Darwin Beaches

Darwin is capital of the Northern Territory and gateway to Kakadu National Park, Australia’s largest. It’s known as a laid-back blend of frontier outpost and modern city. At its heart is the Smith Street pedestrian mall, notable for shops selling Aboriginal art and crafts, South Sea pearls, opals and diamonds. The liveliest part of the waterfront is reachable from the Central Business District via the Esplanade or an elevated walkway.  Enjoy Darwin beaches, their balm weather and eclectic food and culture at outdoor festivals, waterfront restaurants, tropical parklands and art precincts.  Get a taste of Darwin at Mindil Beach Markets, sail Darwin Harbor and trace the region’s dramatic history at museums. Darwin is gateway to Litchfield National Park, the Tiwi Islands, Kakadu and Arnhem Land as well as cross-continent journeys like the Ghan, Explorers Highway and Savannah Way.  Darwin Beaches are beautiful, some of which are right in the city. Sadly, most visitors are completely unaware of what they have to offer.  To start planning your Darwin beach vacation, << Click Here >> for our Darwin Australia Vacations guide.

Darwin Australia

City of Darwin

Casuarina Beach

Except for the very high spring tides, this beach is a wide expanse of white sand, a great place to walk the dog, go for a run or just enjoy the evening breeze and setting sun. It’s easy to find, simply drive along to the end of Trower Rd.  A section is set aside as a free beach and there are trails that allow Blo-Karting along the sand if you have a permit and stay in the designated area. At high tide the water washes half way up these sandstone cliffs.  Just remember that box jellyfish are present in these seas almost all year round, however June, July and August are considered safe for swimming. The occasional crocodile is spotted here too, so be watchful. Crocodile traps are set to remove them from the area, but there is always the chance one could be in the area.  The Darwin Surf Lifesaving Club is located just behind the beach, next to a picnic area with lots of green grass and shady trees. The picnic area has BBQ plates and play equipment for the kids, drinking fountains and showers to wash off the sand from the beach.  A bike track follows the coast from Nightcliff, over Rapid Creek and past the university to the cliff tops at Casuarina overlooking the beach.

Casuarina Beach, Darwin Australia

Casuarina Beach

 

Casuarina Free Beach

Casuarina Free Beach is between the main beach area and Sandy Creek where clothes are optional. It is quite easy to walk along the beach and never realize you have just walked into a Free Beach area.  Depending on the tides, the beach can be several hundred meters wide and there are no markers on the beach itself, as they simply would not survive the tides. The easiest way to find the Free Beach is to drive along the back of the beach and keep walking from the last car park. The nudist area begins about 200m past this point, which also has showers and toilets located just off the car park.  Sandy Creek separates Casuarina Beach and Lee Point Beach. If you walk until you reach Sandy Creek, you have walked through the Free Beach. Sandy Creek can be crossed at a low tide, but remember when the  tide comes in you might get cut off on the way back. There is also a bike track into the area, beginning at the Darwin Hospital and crossing Sandy Creek and the mangroves behind the beach to emerge at the back of the beach. This bike track also runs along the back of the beach for about 2.5k to the Lee Point Beach and picnic area.

 

Darwin City Beach

The Darwin City Beach is free to visit, safe, and only a five minute walk from the Smith Street Mall via the new walkway and glass lifts.Green grass, plenty of shade and safe swimming in a protected sandy beach area makes an attractive and relaxing area. A kiosk provides ice cream, drinks and snacks for swimmers and sun bathers or others just enjoying a walk.  The area is controlled by the Darwin Waterfront Corporation and no glass, private BBQ’s or alcohol is permitted. There is a reasonable amount of parking in nearby streets, or the multi-level car park in Kitchener Drive provides two hours free parking and more for a few dollars.

Darwin City Beach, Darwin Australia

Darwin City Beach

Fannie Bay Beach

Fannie Bay Beach is part of the East Point Reserve with BBQ facilities, playgrounds and white sands next to the man-made Lake Alexander. Although not a very large beach area, it is close to the city and usually has a 30-50m wide strip of white sand, except on the very high spring tides. To find the beach, simply follow the road past the Casino and Botanic Gardens along the coast to Fannie Bay. A wide grassy strip between the beach and the bike track is well provided with play equipment, garden tables and under-cover BBQ hotplates. It is a popular place for family outings, birthday parties and groups enjoying an outdoor get together. And the bike track, which continues on around East Point is always an attraction for runners and cyclists. There is plenty to do nearby too, with Lake Alexander only a stones throw inland behind the beach. The lake water is safe for swimming even during the Box jellyfish season, and is partitioned to allow kayaks and small boats in a separate area.

