We spent this past week in Darwin for one of Ryan’s work trips. It was our first time to the Darwin in the Northern Territory — “The Top End” as it’s casually known – and per usual, I didn’t feel like we had enough time to get a total lay-of-the-land, especially this vast land. But below I’ve summarized my top list of things to do or see while in Darwin. I say “My” list because my dear husband had to work while I explored. Don’t feel too bad for him, though, as we’re on our way to Tasmania later today for a proper holiday.
The Top Ten Things To Do or See in Darwin
*Disclaimer: Before I start this list, I should mention that I thought everything is incredibly overpriced in Darwin so my tourist experiences were limited things I thought were not out-of-this-world-expensive or would not eat too much of my limited time for exploration.
1. The Wharf Precinct Wave Pool aka Wave Lagoon: Darwin is HOT. One of the locals told me they have two temperatures, hot and hotter. I hate to sweat, preferring to “glow” wondrously, but sweating is unavoidable in Darwin. It just happens. The Wave Lagoon, however, is a perfect place to cool off. The Wharf Precinct itself is also very cool. A newer part of town, the precinct is buzzing with retail and cafes. Although I took the pic below at night, you get the idea…it’s a pretty neat place.
2. Crustaceans or Fish ‘n chips on the Wharf: While on the Wharf, grab dinner at Crustaceans where Ryan loved his grilled Barramundi (an Australian seafood staple) or a Fish n’chips from a chipper on the wharf.
3. The double-decker tour bus – I took the 3-hour afternoon tour and found it the perfect way to hit the highlights of Darwin. The guide was super friendly and informative. I learned a lot about the history of Darwin, for example: Did you know the Japanese bombed Darwin 10 wks after they bombed Pearl Harbor? There were also a good photo opp overlooking the city. It was just a really good tour – I recommend it. The pic below was taken while on the tour, just across from the Museum and Gallery of Art.
4. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory – on the tour bus we made a stop at the Museum and Gallery of Art which was a great place to get a feel for the history of Darwin; everything from the rich Aboriginal history to the 5 metre (yes, that’s 15 foot) salt water crocodile named Sweetheart. And remember the Barramundi mentioned above? I learned that they start life as males but at around age 5 they become females. Fancy that?! There’s your useless fact for the day. Most memorable was the room where you can hear the actual sounds from Cyclone Tracy which devastated the town on Christmas Eve and Day in 1974. Eerie and Terrifying. I lasted no more than 5 seconds in the room.
5. Cullen Bay – Cullen Bay is a beautiful little section of the city with houses and a newer place of cafes and restaurants. While I only drove by this on the tour bus, the driver highly recommended some of the restaurants there and the quaint and quiet feel made me wish I could stay.
I didn’t get to visit the 6th through 10th attractions because they were either closed, due to rainy season, or we didn’t have enough time but they come highly recommended by locals so I wanted to be sure I included them.
6. Deckchair Cinema
7. Crocodylus Park
8. Kakadu National Park
9. Mindil Beach and Parap Markets
10. Darwin harbour cruises
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