Although a 2WD will certainly help you get around the region. If you want to explore some of the more remote areas and get off the beaten track, a 4WD is essential. For navigating the Top End region, it's worth visiting an information centre or local library to get your hands on a specialist guide for the best routes.
Whether strolling through the Darwin CBD at your own pace or joining a local guide for a walking tour, the year-round enviable weather makes exploring the charm of Darwin a pleasure. Ride the Nightcliff Bike Track or potter around Darwin's markets. You will find most of Darwin's attractions within walking distance for a cheaper solution to catching public transport.
Greyhound Australia, Australia's only national bus service, provides transport throughout Darwin and the Top End region. Hassle-free and comfortable, book a trip in advance to go almost anywhere with over 1100 Australian destinations daily. Daily services to Alice Springs and Broome operate within the region, taking you to the best sights and attractions the Northern Territory has to offer.
The roads in the Northern Territory are some of the best in the country, with vast distances and endless straight roads to soak up. A trip from Darwin to Alice Springs is over 1500km, a full day's driving. Keep an eye out for large trucks kicking up dust on the roads and kangaroos or stock animals, which tend to wander freely!
The Northern Territory of Australia is also known as the Tropical North, with an average temperature in Darwin of 32°C all year and varying humidity. The tropical summer from December to March is thought to be the most beautiful time of the year to visit, with rain bringing perfect storms and sunsets. The dry season from May to October brings cool, pleasant nights.
Salt and freshwater crocodiles are common in most Top End waters, including beaches and rivers. Take heed of warning signs and if there is no safe swimming sign, don't take the risk of entering water. Swimming in Northern Territory beaches is not usually recommended due to the large presence of box jellyfish. Only take a dip if the area is netted off.
If you plan to visit some of the Northern Territory's National Parks during your trip to Darwin, take care not to feed the native wildlife as they are protected. Only camp in designated areas and note that a permit is required to access the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. A three-day pass will cost AUD$25 per adult.
Banking facilities can be found easily in city centres with ATMs throughout. All major international credit cards are accepted in the Northern Territory, however be aware that some businesses may charge a transaction fee. For most bookings, car hire and tours, a credit card is essential. The option to exchange foreign currency is available at Darwin Airport and in the CBD.
Fly direct with Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin Australia and you can get to Darwin in just over 4 hours total flight time.
Take a daily flight out of Perth and you can get to Darwin in 3 hours, 30 minutes with Airnorth, Qantas, Skywest or Virgin Australia.
Get there in 4 hours, 30 minutes with one of several daily flights by Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin Australia.
To help your journey from Darwin International Airport run smoothly, a taxi rank is located outside the terminal and more often than not is full of empty cabs. The average fare to Darwin CBD is around AUD$30, with pricing charged on the meter. A $3 exit toll is also payable on exit from the airport ranking lane, so have spare change ready.
If you prefer to discover what Darwin has to offer at your own leisure, renting a car from the airport is hassle-free and will make the rest of your travel during your trip as enjoyable as the sights themselves. A wide selection of affordable car hire companies is available and includes Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Budget Car Rentals.
Providing a regular 24-hour service between Darwin and the airport, a shuttle bus will take you one-way from AUD$10, a cheaper alternative to catching a taxi if travelling solo. Air conditioned and with a door-to-door pick up and drop off to your accommodation, this is both a comfortable and reliable option. Be sure to book in advance.
A network of bus services operates between the three main interchanges in Darwin CBD, Casuarina and Palmerston. Route 5 between Darwin and Casuarina will take you from the airport for AUD$2 one-way or $5 for a Show&Go daily ticket, providing unlimited bus travel for the day. It's cheap but by no means the quickest way to travel.
Enjoy a day's excursion to Kakadu National Park. At over 20,000 square kilometres, the Park is home to a third of the Top End's plant life and Australian bird species. Take an aerial tour of Arnhem Land with a scenic flight, followed by a cruise along the Yellow Water Billabong, the Park's most famous wetland area. Finish with a trek to Nourlangie Rock.
Soak up the resplendent sea views in a three-hour cruise around the Top End. Explore Darwin Harbour and learn the history of pearling luggers and the northern pearling industry. Cruise along the esplanade and watch the sun set over a glass of champagne and antipasto platters before returning to the marina. At AUD$70, this is a great option for couples.
