hotels

Elsey on Parap


Elsey on Parap Serviced Apartments are located 5 minutes from Darwin CBD. Situated directly opposite the Parap Village Precinct, Elsey on Parap has 28 one and two bedroom Executive Apartments. All apartments have superior features, modern appliances and stylish decor. Secure under cover car parking, Foxtel and WIFI are complimentary.

Argus Apartments Darwin


Argus Apartments Darwin offers modern self-contained apartments in the heart of Darwin city center. Facilities include a swimming pool, spa pool and fitness center. Free WiFi is provided.

Darwin Waterfront Suites


Conveniently located in Darwin, Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. The property offers impeccable service and all the essential amenities to invigorate travelers. The ambiance of Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites is reflected in every guestroom with a desk, air conditioning, LCD/plasma screen TV, refrigerator and microwave. Recreational facilities available at the hotel include an outdoor pool and fitness center.

Kakadu @ The Kube


Kakadu @ the Kube (Darwin City) in Darwin offers accommodation with free WiFi, a 4-minute walk from Crocosaurus Cove. The Darwin Entertainment Center is within 600 meters of the apartment.  This air-conditioned apartment has 3 bedrooms, a Fitness centre flat-screen TV, and a kitchen with a dishwasher. The apartment also features washing machine and a bathroom with a shower.

Crocs on Cavenagh


Crocs on Cavenagh has self-catering accommodations with a balcony and free WiFi. The property is a 3-minute walk from Crocosaurus Cove and 1,500 feet from Darwin Entertainment Center.  Featuring city views, the apartment features a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, a seating area, a desk and 2 bathrooms. There's a dining area and a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher.  Non-stop assistance is available at the reception.  The property has a fitness center.

28 Comments

  1. stefanie taylor

    I lived in Oz as a kid, but never visited Darwin. Australia is so big that often if you live there you don’t ever see it all, not like England where I am now; you can get from one end to the other in about 5 hours I reckon haha.

    I love the fact that it had Aboriginal influences as I really love their artwork; what amazing people they are and it’s great to look back through their history.

    Thanks for warning us about ‘Tropo Crazy’, I think we need to stear clear of that! I love the sound of the rainy season myself 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, you are due for a visit to Darwin than Stefanie! The rain doesn’t bother me either. I live in the sunshine state, so I don’t need it to be 24/7 sunny on vacation, as long as I have plenty to do. Thanks for stopping by Darwin Australia Vacations.

      Reply
  2. Nathalie

    The more I learn about the different places in Australia, the more clear it becomes that I definately need to go there as soon as possible!I really miss nature and would check out Berry Springs Nature Park first and finish my trip by wandering around Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed Nathalie! Yes, Australia is one of those bucket list items that any beach or nature lover will enjoy for a vacation. I hope you can vacation to wonderful Australia soon! Please let me know if you need any other information!

      Reply
  3. wiebren

    Darwin is definitely on my list of places to see. In Australia everyone plans to do the ‘big lap’ which is to drive right around the country. Thank you for this well researched article. Are the night markets all year round or only in the dry season?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I believe the night markets are only during the dry season. Which does make a lot of sense. Oh, to do the big lap! How fun that would be. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  4. Gillian

    Wow! I feel like I have a beautiful tour after reading your article. What a beautiful way to end a day at Nitghtcliff watching the sunset and the market at Mindil beach. It makes me wanna have my beach vacation asap:)

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Everyone needs their beach vacation, that is for sure. And you are right about watching the sunset at Nightcliff and the Mindil Market. Great way to spend the evening in Darwin for sure! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  5. thomas

    Once again, such a solid review. Darwin seems like an awesome place to travel, I’m gonna have to take my family to Australia in the coming years. I really want to take the famous train ride from Darwin to Sydney. And although I really want to see the crocodile park, I’d have to convince my wife that it’s safe for the children 🙂 Any ideas on how to do that? haha

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, I don’t know how to convince your wife LOL! I think though, if she saw the place and talked with the locals, she would get a better feel that it really is a safe place. You will love Darwin! Thanks for visiting Darwin Australia Vacations.

      Reply
  6. John

    Leahrae,
    Australia has been on my bucket list since my ticket their got canceled the first time. I need to stop talking about it and just get on a plane and go. How far is it to Sydney from Darwin, this is where I would have to fly into the country at.
    I like the list of things to do in Darwin. I think Darwin would be a great train ride to take if it is not too long.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The flight from Sydney to Darwin is going to be about a 4 1/2 hour flight, not too bad. The train will take you about 3 days, with all the connections they make. It is not a straight thru train. If you have the extra time, you will enjoy the scenery, otherwise it will eat up part of your vacation time.

      Reply
  7. Mick Krug

    I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. Darwin looks like it has just about everything you would want in a vacation trip. The crocs are a must see once you are there. You’ve provided some great information on your website. The video was excellent.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Mick, yes when in Australia you have to see the crocs for sure. Darwin is an amazing place, and so beautiful. I hope you can vacation there soon. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  8. Alex

    Before reading your article, I never thought too much of Australia. I always thought it would be a dry, hot, and rather miserable place. I was wrong! Darwin, Australia sounds incredible. As a national park buff, Kakadu and Litchfield appeal to me. I cannot wait to strap on my boots and go on a good hike.

