Darwin is known as the Top End of Australia.
There are a few interesting places to see within the city, but the best things to do are in their natural surroundings.
We’ve looked at all the activities, attractions and landmarks near Darwin to ensure you see the highlights within travel distance.
Here are the 14 best things to do in and around Darwin.
- 1. Kakadu National Park
- 2. Litchfield National Park
- 3. Adelaide River
- 4. Cullen Bay
- 5. Crocosaurus Cove
- 6. Aquascene
- 7. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
- 8. Mindil Beach Sunset Market
- 9. Arnhem Land
- 10. Nitmiluk National Park
- 11. Edith Falls
- 12. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
- 13. Nourlangie Rock
- 14. Mary River Wetlands
1. Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park isn’t just the Northern Territory’s biggest national park, it’s also Australia’s.
This iconic conservation area contains 1.7 million hectares of stunning Northern Territory landscapes.
Separated into seven distinct regions, Kakadu National Park is naturally diverse and rich in cultural history, offering new experiences and discoveries for visitors.
You can choose to spend one action-packed day, or extend your trip to get the most out of this unique national park.
Although it is difficult to cover all the main attractions in one day.
Despite the large territory covered by Kakadu, most visitors start their journey from Darwin.
You can expect to learn about Aboriginal culture, find a number of walking treks and see an incredible natural landscape.
2. Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park, located just two hours drive from tropical Darwin, is a popular weekend destination for locals.
This 1500 square metre conservation area is a rugged landscape shaped by water.
Featuring a number of waterfalls and beautiful swimming holes alongside monsoon forests, Litchfield National Park is the perfect place to experience the Northern Territory.
You can escape the heat, explore on walking treks, and see the stunning natural surrounds.
3. Adelaide River
Adelaide River is both a river and a small township, both located not far out of Darwin.
The township itself is small, but there is much to explore in the surrounding areas, with the river being one of the main attractions.
For example, join a crocodile cruise and see these predators jump out of the water to catch its food.
Sightings of crocodiles cruise tour are guaranteed.
The intelligent local crocodiles learnt quickly to associate the unique vibration of the tour boats with food.
On top of this, you can expect to see Adelaide River’s historical landmarks, and explore the nearby national parks.
4. Cullen Bay
Located just 10 minutes outside of Darwin city, Cullen Bay is a scenic waterfront filled with yachts and classy restaurants.
The big attraction is Cullen Bar Marina, which is a nice spot to walk around at night.
It is also the meeting spot for most cruises or fishing trips around the stunning Darwin coastline.
Alternatively, if you prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from.
5. Crocosaurus Cove
Crocosaurus Cove, located conveniently in central Darwin city, is a unique reptile and crocodile wildlife park.
This inner-city attraction, which opened in 2008, is known for its unusual approach to wildlife interaction, including the world-renowned Cage of Death.
Set over three floors, and taking up around 5,000 square meters, Crocosaurus Cove allows you to see up close the iconic saltwater crocodile, and other reptile species, that make the Nothern Territory ecosystem so interesting.
Fortunately, the Darwin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour conveniently stops at Crocosaurus Cove.
Aquascene has been a staple attraction in Darwin for generations.
It is now a popular tourist destination for domestic and international visitors.
Located in Doctors Gully, a short walk from Darwin’s picturesque Esplanade, Aquascene allows visitors to hand feed a variety of fish.
The event takes place almost everyday at Aquascene, where management have worked to bring safety to this natural Australian attraction.
When the weather and tide is suitable, you can head down to the shore and see the masses of fish arrive for their daily feed.
Bread is distributed among visitors with entry, and there is more than enough to go around.
The most common species you will see is the diamond scaled mullet, but there is likely to be other species like breams, catfish, milkfish, batfish, and even sting rays.
7. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is the region’s leading cultural and artistic organisation.
Located on the picturesque coast of the Arafura Sea, not too far outside Darwin city, the museum has been a part of Darwin’s cultural history since 1966.
At MAGNT, you’ll learn about Aboriginal art, history of Cyclone Tracy, artefacts from South East Asia, and the maritime history of coastal Darwin.
8. Mindil Beach Sunset Market
Mindil Beach is one of Darwin’s most popular and well-known stretches of sandy coastline.
This is partly because of its location, just a short walk from Darwin’s central business district, but also because it hosts the world-famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
Twice a week (Thursdays and Sundays) during Darwin’s mild dry season, the stretch of coastline comes alive with around 200 market stalls.
Visitors come for the food, shopping experience, entertainment, and the unique territory atmosphere.
9. Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land is one of Australia’s few remaining centres of traditional Aboriginal culture covering 97,000 square kilometres.
This isolated region is bordered by the Arafura Sea, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Kakadu National Park.
But there’s still plenty to see.
For example, you can learn about the Yolngu people culture and experience the stunning natural landscapes of Arnhem Land’s unspoiled wilderness.
The landscapes of Arnhem Land are stunning and diverse.
Expect to see rugged coastlines, remote islands, fish-filled rivers, tropical rainforests, and much more.
10. Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park, formerly known as Katherine Gorge National Park, is a stunning natural landscape located several hours from Darwin.
A deep path carved in the landscape by the expansive Katherine River, Katherine Gorge is a must-see for any visitors to the Northern Territory,
It is a perfect place to learn about the area’s wildlife, habitats and Aboriginal cultures.
You can also enjoy activities like hiking or canoeing.
During your exploration, you may come across the popular Edith Falls.
11. Edith Falls
Edith Falls is known by local Jawoyn people as Leliyn.
It is a series of waterfalls and pools situated on the Edith River inside Nitmiluk National Park.
Edith Falls cascades 176 metres above sea level with falls varying in height between 8 – 12 metres.
More importantly, you can enjoy a swim, see natural scenery, or venture through the various walking trails.
There are two walks at Edith Falls.
A shorter 2.6 kilometre trek called the Leliyn Trail and a longer 8.6 kilometre journey called Sweetwater Pool.
Edith Falls is also a natural haven for native Australian wildlife.
12. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens is located just 2 kilometres outside Darwin city and close to the coast.
Home to more than 400 species of plants, the gardens is an ideal place to spend a relaxing day.
You can learn about the unique tropical plants, wander amidst the shady walks and enjoy the natural surroundings.
Popular collections include Rainforest Gully, Plant Display House, the Cycad Garden and Baobab Collection.
Self-guided walking treks are available so you can fully appreciate the gardens.
13. Nourlangie Rock
Nourlangie is an outlying formation along the Arnhem East Escarpment, located inside the Kakadu National Park.
It is sometimes called Burrunggui and hosts a significant rock art site.
Aboriginal people lived here 20,000 years ago in traditional shelters.
However, visitors now come here to see the rock art and learn about the history, traditions and culture of local Aboriginal people.
Anbangbang Gallery and the Anbangbang Shelter are two popular art places to visit.
There is also a popular 1.5 kilometre circuit loop around Nourlangie.
Along the way, you’ll see a number of stunning lookout points.
14. Mary River Wetlands
The Mary River Wetlands is located around one hour east of Darwin.
It is a unique and thriving ecosystem with the Mary River at its centre and floodplain catchments in the surroundings.
Because of this, you’ll see a vast array of local wildlife.
You can also cruise along the Mary River, go for bush walks, and enjoy fishing in the lush environment.
Before you go, stop at the informational center, Window on the Wetlands, to collect maps on the area.
For more things to do in and around Darwin, check our tours.