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16 sensational things to do in Darwin, Australia

Mindil Beach markets

Thanks to its melting pot of cultures, tropical weather and proximity to South East Asia, Darwin is home to a vibrant and bustling market culture. And while there are many weekend morning markets to pick from, nothing says Darwin quite like a Thursday or Sunday evening at the iconic Mindil Beach Sunset Market! Set on a stretch of parkland behind the beach, you’ll find hundreds of locals catching up and enjoying international food, endless stalls and top-notch entertainment. The best bit? Mindil Beach is BYO, so once you’ve picked up some delicious delicacies, grab yourself a spot on the sand and relax in front of a famous Top End sunset.

Swim in The Wave Lagoon

Darwin may be surrounded by beautiful beaches, but in the tropics, ocean swimming means two things – crocodiles and stingers. For those wanting a dip without risking a limb, Darwin’s Wave Lagoon is the perfect place to refresh after a day exploring the city. Right on the waterfront in Darwin’s CBD, The Wave Lagoon covers 4000 square metres and includes a shallow area for kids to play. From a gentle swell to 1.2 metre high waves, there really is something for everyone, including boogie board and tube hire, sun lounging chairs, and numerous cafes and bars.

Feed crocodiles on a Spectacular Jumping Croc Cruise

There’s nothing more awesome than seeing a 6-ft Australian Saltwater Croc launch itself out of the water to snatch his lunch! 

And for over 30 years, that’s exactly what the team at Spectacular Jumping Croc Cruises have been taking guests to see on their famous Adelaide River cruises, less than an hour from Darwin’s CBD. From the safety of your boat, watch as your experienced guide encourages the crocs to use their natural hunting technique and jump for their prey. But don’t get too comfy – there’s no perspex here! You’ll be up close and personal with these magnificent creatures during the feeding, as they literally jump for joy to grab their tasty feast!

Get a taste of the outback at the Noonemah Rodeo

Considered one of the best rodeos in the country, Darwin’s Noonemah Rodeo is an outback experience like no other. Jam packed with action including bull riding, freestyle motocross, burn out competitions, saddle broncs, barrel racing and mechanical bulls, Noonemah Rodeo is as authentic a jack or jillaroo experience that you can get. Once you’re ready to hang up your boots for the night, either jump on a free bus back into town or set up with the cowboys and girls in the overnight rodeo car-park camp.

Visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT

The Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNA) is a world-renowned cultural and scientific space that’s home to an impressive collection of NT artefacts and touring exhibitions. Perfect for curious minds of all ages, an afternoon at MAGNA will immerse you in local Aboriginal culture, the natural environment and Darwin’s rich history including Cyclone Tracey and the Bombing of Darwin.

Discover the natural beauty of Litchfield National Park

No Top End holiday is complete without a visit to Litchfield National Park. The perfect day trip from Darwin, Litchfield is loved by locals for it’s impressive hiking, 4WD tracks, huge termite mounds and swimmable water holes that are as picturesque as they are refreshing! Camping overnight is a popular choice, otherwise jump on a tour bus from Darwin’s CBD for a jam-packed day checking out the park’s best spots.

Watch a thunderstorm roll in from the Casino Bar

While tourists tend to visit Darwin during the Dry Season, if you find yourself in the NT during the Big Wet from October to May, you’re still guaranteed to have an awesome time if you’re prepared to live like a local. Do as they do and spend your evenings at Darwin’s waterfront bars and restaurants watching thunderstorms roll in from the ocean. A local favourite is the Mindil Beach Casino for it’s epic waterfront location with plenty of bars and dinner options to choose from. Don’t forget your camera! Darwin’s tropical climate produces some of the most impressive and dramatic thunderstorms in the world. 