Fannie Bay Beach, Darwin Australia

Fannie Bay Beach

Mindil Beach

Mindil Beach is a beach located near the Darwin’s central business district. Mindil Beach holds the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, which runs during the Dry season (from May until October) of every year. These markets are popular with both the locals and tourists alike and can attract thousands of people.  The Mindil Beach Markets are held every Thursday and Sunday evening and one of Darwin’s biggest tourist attractions.  Few people realize that there is an excellent beach behind the markets. Unlike the markets, the beach is there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Swimming is almost perfect during the dry season — a water temperature that most visitors find ideal.

Mindil Beach, Darwin Australia

Mindil Beach

Vesteys Beach

On the northern side of Bullocky Point is Vesteys Beach, a gently curving 2.2 km long beach. It is home to the Darwin power boat, trailer boat and sailing clubs, and has numerous boats moored off the northern half of the beach, and two large boat ramps crossing the beach. The beach has a 100 m wide moderately steep high tide section, then 400 m wide tidal flats.  At one end of the beach is the Darwin Ski Club and the NT Museum (well worth a visit at any time). At the other are the Darwin Sailing Club and Darwin Trailer Boat Club. All three welcome visitors and all three offer a great place to have a meal while watching the sun set over Darwin Harbor.  Between the Ski Club and the clubs at the other end is Vesteys Lake Park. Vesteys Beach is even larger than Mindil.

Vesteys Beach, Darwin Australia

Vesteys Beach

Nightcliff Beach

A long footpath along the foreshore of Nightcliff is used for walking and cycling, particularly in the evenings after work. This is one of the most popular places for local people go to for a walk in the late afternoon or early morning. At low tide, it is also a popular spot for picnics on the rocks. At high tide, those rocks are submerged.  Along the footpath there is Nightcliff Jetty, Nightcliff Beach and Nightcliff Swimming Pool.  On Sundays, the Nightcliff Markets occur from 6am to 2pm. The stalls at the markets are mainly food and drinks but there is also craft and massage stalls. A live music band usually plays music on the stage in the middle of the markets.

Nightcliff Beach, Darwin Australia

Nightcliff Beach

 

 

 

 

 

27 Comments

  1. jennifer

    You’ve totally sold me on Fannie Bay Beach! When I visit Australia I don’t think I’ll be able to only visit that one though. They seem to offer all of their own unique things (except maybe I’ll avoid the Casuarina Free beach because of the nudity..lol). I just have to make sure I get there during the dry season. I’ll definitely end my trip at the Nightcliff beach..that sounds absolutely wonderful, and relaxing. What hotels do you recommend around the area of Fannie Bay?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for visiting Jennifer. No, I am not going to go to a beach with nudity either LOL. Yes, they are all unique in their own way, which just means you have to visit all of them to enjoy the whole area 🙂 Hands down, the hotel to stay at is going to be Shady Shores Beach Resort. It is a great hotel and those that stay here, absolutely love it! Thank you for reading about Darwin Beaches and visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
      1. Jennifer

        Shady Shores Beach Resort-got it! Thank you for the super quick reply:)

        Reply
        1. Leahrae (Post author)

          You are very welcome Jennifer! 🙂

          Reply
  2. kalis

    I loved your article on Darwin Beaches. I am planning a trip to Australia, and just looking at the different areas to see where I want to stay for accommodations. Are Darwin beaches safe to swim? And what is the best month to visit those beaches? I don’t like too hot weather.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Kalis and thank you for visiting Darwin Beaches. The beaches are fairly safe during the Dry season. While Casuarina beach has plenty of sand it is fairly shallow and to walk out to get into water above your knee caps can be a far distance at low tides. There is a Life Saving club here also and BBQ facilities. Mindil beach by the casino is also popular but there is limited shade. Further out there is also Lee Point. These are going to be the beaches to go to. The dry season is the best time for travel to Darwin. It lasts from April/May until September/October and brings beautiful weather in Darwin with clear blue skies, balmy nights and warm days. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  3. Moni

    wow! I had no idea Darwin had so much to offer. The white sandy beaches look amazing and I particularly like Darwin City beach and Mindil beach.

    My ideal holiday is beach and nature holiday, I feel a trip coming along to Darwin for the beaches and the Litchfield National Park for the nature! 🙂

    Thank you for a great article… I really enjoy visiting your site. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you have enjoyed reading Moni and visiting BeachTravelDestinaitons.com. Mindil Beach is definitely a favorite of mine, and is pretty popular with the tourists. I think that you will absolutely love Darwin and the beaches here. If you need any more information, please let me know.

