The Top Things to Do and See in Darwin

Darwin is an important centre of Aboriginal culture – and dont miss the great sunsets
Darwin is an important centre of Aboriginal culture – and don't miss the great sunsets | © Deco / Alamy Stock Photo
Christina Nhu

Renowned for its outdoor markets, Aboriginal arts and crafts, tropical climate and vast tracts of nature, Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, blends a laid-back atmosphere with modern city life. Adventure seekers come here in their droves, and the pretty waterfront makes the perfect setting for a stroll or cycle. Here’s our list of what to do and see in Darwin, Australia.

1. Amble Around Darwin's Wharf Precinct

Natural Feature, Park

Wharf Precinct Darwin City Northern Territory Australia
© William Robinson / Alamy Stock Photo

Darwin’s Wharf Precinct comprises the wharf area and waterfront walkway, a trail that winds past the crystal-blue ocean and various bars and eateries. A stroll here offers the perfect chance to see Darwin’s fishing industry first-hand, as small boats laden with fresh catch are often seen bobbing on the water. You may even see a cruise liner hoving into view too.

Watch out for: spectacular views from the waterfront.

2. Splash About in the Wave Lagoon

Swimming Pool

The new Wave Lagoon Darwin Waterfront development Darwin NT Australia
© Jan Butchofsky / Alamy Stock Photo

The Wave Lagoon, on the waterfront, is a picturesque place to splash about. This clean, warm, wave pool is where you can either lie back and relax, or take swimming lessons to increase your confidence in the water. The turquoise sea is extremely inviting, and there are changing facilities and showers on-site, as well as plenty of ice-cream vendors.

Watch out for: the sun – don’t forget your sunscreen!

3. Watch a Race at Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex

Sports Center

Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex in Darwin is a haven for fans of motorbikes, V8s, drag cars and go-karts. It often hosts major competitions, and you can watch from different parts of the track or take a drive round yourself. The viewing platform gives great views of the whole circuit, and with an electrifying atmosphere, colourful illuminated scoreboards and the latest car models, a trip here really does give you a taste of life in the fast lane.

Watch out for: the huge shade covers in the shape of sail.

4. Go to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Art Gallery, Museum

This museum and art gallery is home to a wide range of local artwork, with more than 30,000 items of art and material culture on display, as well as a collection of 1.2m natural-history specimens. There is also a quaint little cafe with a beautiful view of the sea.

Watch out for: the giant crocodile displays.

5. Visit Berry Springs Nature Park


Berry Springs Recreation Reserve near Darwin in the Northern Territory.
© Phil Hill / Alamy Stock Photo
Berry Springs Nature Park features a natural pool for swimming and lush expanses of nature. Take a dip in the clear water and you may see many small fish and other marine life that lives in the water. Picnic tables are dotted around, providing an idyllic spot for a bite to eat after swimming.

Watch out for: one of the many adventure activities you can do here.

6. Fly High at Darwin Aviation Museum


Darwin Australia - February 22, 2019: Australian Aviation Heritage Centre. The Supermarine Spitfire MK VIII with shark face painted in front.
© Claudine Klodien / Alamy Stock Photo

Darwin Aviation Museum displays a huge range of different aircraft models, with the whole exhibition reflecting the story of Australian aviation history. Educational films are shown throughout and old aircraft posters adorn the walls. It’s a top spot for plane lovers, with an assortment of books and DVDs available for purchase.

Watch out for: the B-52.

7. Go See St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Cathedral


One of the biggest churches in Darwin, the cathedral is popular among the local Catholic community – not least for its magnificent stained-glass windows, intricately decorated altar and richly embroidered tapestries. There are many monuments dedicated to soldiers here, and the grounds are vast and well maintained.

Watch out for: books detailing the meaning behind each stained-glass window.

8. Peruse Mindil Beach Markets


Mindil Beach Sunset Markets - a popular food and crafts market in Darwin, Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA
© Ozimages / Alamy Stock Photo

Mindil Beach Markets is Darwin’s top spot for grabbing a bargain. A cluster of markets selling an array of colourful jewellery and handmade crafts, it’s also a great place for picking up authentic Aboriginal artwork and gifts. Food from all over the world is sold here, and there is a large space for regular live performances where you can relax at a table and and enjoy top-quality entertainment.

Watch out for: the live music played throughout the market

9. Catch a Film at the Deckchair Cinema

Movie Theater

Ever fancied watching a movie under the stars from the comfort of a cushioned armchair? Well you can do just that at Deckchair Cinema. Every night of the week, films are played in this popular outdoor complex, with a movie list incorporating everything from Hollywood blockbusters to arthouse Aussie flicks.

Watch out for: a choice of different seating options available.

10. Marvel at the Magnetic Termite Mounds

Natural Feature

Australia, to Northern Territory, Darwin region, Litchfield Nationwide park, Magnetic termite Mounds, compass termite hill,
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

The Magnetic Termite Mounds are where you’ll find a variety of termite homes – these amazing architectural feats come complete with arches, tunnels and chimneys. It’s a great place to learn more about the termite – how they live, eat and breed, and also you can study the techniques that go into making their unusual and sophisticated habitat.

Watch out for: some of the mounds that reach over 4m (12ft).

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