Go fishing for Barramundi

Barramundi is the NT’s most famous fish and it’s easy to see why. Perfectly delicious and a whole lot of fun to catch, wrangling in a barra is what fisherman dreams are made of. Even if you have no experience in sport fishing, Darwin has a fishing safari tour to meet your needs. Whether it’s a few hours out amongst the mangroves or a few nights away with your own expert angling guide, you’ll never forget your tangle with the mighty barra!

Watch a movie under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema

Deckchair Cinema is one of Darwin’s most beloved attractions. An outdoor cinema showing classics, new releases and independent films right on the shore of Darwin Harbour, you can relax on a deckchair or set up a picnic as you take in a movie on the waterfront. With an outdoor bar and kiosk and lush rainforest surrounds, the Deckchair Cinema is the perfect way to enjoy a balmy evening under the stars.

Take an airboat tour through the mangroves

For a hair raising experience you’ll never forget, you can’t go past a cruise across Darwin Harbour and into the mangroves on a custom built V8 airboat tour! Departing from the iconic Darwin Wharf, you’ll start the tour looking for sharks, crocs, stingrays and birds before the real fun begins! Adrenaline pumping airboat fast-laps that will have you screaming and smiling with joy!

Visit the Tiwi Islands

Immerse yourself in the extraordinary stories and experiences of the world’s oldest living culture with a trip to the Tiwi Islands. Located 100km north of Darwin and accessible by ferry or a 30-minute flight, the Tiwi Islands are known as the ‘Islands of Smiles’ due to the warmth of the local Aboriginal community and their thriving art and cultural scene. Catch a local Aussie Rules game, take a wildlife tour, go fishing for Barramundi at Clearwater Island Lodge and check out stunning art in one of the many galleries and community centres.

Go wakeboarding at Darwin Ski Club

Darwin Ski Club is more than just an awesome place to go wakeboarding or water-skiing on Darwin Harbour. The club’s become an icon of Darwin’s social scene, and you’ll find families and young professionals gathering for a drink and a swim in the saltwater pools nearly every night of the week. You don’t have to be a member for the perks! All guests are welcome to come and try wakeboarding, skiing and a whole bunch of watersports in a location that can only be described as paradise!

Explore Darwin’s WW2 tunnels

Check out Darwin’s rich World War II history in the giant Oil Storage Tunnels located beneath the city. Full of photos and artefacts of the brave Darwinites who helped build them, Darwin’s WW2 tunnels were reopened to the public in 1992 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin, which saw 243 people lose their lives. This is the perfect activity for any history buff!

Take a swim with a croc at Crocosaurus Cove

With the world’s largest collection of Australian reptiles and some of the biggest Saltwater Crocs in Australia, Crocosaurus Cove is a must-do Top End activity. It’s hard to go past a hair raising dunk in ‘The Cage of Death’, where you’re lowered into the water with a 5m saltwater croc for 15 minutes. But for those looking for a little less of an adrenaline rush, there’s plenty to check out, including the huge freshwater aquarium, feeding shows and chance to cuddle a baby crocodile!

Taste the local produce

The Top End has some amazing and unique local produce that’s hard to get in the rest of Australia, let alone the world! Get out of your comfort zone and try the tucker at one of Darwin’s famous restaurants, known for serving delicacies such as mud crab, crocodile, camel, kakadu plum and even ants! There’s a lot to be said for the NTs emerging foodie culture, including a bunch of new breweries for a well deserved icy-cold beverage at the end of a hot afternoon!

Experience V8 car driving at Hidden Valley

If you’re in the Northern Territory, you can’t go past a driving experience at Darwin’s famous Hidden Valley racetrack. Famous for its high speed straight, Hidden Valley is a popular stop-off each year for the V8 Supercars and now you can experience the power and thrill of the track for yourself! 

Imagine jumping into the passenger seat as a V8 racing superstar takes you for some hot laps. Or test your own skills as you take the wheel of a custom-built race car and rip it around the same track as your racing heros. 

Either way, a day of racing adventures at Fastrack V8, will be the ultimate highlight of your sensational Darwin trip! Book your experience online, today!

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