Darwin Sightseeing

Forever optimistic, Darwin is a youthful, multicultural city that relishes its relaxed outdoor lifestyle assisted by a year-round tropical climate – just perfect for honeymoon couples.

Darwin draws its cultural identity from 50,000 years of Aboriginal traditions and its close proximity to Asia – the city is closer to Jakarta than it is to Sydney.

What to do and see in Darwin

Explore Darwin’s rich heritage at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the Australian Pearling Exhibition.

Head to the East Point Military Museum to learn about the Japanese bombing of Darwin during World War II.

Unwind after work with a jog along the Esplanade or try a harbour cruise. Later, stroll along palm-lined city streets to the Wharf Precinct for an alfresco seafood dinner.

Or join the evening party on Darwin’s atmospheric Mitchell Street – the vibrant nightlife strip is crowded with friendly pubs, nightclubs and restaurants.

Named after the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin, the city offers the perfect base for a day trip to the Tiwi Islands, or longer to explore the natural wonders of the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks.

Must-see attractions in Darwin include the following…

The Esplanade – Explore the length of Darwin's waterfront with a stroll through Bicentennial Park on the Esplanade or with a jog along Lameroo Beach.

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory – Discover more about the region’s history, art and culture in a magnificent permanent collection.

East Point Military Museum – Learn about the Japanese bombing of Darwin that lasted for almost two years and killed more than 300 people during World War II.

Australian Pearling Exhibition – Discover Darwin’s pearling history from the days of the lugger and hard-hat diving, to modern farming and pearl culturing techniques.

Mindil Beach Sunset Market – Sample cuisine from over 20 countries and browse stalls for indigenous and bush art, sculpture, pottery, handmade jewellery and bric-a-brac. Held every Thursday and Sunday from 24 April to 30 October.

Australian Aviation Heritage Centre – Step back in time in one of Australia’s major aviation museums hosting an impressive collection of aircraft including a B52 Bomber, Mirage and Sabre jets, a Spitfire replica, Wessex and Huey Cobra helicopters.

Sights near Darwin

Take control from the driver’s seat and discover a range of exciting getaways just a short drive from Darwin, including…

Katherine and Nitmiluk National Park

Paddle a kayak or relax on a cruise beneath the magnificent red sandstone cliffs of Katherine George in Nitmiluk National Park.

Spot wildlife, discover Aboriginal rock paintings, enjoy a refreshing swim in the pandanus-fringed natural pool at the base of Edith Falls or slide into the warm thermal waters of Katherine’s hot springs.

Read more about Katherine and Nitmiluk National Park

Kakadu National Park

Take the ‘Nature’s Way’ drive to explore Kakadu National Park, the World Heritage-listed park famous for its abundant wildlife and some of Australia’s best Aboriginal rock art.

Hike through the sacred Aboriginal Nourlangie Rock area, explore fabulous waterfalls and cool off with a refreshing swim at Boralba Springs. At Ubirr, examine the Aboriginal rock paintings of goanna, kangaroo and the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger.

Read more about Kakadu National Park

Litchfield National Park

Explore the lush monsoon forests, termite mounds, unusual rock formations and the many stunning waterfalls in Litchfield National Park.

Discover one of the Top End’s hidden treasures, an unspoiled wilderness boasting diverse flora and fauna and impressive natural formations.

View magnetic termite mounds, explore the sandstone towers of the Lost City, wade through a series of rocky pools at Buley Rockhole, cool off with a swim in the plunge pool below Florence Falls and browse indigenous arts and crafts at the Coomalie Cultural Centre.