Fancy a close encounter with some of the largest reptiles on the planet? With over 1000 crocodiles from 30cm long hatchlings to 4.7m adults weighing half a ton, adults may get as much excitement from these formidable crocs as the children. From monkeys and big cats to the common wombat, learn about these beautiful animals and the sustainable use of wildlife for conservation.
Darwin is a great place for wreck dives, as many ships have sunk around Australia's Northern coastline. The harbour itself has a range of hard and soft corals to explore but for those wanting a challenge or to get their heart rate up, a night dive with an experienced diver is sure to get the adrenaline pumping.
Owned by local foodie legend Jimmy Shu (not to be mistaken with Jimmy Choo for the shoe lovers out there), the menu boasts a fusion of Indian, Thai and Malaysian dishes, and is described as 'east looking west'. With unusual Asian artefacts, stylish decor and sensational flavours to match, Hanuman showcases one of the best dining experiences in Darwin.
For no-fuss dining for the whole family, Cee Cea's offers good, laid back food with a view, set amid the Darwin Trailer Boat Club. Local seafood and modern Australian grub is served with simple charm, and whether you come for lunch or dinner a separate menu for the little ones ensures everyone is catered for. Try the beef and beach.
A leading seafood restaurant with great atmosphere and views overlooking the harbour, Crustaceans offers a varied cocktail menu for sitting back and enjoying the views with your favourite tipple. A meal here might be a splurge, but for the freshest seafood you won't go wrong. Try the chilli crab, Cajun barramundi with prawns and chilli mango sauce or fresh oysters.
With chargrilled steaks a specialty, Char Restaurant prides itself on a love of all things beef. Set in the historic, heritage-listed Admiralty House, this is by no means a cheap place to eat. But for dishes you just won't find anywhere else, like the house-made crocodile and crab lasagne, Char is a treat worth paying for.
For those seeking a 'big night out', Discovery is known as Darwin's super-club. With top DJ sets from regular and visiting acts, for deafening tunes you can dance until 4am to, Discovery is your place. There are seven bars, two rooms and space for 1000 of the most attractive club-goers.
This underground nightclub has a clubhouse vibe and is a regular haunt for Darwin's hipper, younger crowd. A stylish venue and self-consciously cool, expect Warhol pop art prints, comic strips, and alternative tunes. With a great atmosphere, good service and a new cocktail list, there's no excuse not to dress up.
Labelling itself as the 'cocktail capital of Darwin', Jabiru certainly lives up to expectations. With a rainforest canopy transporting you to the heart of the Kakadu Rainforest, you can expect all the comfort and style of a four-star hotel. Boasting an extensive cocktail menu with tropical flavours, take advantage of happy hour from 5.30-6.30pm.
A popular bar and restaurant, Monsoons occupies the city's original cinema building, redesigned to create a fusion of the Middle East, Orient and Australia. With a sleek lounge, booth seating and alfresco area, Monsoons has become a trendy addition to Darwin's thriving nightlife. A great selection of beer and distinctive wines at affordable prices.
For a first day the whole family can enjoy, head to Aquascene, where hundreds of fish can be hand-fed at high tide. Take a relaxing stroll to discover the George Brown Botanic Gardens to see an abundance of tropical plants. Finish the day with fresh seafood and alfresco dining as the sun sets over the Timor Sea. For a captivating atmosphere, watch a film under the stars from a deckchair at the outdoor Deckchair Cinema.
There's nothing to get you up in a morning quite like a refreshing dip at Buley Rockhole or the cascading Florence Falls. Half a day can easily be spent soaking up the beautiful surrounds, but for those in search of adrenaline head into four-wheel-drive country. Discover the majestic Tjaynera Falls, historic Blythe Homestead Ruins and the imposing columns of the Lost City. Just make sure you're experienced at handling a 4WD!
For something spontaneous, hire a car and begin your drive in search of adventure. Explore Litchfield National Park, stopping at Adelaide River and War Cemetery en route for a taste of local history. Take an enjoyable walk around Wangi Falls or alternatively take the challenge of a bush trek around Tolmer Falls for those with a little more energy. Spend the night camping or stay over in Batchelor.
Melville and Bathurst Islands, both known as the Tiwi Islands, are located 80km north of Darwin in the Timor Sea. Catch a ferry or take a light aircraft to the islands in a fraction of the time to discover the Tiwi Aboriginal culture and people. Known for their art, craftwork and love of Australian football, share a day with the islanders for a different kind of experience. Visit the art gallery on Bathurst Island or explore dense rainforest and secluded beaches.
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