Things To Do In Darwin
Darwin City is located in the Northern territory of Australia specifically along the Top End part of the country. Almost twice the size of Sydney’s harbor, Darwin’s waterfront groups together the parliament house, residential apartments, tourism center, hotels, some restaurants and bars, wharf precinct, museums, and a wave pool around a small artificial lagoon. The harbor area is the best starting point to explore the numerous attractions in the Top End. Within its proximity is where you can find the Museum Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Be sure to check out the Cyclone Tracey Exhibition, which serves as a grim reminder of how Darwin was destroyed by a powerful cyclone on December 24, 1974 and how the people managed to survive the natural disaster.
At the Deckchair Cinema, you can watch movies under the stars (don’t worry, mosquito sprays are provided), while at the Crocodylus Park, you will have the chance to see nearly a thousand saltwater crocodiles that can swim as fast as 15 to 18 mph in short bursts. One of the most attended national events here is The Mindal Beach Sunset Markets. This event is usually held every Thursday and Sunday nights starting from the month of May until October. Aside from crafting and food, the locals sell Didgeridoos, a wind/musical instrument skillfully crafted by the indigenous tribes of Northern Australia.
When To Go:
The climate of this tropical territory is characterized only by two distinct seasons; the dry season and the wet rainy season. Being at the Top End, this part of the country never experienced the other seasons like; spring, fall, autumn, and winter. The ideal time to explore and discover all the natural wonders and man-made attractions of this city begins from the month of May all the way up to September; the long but tolerable dry season. Tourists prefer walking under the warm weather, a bit drenched in sweat, but assured by the fact that they have more opportunity to see the best sights and enjoy the variety of things to do at the hottest months of the year.
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After the humidity, the temperature begins to build up after the month of September and the locals brace themselves for the wet or rainy season, which is characterized by thunderstorms and monsoon rains that start from October and reaches its peak or the full wet season in November and trickles down away with occasional rains from December until the first week of January. If you don’t want to be inconvenienced by these stormy weather months, abandon any plans for travelling and visiting Darwin on this low season months.
These are the best attractions and the adventurous things to do in the city of Darwin…
Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
The Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is an interesting museum (and free) where you will discover traditional and modern Aboriginal art. There is a detailed presentation of the rich Australian flora and fauna and an exhibition about the Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin in 1974. It has a booth where you can hear the actual noise made by the cyclone (complete with surround speakers). This section tried to recreate the terrifying memories of that fateful day and succeeds in doing so, complete with photographs, videos, and recreated scenarios of the tragedy. The best part is the famous room in complete darkness where the sound of the hurricane was recorded in one loop. It is quite disturbing to even go in the room, but the show is really worth it.
The museum is very instructive and allows you to make a journey into the educational, but also an enjoyable part about the history of Aboriginal culture and history of the natural sciences as well as see the preserved artifacts of the naval and archaeological treasures of Darwin. Another interesting section is the ships that were used by the nearby villages of other islands. Everything is well exposed with scientific insights and informative materials. There is a coffee shop with a view of the waterfront that you can have refreshments with after exploring this museum; be sure to check out everything and learn a part of Darwin’s history even for a few hours.
The Parliament House is a large building located in the center of Darwin City. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a few steps from the promenade along the sea. It is worth more than the park and walk to the building, because it is famous for being the Parliament of the northern territories. The building is open to the public and has no entrance fee, but if the Congress is in session, there are rooms and halls where access is not possible.
Defence of Darwin Experience
The Defence of Darwin Experience is a theme museum that describes the participation of Darwin and Australia in World War II, the Japanese army air attack, etc. They have several audiovisual with good technical execution and a good portion of the war items displayed like; weapons, guns, tanks, etc., with a good level of restoration. The environment is very good, quiet, and has a little store and restaurant.
The museum offers for AUD 14 admission for adults a modern and contemporary representation of the events that transpired in 1942. It tells the day of the first bombing by the Japanese from the perspective of some witnesses, which makes the history more realistic and interesting. The multimedia presentation is also impressive. The exhibits outside the museum building are also worth seeing, especially the big cannon that was used to defend Darwin City. The museum offers during the visit a free Wi-Fi Internet connection in the reception area.
Australian Aviation Heritage Centre
In this museum, you can have the opportunity to visit the interior of the B52, observe the various military uniforms and the various types of weaponry dating back to World War II. What is more valuable throughout this context is the framework where the museum has inserted a copy of the final surrender of Japan on the battleship Missouri made with the signature of all the representatives of the victorious Nations.
The visit to the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre is definitely worth the ticket price. There are various interesting airplanes, beginning with the gigantic B52. The museum also shows broken pieces of the historic aircraft and excellent explanatory boards in English.
Mindil Beach is a large market of varied food, with almost all types of Eastern clothing stalls, jewelry, cosmetics and all kinds of oriental massage. Every year starting May to October, this place becomes lively and festive for the Mindal Beach Sunset Markets where the Thursday and Sunday afternoons gather families with children and the market sets up tables and chairs to spend the evening with fun, as there are musical attractions, live solo performances, and more time to appreciate the wonderful sunset. If you want to spend a quiet evening and cheerful ambience between markets and the beach, this is the place to be in Darwin. You can find many types of food, especially Asian cuisine and banquets with items of all kinds.
Close to the market area is a lawn where people of all ages spread out their beach towels and where they have dinner f packaged cooked foods bought from the market while watching different types of bands playing live music. When the sun starts to go down you will see all the people heading to the beach, follow them and enjoy the sunset by the sea. Everyone waits for the sunset here, unlike elsewhere in the city because the sun assumes colors ranging from yellow to orange to ochre to bright red. People are sitting on the beach almost in contemplation with all eyes on the sea in an almost surreal silence up to the last minute when the sun disappears.