Read more about Litchfield National Park

Where to stay in Darwin

Darwin offers a good choice of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the following…

Hilton Darwin
Location: Darwin CBD
Rating: 4-star
Prices: from AUD409 per double room
Description: Located in Darwin city centre, just 250 metres from the Esplanade, Hilton Darwin features a restaurant, bar and outdoor swimming pool. Many rooms have views of Darwin Harbour. There is also an exclusive executive lounge, offering stunning views from the 20th floor. The spacious rooms at Hilton Darwin feature modern décor and local Aboriginal artworks. Each room includes a minibar, cable TV and air conditioning. All private bathrooms have a bathtub. Some rooms offer access to the Executive Lounge which provides free continental breakfast. Guests can work out at the state-of-the-art fitness centre, with glimpses of Darwin Harbour and Parliament House, or relax by the rooftop pool offering city views. There is a 24-hour business centre, tour desk and an on-site beauty salon. Mitchell's Grill offers a buffet breakfast and modern Australian menu featuring kangaroo fillet, barramundi and crocodile. Mitchell's Bar serves espresso coffee, light meals and a range of quality beer, wine and cocktails, overlooking the atrium lobby. Hilton Darwin overlooks Darwin Harbour and the Smith Street Mall is only 5 minutes' walk away. Darwin Convention Centre is a 10-minute walk. Darwin International Airport is 15 minutes' drive away.

Skycity Darwin
Location: Mindil Beach, Darwin
Rating: 4-star
Prices: from AUD209 per double room
Description: Set on 30 acres of tropical gardens beside Mindil beach, the Skycity Darwin Resort offers an 8-room day spa. Guests also enjoy free WiFi, 5 restaurants, 2 swimming pools and an on-site casino. There are 5 bars including a swim-up bar. You can work out in the fitness centre, play a round of golf, go jogging or just relax in the sauna. The world-famous SKYCITY Casino is open 24-hours and offers a diverse range of gaming options and live entertainment. Darwin Airport is 25 minutes' drive away.

Mantra Pandanas
Location: Darwin CBD
Rating: 4-star
Prices: from AUD329 per double room
Description: This high-rise hotel offers contemporary apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Darwin. Mantra Pandanas provides hotel rooms, studios and 1 and 2-bedroom units with modern décor and private balconies offering panoramic views across Darwin Harbour or the city skyline. Mantra Pandanas offers premium facilities such as an outdoor lagoon-style swimming pool, gym and a car parking area. The hotel’s Table Forty Three Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner along with drinks in the bar area. Nearby attractions include Bicentinnental Park, Darwin Harbour, and a large shopping Mall.

Oaks Elan Darwin
Location: Darwin CBD
Rating: 4-star
Prices: from AUD322 per double room
Description: Located in central Darwin, 10 minutes’ walk from the Darwin Convention Centre, Oaks Elan Darwin offers a restaurant and an outdoor lap pool. Some rooms feature a private balcony. Each spacious air-conditioned apartment offers ceiling fans, a flat-screen TV with cable channels. It has an electric kettle and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. Most feature a kitchenette. Seoul Food is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can enjoy flavours of modern Korean fusion as well as International and Australian cuisine. A room service menu is available at all times. On-site fitness centre and a 24-hour front desk for added convenience. Oaks Elan Darwin is 10 minutes’ walk from the Darwin Waterfront Lagoon. Charles Darwin National Park and Darwin International Airport are both 10 minutes’ drive away.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin
Location: The Esplanade, Darwin
Rating: 4-star
Prices: from AUD305 per double room
Description: DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin offers relaxed accommodation in a central location, overlooking Darwin Harbour and the Esplanade. Features include an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant and poolside bar. All refurbished rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony. The rooms also include a flat-screen TV, work desk and luxury amenities. Poolside Restaurant is open daily for full buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can enjoy al fresco dining on the outdoor deck with views of the pool and tropical gardens. The Poolside Bar serves drinks, cocktails and light meals. DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin is a 15-minute drive from Darwin International Airport.

Best time to visit Darwin

The best time to visit Darwin is during the winter dry season which runs from April/May to October.

The dry season is characterised by warm and sunny days averaging a high of 32ºC (89ºF) in April, May, September and October and 31ºC (87ºF) in June, July and August.

Darwin enjoys a tropical savannah climate with distinct wet and dry seasons and a fairly similar temperature all year round.

More about Darwin weather

How to get to Darwin

Darwin – the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia – overlooks the Timor Sea, and is located closer to Jakarta than it is to Sydney.

The most convenient route to Darwin, from overseas or interstate, is by air to Darwin International Airport (DRW), located about 12km (7.4mi) northeast of Darwin city centre.

More about how to get to Darwin

Latest update: Darwin Sightseeing: 12 May, 2022