    I also have a question. I really like the idea of swimming with a saltwater crocodile. It gets my heart racing. When you are in the cage, do they let you throw out some food for the crocs to eat? I think the experience would be a lot more interesting with them munching on something.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Darwin is a hikers paradise Alex, and you would really love to vacation here. No, unfortunately the cage is sealed and you cannot feed the crocs. I agree, that it would be a great adrenaline rush to do it! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am glad you enjoyed reading Darwin Australia Vacations.

      Reply
  9. Daniella

    Darwin is the perfect place for our next holiday. My son has always dreamed of watching crocodiles from a cage. I will show him this article; I know he is going to get very excited about this trip. Just a question. Isn’t a bit dangerous to go in this cage? I mean, is it safe? It’s quite frightening. Also, is it for everyone? Can small children participate?

    Sorry for all these questions, but the family include young kids too:)

    Thank you very much!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is completely safe to do the cage and see the crocs. It can be for anyone who is able to swim as you will also be in water. So, I am thinking that smaller kids might not be able to participate in this. I know my son would love to do this cage dive. Heck, it is exciting! Thanks for reading about Darwin Australia Vacations.

      Reply
  10. Montana

    Your site has such great information!
    This place also interests me – especially the Crocodiles!
    Which would you recommend for families between Darwin and Tasmania?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Boy, they are both so different, yet both great for families. So, it would really be a personal preference for you. I would tend to lean towards Tasmania though…but for no specific reason 🙂 Just my personal preference.

      Reply
  11. Phil

    Hi – thanks for the review on Darwin.
    Approximately how large is darwin across and how long walking would it take you to get to all of the sites in the tour guides?
    How close is Berry Springs to Darwin? is it walkable or would you be able to use public transport to get there? How many locals go to Berry Springs daily? does it get crowded on the weekend?
    The sunset harbour cruise sounds idyllic, must look that up when i get there.
    It does sound like an amazing place to visit.
    Thanks
    Phil

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hmmm, I am going to try and answer most of your questions, as some I really don’t know the answer to…I will admit that! Darwin is spread out at 1221 square miles. However, you can walk thru all of the main part of town where the restaurants, shops and hotels are easily. Boy, getting to all the suggestions is really something I cannot gauge. Really depends on mode of transportation, how long you want to spend there, that sort of thing. Berry Springs can get crowded on the weekend. I would arrive early. I cannot really say how many locals go to Berry Springs. I imagine that a lot of tourists frequent it. Thanks for all the great questions and for visiting Darwin Australia Vacations.

      Reply
  12. Rob

    Leahrae, you have to stop teasing me when it comes vacations like this. Australia is the ONE place I’ve always want to see! It’s so beautiful there. I wish I could go right now. It is on my bucket list for sure.I have two dilemmas. The first one is what time of the year to go and for how long. The other is being on a plane for that long. Do you know how long it is? But it won’t stop me from getting there! Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, it really depends on where you are flying from. For me, from Florida, it would be about 21 hours …. yikes … but then I have flown to the Canary Islands where it has taken just as long, and so worth it! I would definitely do at least two weeks there. Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  13. Sammy

    Hi Leahrae, I was looking for some information on the north of Australia when I found your article. It’s a real one-stop place for everything you need to know about that part of Australia.
    So far, I have only been to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, and everybody I met there said that I should definitely visit Darwin as well. So it’s on my list of must-see destinations.
    Now I have the idea of getting around just using public transport. I want to fly to Sydney and then continue north from there. You mentioned that there is a train connection. I can imagine it will take quite some time to get there but do you think it will be worthwhile? Is there great scenery?
    Also, I quite like the idea of getting around by bike within Darwin. Do you think it’s possible to visit Berry Springs Nature Park and Crocodylus Park by bike or is it too far away?
    I look forward to your reply.
    Sammy

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Sammy, The train would be very scenic and well worth it if you want to spend the time doing that. I would not ride a bike to Berry Springs, that will be a bit of a distance on a bike. Crocodylus Park can most definitely rode to by bike, as that will not be far at all, even if your hotel is on the beach (Crocodylus is more inland). I would take a taxi or other transportation to Berry Springs. I hope I answered your questions, and thank you for stopping by Darwin Australia Vacations.

      Reply
  14. Lane Onson

    Oh, you vixen. Australia is a place that I’d love to visit. I want to cruise over there, take a bit of a land vacation, and cruise back. I wanted to work over there ’cause Australia is 6 months ahead of America in the cuisine and I have a degree in Restaurant Management. I’m afraid of the wildlife, though.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I don’t really think you have to worry about the wildlife too much really. I do believe that they keep them crocs in check 🙂 Of course you will always want to be aware of your surroundings no matter where you are. What a wonderful thing to do, work and play in Australia! Thanks for stopping by and checking out Darwin Australia Vacations!

      Reply

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