The Wave Lagoon was created for people who love to swim safely because the beaches in the area are not that safe due to the presence of saltwater crocodiles and jellyfish that appears randomly and with the muddy bottom of the sea it is difficult to see these dangers, but with extreme caution near the shore you can still swim. The Wave Lagoon is a nice pool in the center of Darwin, surrounded by a beautiful lawn with trees and where in some periods of the day in the pool it has activated artificial waves to make the swimming experience more fun and exciting.
It is a perfect place to cool off, and stay safe knowing there is such a pool where there is no danger of being harassed by the animals that are natural inhabitants of the waters in Darwin. In a city that has no beach to swim and cool off tourists (the beaches have sharks, fast current waters, crocodiles, and jellyfish), this lagoon helps a lot in the afternoons when the temperature is almost 40° C in Darwin. The lagoon has good clean water, sun beds for all, and a relaxing atmosphere. This artificial pond in the middle of Darwin is pure delight!
Darwin Wharf Precinct
Just minutes from the central part of the city is the Darwin Wharf Precinct located in the gateway where you can find restaurants and the famous wave pool, an artificial beach for swimming. After sunset, this is the place to come and eat in the evening for the atmosphere and a real choice of the best Australian craft beers on tap.
The view of the waterfront, the setting, the food, and the fact that there is something for all tastes guarantees you will have a good time. When in Darwin, it is a must to visit this romantic and family friendly attraction. The precinct is the oldest part of Darwin and was badly hit by the Japanese forces during World War II. Today, it is a place to relax, where you can find themed restaurants all over the world and also enjoy the crocodile. The pier is joined to the mainland with a beautiful walkway that you can walk or bike with. From the pier you can observe a wide variety of fish even without snorkelling or the need to dive in its clear waters.
The Deckchair Cinema offers watching movies or being in an old cinema under the palm trees - what more could you want. Not only tourists but also many residents come here because the atmosphere is very special. There is a small bar for the drink, which you can bring to the film and choose from a daily changing buffet of dishes from the restaurants of Darwin. In addition to the nice set up, there are good films shown like; the "Charlie's Country”, a prizewinning film in Cannes about an old Aborigine who seeks his place in Australian society. Good food, drinks, and great film - life could not be better.
The Deckchair Cinema is a really relaxing place, very comfortable under the stars watching Sky Movies and a time to meet other tourists. There are pillows, insect repellent (generously provided) a licensed bar (no alcoholic beverages) and a small buffet with reasonable prices and excellent food. All you need to do is sit in the back at a table with a wine cooler in front and enjoy every minute. The cinema has an outdoor ocean view, a unique atmosphere under a sky of stars and surrounded by nature. If it's your first time in Darwin, it is a new experience to try and watch outdoor movies with excellent quality and sound.
Darwin Botanic Gardens
The Darwin Botanic Gardens is included in Fannie Bay and it is a big garden with different species of plants. This huge park stretches down to the sea and includes several areas and tropical oasis with plants of all kinds. There is also a rainforest with waterfalls and where you can spend hours for relaxation. The surroundings expose its beauty with many types of plants from all over the earth and also mangroves and even a baobab from Africa. There are play areas for children and for adults, recreational spaces abound.
It's a meeting place that truly exemplifies its multi-ethnic nature. Those who have already been able to visit other Australian cities know that botanical gardens are located almost everywhere on the continent. Even here in Darwin, the gardens are well manicured and filled with plants from all over the world. It is the perfect place to unwind and admire various types of flora; and the best part of it all -the entrance is free.
The Crocodylus Park and the accompanying boat tour are an exciting way to get up close with the saltwater crocodiles. At the crocodile cages, only 6 visitors are allowed to see and interact with the crocodiles with a guide. Everyone is given a chance to carry the crocodile and take pictures with them. At the end of the tour the guide comes with a baby saltwater crocodile and allows an extended time with the "salties".
The $40 entrance fee is more than worth it. The rest of the small park can also be explored. There is also a small zoo with some native species, but nothing more. The boat ride is worth it, because you see the crocodiles in the distance and understand their natural habitat. The crocodiles here are a lot, a good educational center where you can learn all the facts about the crocodiles in Darwin. The center is neat, and you can see that the animals are very well looked after.
The Crocosaurus Cove can be found in the center of Darwin. It is a conservation park that is entirely dedicated to reptiles, with a chance to see up close hundreds of small crocodiles and other reptiles of all kinds. With an additional admission fee and if you're adventurous enough, you can go down in the tub of crocodiles and feed them.
With a trained guide, there is the possibility to hold in your hand or on the head snakes or lizards of various types not just crocodiles. The place does not have many attractions, but it is an interesting experience. It's a kind of crocodile zoo, which has several species, one larger than the other. Very worth knowing because it is something different from what we are accustomed to see. And it has everything to do with the Darwin region.
Berry Springs Nature Park
The Berry Springs Nature Park is a well maintained park in the middle of Darwin's rainforest. It is possible (recommended) to swim in the pool. There is a plunge pool for adults and another pool where children can go. The water temperature is very pleasant and there are many barbecues available and a possibility to shower before and after using the pool. It is a nature park where you can find true moments of relaxation in Darwin. It offers impressive scenery, no admission fee, few guests, quiet, and ideal as a stopover between Darwin and the National Parks.
Australian cities have historical beauties to be seen, but are always pleasant to live, Darwin is no exception because it is full of gardens, an old busy harbor, historic landmarks, walking on the sea, and with the beautiful museum with an impressive entrance of the crocodile "salt water". Make a detour to discover this magical city when in Australia, and you will discover this city has a lot to offer aside from being one of the best travel destinations on the continent.
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