Known as the Australian capital of crocs (that be crocodiles in a fuller, less fun version of the word), Darwin is a small cosmopolitan city in the North of Australia. With tropical climates, Darwin is renowned for having two main seasons: wet and dry season. I’d highly recommend you visit in the dry season as it becomes incredibly hot and sticky in the wet season… and what do you know, it rains a lot! Regardless of when you visit the top end be sure to pack yourself plenty of insect repellent and sunscreen – you can thank me later!
Darwin is a cheap city to visit from Asia or en route there, with cheap flights to Singapore through Jetstar (sometimes under $100 one way!)
A Quick Guide to Darwin
Darwin airport is pretty close to the city centre (13 kilometres), making taxis a feasible option and certainly more attractive than the $18 one-way airport shuttle bus.
Another popular way to arrive in Darwin is via The Ghan train, a tourist train that travels from Adelaide to Darwin twice each week. It is far more expensive but if you’re looking to see the Australian outback from the comfort of your carriage, this is your chance to do so.
To get around you will need a car anywhere outside of the CBD itself. Most of Darwin’s attractions are located further afield, so a car is a must.
Where to Stay:
If you’re looking for an uber luxe getaway, Darwin’s premier accommodation is Sky City, a Resort + Casino with pools, a gym, and gorgeous lagoon-front rooms. If you’ve come to the top end to relax, this is by far the best place to do so.
If you’re on a budget, there are a range of camp sites in and around Darwin.
Things to Do:
Visiting the top end means that you’re in for a ride – both in terms of adventurous activities and a very literal sense, as you will be driving a lot to visit all of the attractions surrounding Darwin! Here are some top picks nearby, with some more recommendations coming further afield as I tackle the Australian outback.
Before I had even landed in Darwin I was told by the passenger beside me on my flight from Melbourne that the absolute best thing to do in Darwin is to see the jumping crocs, whereby you join a 1 hour tour on the river that not only lets you view crocs in their natural habitat, but also baits them with food so that you can see them jumping out of the water. Its completely certified and ethical, and the best part is you get a great education as you go along the river from your guide and get to see the crocs in their natural habitat.
Although the idea of swimming with a croc scares the life out of me, I pledged a couple of years ago when I started travelling full time and sharing my experiences here on my blog that I would make a full effort to “just say yes” to everything. This was one such experience that I worked up the guts to do and I’ve gotta say it was amazing to see these creatures up close!
Litchfield National Park
If you’re looking for free activities nearby to Darwin, I can highly recommend a short day trip to Litchfield National Park, around 90 minutes drive outside of the city. There a safe areas to swim (be sure to read the signs, it will always be clear whether an area is safe for swimming or infested with crocs)! There are also some gorgeous waterfalls here and day walks, though be sure to pack plenty of water as it can get incredibly hot!
Going Further Afield
From Darwin, the options to explore are endless. We drove from Darwin through to Kakadu National Park, followed by a visit to Katherine. While the drive is extraordinarily long through to Alice Springs and Uluru it is entirely possible, though the temptation of a quick flight is for many too good an option to pass up.
World of Wanderlust was welcomed to the “Top End” with Tourism NT – Visit their site for more ideas on visiting Outback Australia!