Darwin Australia, the capital city of the Northern Territory is not only the gateway to the famous Kakadu National Park, it is a former frontier post linking those of us “down under” with the rest of the world.
As an idea for a holiday destination, Darwin quickly turns to conversation about giant mosquitoes, flies, man eating crocodiles, venomous snakes and high humidity.
But for those who never ever go – you’ll never ever know!
A holiday in Darwin Australia is what I best describe as the perfect blend between Broome and Bali.
I am just kicking myself I did not go years ago!
The history of Darwin Australia
Darwin Australia has a significant history not only for indigenous Australians but also for European migrants.
Alongside many other towns and communities in Northern Australia, Darwin was bombed extensively during World War II.
After rebuilding itself, Darwin Australia was again devastated. This time in 1974 by Cyclone Tracey.
These two major events as well as Darwin’s unique landscape, flora and fauna open the door to some interesting things to see and do around this city.
10 great things to do when you visit Darwin
1. Learn and explore about Indigenous Australia
Darwin Australia has the largest population of indigenous Australians than any other capital city.
The city has several places where you can learn about indigenous art and culture including the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
We spent a few hours at MAGNT – the home of the annual Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards .
With an abundance of dot paintings, carvings, and ceramics – each telling a unique story often of community, spirituality or land – the museum is a great place to submerge yourself in indigenous culture.
2. See one of Australia’s biggest Crocs at the Darwin National Museum
Sweetheart, a large male Saltwater Crocodile, is a legendary part of Northern Territory history.
In the 1970s, Sweetheart gained notoriety for attacking dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot.
On the 19th of July 1979, Sweetheart was caught in a trap and anaesthetised, but in the attempt to haul his considerable bulk ashore, the animal became entangled with a sunken log and drowned. The body was presented to MAGNT, where the taxidermist prepared Sweetheart, held in the museum’s collection.
He (or she) measures 5.1 metres in length.
3. Go back in time and discover what Darwin was like under attack at the War Museum
This trip out to East Point to the Darwin Military Museum is well worth the drive to learn all about Darwin’s role in World War 2 and its attack from the Japanese.
The museum has a fascinating short film that uses actual footage from the attacks to depict the bombing as it happened over 75 years ago as well as first hand accounts of the men and women who were there to witness them.
The film can be a bit scary for younger children however; extremely informative for older primary school students.
At the museum there is an abundance of military vehicles, cannons, guns, uniforms and war artefacts to explore.
4. Try a Laksa at the Mindel Beach Markets
During the dry season, the Mindel Beach Markets operate every Sunday and Thursday from 4pm to 9pm.
Food lovers will be happy with over 60 food trucks serving a range of international cuisine from Laksa to curry to Mexican to Kangaroo.
Enjoy a sunset picnic on the beach, be entertained by the didgeridoo players or browse the many art and craft stalls.
5. Sip on a cocktail at the classy Peewees at the Point
Arguably one of Darwin’s most upmarket restaurants, Peewees on the Point is a must.
Laze back in a chair overlooking the bay, under the leafy canopy of one of the many trees while sipping on a cocktail of your choice.
Originally the restaurant was built on a site called Pee Wee’s Camp which was established in 1911 when East Point was developed to protect Port Darwin against naval attacks.
With nearly four acres of absolute water frontage in the natural ambience of East Point Reserve, Peewees on the Point is a definite on your Darwin bucket list.
6. Shop til you drop at the Parap Markets
Operating every Saturday morning in the suburb of Parap is the diverse gathering of stallholders who set up under shady trees, awnings and umbrellas to sell their wares.
We stumbled across the markets on the search of good cafe (we googled good coffee Darwin and ended up at the Laneway Cafe) to be impressed by the quality of local arts, crafts and produce of a market in Darwin.
7. Shower under a waterfall in Litchfield National Park
Approximately 1.5 hours out of Darwin, Litchfield National Park is a must.
Discover misty waterfalls and lush waterholes, hit the trails in a 4WD, or take it nice and slow and wander through the park on foot.
We stayed overnight in Litchfield but based on the price of the accommodation and the quality of the stay, I would recommend the drive back to Darwin at the end of the day. (Do remember I am a princess so cobwebs, spiders, stained linen, broken sofas, dust and dirt don’t impress me at $350 per night)!
Be croc wise and enjoy the waterholes including Florence Falls, Buley Rockhole and Wangi Falls.
Out of the three, I enjoyed Wangi Falls the most as the others got a bit crowded with lots of tourists and their pool noodles!
8. Have a pie at Humpty Doo
Who would have thought a name of a town could be Humpty Doo?!
Approximate 40 minutes out of Darwin on route to Kakadu, the Humpty Doo bakery is amazing.
A little bit of artisan in crocodile country – a stop here for morning tea or lunch is a must!
9. Hear what it was like to be in Darwin during the terrifying winds of Cyclone Tracey
It was a miracle fewer than 100 people died from a population of nearly 40,000 when Cyclone Tracy barrelled into Darwin on Christmas eve in 1974.
The Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory has a permanent exhibit which is so realistic it’s a bit frightening. It even includes a sealed room where you can hear a recording of the wind reaching speeds of 217 kilometres per hour before the anemometer was destroyed.
10. Go Wild and spot a croc at the Wildman Wildness Lodge
Wildman Wilderness Lodge, situated halfway between Darwin and Kakadu, allows you to voyage into Australia’s Top End for an immersive adventure.
Just two hours east of Darwin, on the fringe of Kakadu National Park, the lodge offers the ultimate in bush luxury.
Opting for an air conditioned villa versus a fan cooled canvas tent, our stay was extremely indulgent, providing the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot with one of our favourite Australian children’s brand – Oobi.
‘”Oobi in the Outback” was what we called our shoot featuring bright colours and light cotton dresses against the red desert, savannah woodlands and sandstone plateau surrounding the Wildman Lodge.
A place where the girls could feel magical in a land where dreaming is synonymous with the landscape.
The lodge offers the opportunity to take a billabong cruise to spot crocodiles, Jabiru and hundreds of bird species as well as walks through the bush to see termite mounds and wallaby.
With a magical infinity pool, a fire pit for night time roasting of marshmallows and a library to simply relax and lounge, staying at the Wildman Wilderness Lounge was definitely a highlight of our trip.
If you love Glamping.
If you too love the idea of glamping, you may want to read some of my other articles on our glamping experiences.
Eco Beach Resort in Broome;
Glamping in Rottnest Island;
Escape Nomade in Ubud Bali and;
Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping in the SW of Western Australia.
I would like to thank Alex and her Oobi team for the girls’ outfits. We just love Oobi and can’t recommend the brand more highly.
Luckily for us, Alex has started designing a tween range – so we have not out grown Oobi just yet.
Read the original blog here: https://littletravelprincess.com/10-reasons-you-need-to-visit-darwin-australia-down-under/
Full credit to Sonja and LittleTravelPrincess