Welcome to Australia's top-end, where the tropics meet the desert, and there are as many people as there are crocodiles. (No, seriously, people: 140,000. Crocs: 150,000). While you may have some preconceived ideas about Darwin involving crocs, beer-can regattas, fireworks, and eccentric locals; the city is surprisingly cosmopolitan. The multicultural city has strong Asian influences, especially notable at the weekly Mindil Beach sunset markets. Darwin is also an excellent winter escape. While most of Australia's capital cities are feeling the chill, Darwin's "winter" weather is a balmy 30 degrees. Perfect weather to start exploring some of Australia's most impressive national parks, with Kakadu and Litchfield NPs within a day's drive. Are you packed yet?!
Direct flights are available from the following Australian cities with these major airlines.
Darwin International Airport is located about 10km from the city centre. There are several transfer options available.
Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport. A ride into the CBD area is about $25-30.
Rideshare: Uber and Hi, Oscar, are both available in Darwin. Fares will depend on the type of vehicle you choose and the duration of the trip.
Darwin city airport shuttle: The shuttle operates 24/7, but bookings are essential. The fare depends on your drop off location, but expect to pay $20-30 per person.
Rental Car: Several car rental companies can be found in the arrivals hall at the airport. Book online in advance to ensure a vehicle is waiting for you on arrival.
With so many amazing attractions within driving distance from Darwin, renting a car is the best way to maximise your visit. However, if you prefer to use public transport, the local bus service is a reliable means of getting around. Single tickets cost about $3 and are valid for three hours after purchase.
Darwin might be relaxed, but you'll never be bored! There is something for everyone in the top-end, whether you're a nature-lover, adrenaline-junkie, foodie, or art connoisseur. Don't miss these fantastic experiences:
Crocosaurus Cove: No trip to the Northern Territory would be complete without a crocodile encounter. If you're feeling brave, Crocosaurus Cove's 'cage of death' is the only place in Australia where you can experience the thrill of diving face to face with an enormous saltwater crocodile. For those not willing to look death in the eye, the feeding shows provide an exciting performance from a safe distance.
Museum and Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT): Delve into the exciting history and rich culture of Darwin at this combined museum and art gallery. In the museum, you can experience the horror of a cyclone in the immersive Cyclone Tracy exhibit, and learn about Darwin's important role in WWII. While the gallery focuses on local indigenous art, both contemporary and ancient.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets: Eat your way around the world at this sprawling beachfront market. With over 300 stalls, Mindil is the perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat while you do your souvenir shopping.
National Parks: Take advantage of Darwin's proximity to some of Australia's most gorgeous and culturally significant places, with a visit to Kakadu, Mary River, and Litchfield National Parks. Both Litchfield and Mary River are an easy day trip from Darwin, while Kakadu will require a few days to maximise your experience. Giant termite mounds, spring-fed waterfalls, leaping crocodiles, and ancient rock art are just some of the gems waiting for you in the crown jewels of the Northern Territory.
Darwin has a budding foodie scene, with alleyway cafes, food trucks, and hip bars tucked away in arcades. Watch out Melbourne!
The number one food recommendation from the locals? Laksa. Don't leave without trying a delicious bowl of Laksa from Mindil Beach or Rapid Creek Markets. The Laksa is only second best to being in Malaysia!
For something more upmarket, indulge in delicious local seafood in a chic atmosphere at PM Eat & Drink.
Enjoy sunset drinks and nibbles at the iconic Darwin Ski Club. It's perfectly positioned on the beachfront to capture a spectacular sunset Insta-worthy photo, framed by a row of palm trees and fairy lights.
Savour the taste of Naples at this secret locals spot, Cucina sotto le Stelle, or "food under the stars" in English. This pop-up restaurant serves up authentic Italian cuisine every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Get there early to grab a seat at the alfresco communal table, or bring a picnic blanket. Make sure to save room for dessert, the panna cotta with mango sauce is not to be missed.
Head into the outback and try authentic Australian food with an Aboriginal-led bush tucker tour.