Darwin is a much smaller city, with only about 125,000 people, far up in the Northern Territory. The climate is tropical, the buildings are modern, and the setting is unforgettable. A multicultural vibe is only natural seeing how this city is a hub between Australia and Asia, yet the small size takes this generally big city feature down to a manageable level. It is said that getting anywhere in Darwin will take only about 20 minutes.
Any traveler lucky enough to get the pleasure of visiting this secluded city (a cheap flight into the Darwin airport is suggested for time’s sake) has a number of activities to choose from. Here are a few of the must-see’s and must-do’s that should be considered.
Crocodylus Park & Zoo – The Crocodylus Park is a fantastic place in Darwin to get up-close and personal with some of the world’s biggest, and scariest, reptiles. Exhibits include Australia saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, American alligators, snakes, lizards, turtles and more. There’s even exhibits with water buffalo, tigers, lions, birds and monkeys to make the experience complete. Getting there by public transport is quick and easy, so be sure to add this one to your to-do list, and get there early in order to not miss feeding time.
Crocosaurus Cove – Since the Darwin Crocodile Farm is now closed for tourism visits, they have sent their beloved feature animals, including a very large albino crocodile, over to Crocosaurus Cove. Crocosaurus Cove is a very cool place where you can fish for crocs, swim with crocs (protected of course) and learn all about different reptiles up close. Feedings happen daily, along with many other cool presentations.
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Nature ParksHolmes Jungle Nature Park – The Holmes Jungle Nature Park deserves a visit by nature-loving people because it is just so lush and secluded. The 250 hectare park’s main purpose is to protect the monsoon forest in the area, but in doing so provides the perfect setting for picnics, bushwalking, bird watching and cycling for locals and tourists alike. The lovely little Palm Creek makes its way through the middle of the park if you like to hang around the relaxing sounds of water flowing, and there’s always the chance to get a glimpse of some interesting critters in the process.
Litchfield National Park – Litchfield National Park is famous for its tropical waterfalls, monsoon rainforests, magnetic termite mounds, and just overall beauty. The park is about 130 kilometers south of Darwin, but worth the day trip or two just to get a glimpse. In the park, you can swim in these wonderful waterfalls, but do be careful as crocodiles may be present!
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens – Darwin’s botanic gardens has a very interesting history, having been started 130 years ago in order to study the sustainability of certain plants and foods in the tropical north environment. The gardens today sits in 42 hectares of land just north of the CBD and make for a great place to just get away from it all while basking in the beauty of a variety of magnificent plant species.
Museums & Art
Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory – If you like museums, this one located in the Darwin suburb of Fannie Bay has over 30,000 items to take a gander at. Being the main museum for the Northern Territory, it features bits on Aboriginal art and culture, Asian and Pacific culture, as well as natural science exhibits. There’s even the famous 5.1 meter saltwater croc, Sweatheart, on display!
MarketsMindil Beach Sunset Markets – The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are a true cultural event in Darwin, featuring food, art, clothing, music and more – all in the evening glow. It just so happens that these markets were named the tastiest markets in all of Australia. The markets run every Thursday and Sunday from May to October and are perfect for locals and travelers that want to shop ’til they drop, or just relax at the beach while watching an amazing sunset.
Shopping & Dining
Wharf Precinct – The Wharf Precinct is home to excellent restaurants and bars, retail shops, harbor cruises, fishing, sightseeing and plenty of other sources of entertainment. If it is a fresh seafood meal you’re after, then the Wharf is the place to be. Many of the eateries and cafes are alfresco so you can bet you’ll be basking in the fresh sea breeze. The Wharf Precinct makes for a great evening when visiting Darwin.
EntertainmentDeckchair Cinema – The Deckchair Cinema is situated just near the Darwin Harbour and is run in the open air nightly from April to November. Run by the Darwin Film Society, the cinema features a range of movies that you wouldn’t get in a normal theater, along with the fact that you get to partake in the comfort of a deckchair! It’s a lovely way to spend the evening, and many people gather ahead of time for a picnic in order to get a true dinner and a movie experience underway.
Photo credits: 1 – yeowatzup; 2 – brewbooks; 3 and 4 – httpwwwflickrcomphotosopend; 5 – mikecogh