      Reply
  4. Jose

    I had not considered another Australia destination other than Sydney. Darwin looks to be just as wonderful of a location as any other area in Australia. I have just expanded what I want to experience when I vacation. When I am ready to start planning, I will be back. So much great information! I will definitely bookmark this site and make sure I have plenty of time when I visit it again, as there is so much great information on here!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Darwin does get overlooked and a lot of people have probably not heard of it. That is what makes it such a great beach destination. You won’t find the crowds here like you would at other Australia locations. Thanks for taking the time to leave me comments and for visiting Darwin Beaches.

      Reply
  5. Kevin

    I have always wanted to go to Australia. Somehow I found your site, and I must say, that it is a wonderful site with loads of information! You have made it difficult for me to decide on where to go now. I had my sights set on Brisbane, but after reading about Darwin I am wanting to vacation there! The beaches look amazing, and I am especially liking Mindil Beach! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Kevin for visiting Darwin Beaches, and I am glad you enjoyed! I think you can’t go wrong anywhere you go in Australia. They have wonderful beaches and of course beautiful weather. Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Again, thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  6. Dira

    I am very impressed with these beaches. It appears that even going to the beach can become an adventure in Darwin. Darwin City Beach and Mindil Beach are the most interesting to me, especially Mindil Beach. I would love to see the Sunset Markets.
    I would have never though that Australia would have such beautiful beaches. It’s a destination that I will add to my wish list. Thank you so much for the detailed information.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Dira, yes Australia is beautiful with all it’s wonderful beaches….and they do have a lot! I agree that Mindil Beach is especially wonderful. Please let me know when you are ready to plan a trip, I would be happy to help you get the best airfare and hotel rates!

      Reply
  7. Racheal

    The city is so pretty at night. Nightcliff beach sounds amazing and if I every make it to Australia, I will be sure to visit. I love live music so that sounds like so much fun. All of these places sound like they are kid friendly so that’s a plus. You mentioned box jellyfish season. When is that?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There is a higher risk between October and May which does seem like a long time. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  8. Alec Terry

    Wow Darwin looks absolutely incredible. I have always wanted to go to Australia and will go there very soon. I had always heard of places like Sydney and Perth but now I have to add the city of Darwin to my list!

    The place really does look incredible, and so laid back too. The atmosphere you describe reminds me a lot of Folly Beach, South Carolina where I often went on vacation growing up.

    Great post! Looking forward to reading more form you soon!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, incredible indeed! Thank you for the compliments!

      Reply
  9. Sherry Venegas

    I wonder if Airlines to Australia favor wide body jets with more room for legs and walking around. From the U.S. the flight seems it might be grueling. The beaches I read about here do look like they would be wonderful to see and the cities sound vibrant and interesting with local art. The reviews are excellent resources for traveling and deciding where to visit on the coasts of Australia.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great! The Gold Coast is probably undoubtedly the best!

      Reply
  10. Sherry Venegas

    I wonder if Airlines to Australia favor wide body jets with more room for legs and walking around. From the U.S. the flight seems it might be grueling. The beaches I read about here do look like they would be wonderful to see and the cities sound vibrant and interesting with local art. The reviews are excellent resources for traveling and deciding where to visit on the coasts of Australia.

    Reply
  11. ruthchicago

    I love beach vacations more than any other type. I also like to travel to different countries to checkout their beach scenes. Your beaches in Australia look absolutely beautiful! Based on your descriptions, I can already see myself there…sipping a lovely pina colada and just unplugging from my everyday life. Thanks for giving me an excellent idea for my next vacation!

    Ruth

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome ! I love beach vacations myself 🙂

      Reply
  12. James

    Wow, Darwin is filled with so many things to do! One of my favorite hobbies is collecting sunset pictures from beaches around the world. After reading your post, I put Darwin on my bucket list.

    I think I might have to try a visit to Crocosaurus Cove. Getting in a tank to feed an 800+ lb croc and have it be right next to me sounds intense!

    Another past time of mine is trying the food and drinks of different cultures. Their food looked delicious in the video. Darwin is definitely on my list of places to go see 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  13. Jeanette

    Hi Leahrae,

    Oh wow, Darwin Australia sounds amazing! I just started talking to someone that is from Australia. He asked when I was going to come to Australia. I just laughed, I would love to go as I’ve never done any traveling outside of the US. That’s one thing I need to do is travel more. Darwin beaches sound fantastic! I would definitely make this one of the places I visit. Thank you for this wonderful article! Very nice job!

    Sincerely,
    Jeanette

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You’re welcome and thank you!

      Reply

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