17 Best Things to Do in Darwin, Australia

Darwin, Australia
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Darwin, the capital of Australia's Northern Territory, has it all: aboriginal culture, crocodile exhibits, biking trails, military bunkers, sunset watching spaces, an aquapark, and countless restaurants that serve mouth-watering local delicacies.

Planning a trip to the city but don't know what to do or where to go?

For your ease, here's a list of the best things to do in Darwin, Australia:

Feel the Fun at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct

People chilling at Darwin Waterfront
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Ride the tides at Wave Lagoon, where you can enjoy 10 patterns of tides with boogie boards and tubes from modest ripples to 1.20-meter high surges.

Smaller kids can play in the shallow waters, while pools go as deep as 2 meters.

Take a dip at Recreation Lagoon.

People enjoying at the wave pool at Darwin Waterfront Precinct
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Separated from Darwin Harbour by a sea wall and protective nets to stop the entry of stingers, this lagoon offers free access for diving in the area.

Play around at Aquapark, which is best for an outdoor recreational activity with the family.

Here, you'll have fun playing exciting games on the inflatable obstacle course!

Many people swimming and enjoying in an inflatable floating tube at Darwin Waterfront Precinct
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Be a pirate at Waterfront Playground.

Let your kids have their Jack Sparrow moment in this playground full of equipment that can let them slide, swing, jump, climb and crawl on the ropes like a pirate crew on a treasure hunt!

Food court at Darwin Waterfront Precinct
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Have Fun Times at the Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Fried sea food at Mindil Beach Sunset Market
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Eat your way through food stalls ranging from local specialties of kangaroo and crocodiles to global delicacies and treats.

Handcrafted dream catchers at Mindil Beach Sunset Market
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Want to buy souvenirs?

Have a look through the various indigenous and international arts and crafts stalls—they always have something for everyone!

Locals and tourists shopping at Mindil Beach Sunset Market
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Enjoy a massage, or have your fortune read!

There is more to the market than eating and shopping; there are many services accessible to be checked out.

Stalls at Mindil Beach Sunset Market
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Live the Luxurious Life at Mindil Beach Casino Resort

Far exterior view of the Mindil beach casino resort
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Experience the luxury of a 5-star casino resort and play to your heart's content.

If you want to spend your holidays like royalty, visit this place at least once.

Have a conference to hold?

Worry not; just because it's primarily a casino does not mean it lacks other functions.

There are super deluxe luxury spaces to hold your events and conferences if you wish to.

Ultimately, this place is famed for its casino, and the fact that it's located by a beach is the icing on the cake.

The more than 600 gaming machines stay open—whatever game you wish to play, you can bet it's there.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Stokes Hill Wharf

Strokes Hill Wharf with blue water of the ocean and rocks in the forefront
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The friendly atmosphere at the Strokes Hill Wharf makes it an ideal destination for a get-together with friends or to spend a holiday having a picnic.

Do you like to fish?

Sailboat with fishing pier in the background at Stokes Hill Wharf
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At Strokes Hill Wharf, you're welcome to grab your tools and get fishing!

In Darwin Harbor, you can buy tickets to a tour around the area or join a cruise.

A young couple enjoying the view of Stokes Hill Wharf from a cruise
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Enjoy your time as you like, watching the beautiful scenic atmosphere.

If you feel yourself getting hungry, grab a bite or a drink—there are bars, cafes, restaurants in the area.

Restaurant tables with a sea view at Stokes Hill Wharf
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Experience Adventure at Crocosaurus Cove

Crocodiles swimming at Crocosaurus Cove
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Ever seen a reptile show?

In the center of Darwin, you'll find the world's widest exhibit of Australian reptiles.

A crocodile with a wide opened mouth at Crocosaurus Cove
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Crocasaurus Cove holds up to 9 shows of reptiles per day.

Folks here are amazingly enthusiastic about showing off the various reptiles they have.

Crocodiles chilling under the water at Crocosaurus Cove
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The spectacle at Crocosaurus Cove is a brief intro to the creatures you are likely to happen upon in the Northern Territory region.

Freeze your moments forever, and let the team at the Cove help you capture the best photos with the critters!

Turtles in a pond at Crocosaurus Cove
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Savor the Sites at Bicentennial Park

Barrel with chairs at the lawn in Bicentennial Park
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If you happen to visit Darwin in August, you must check out the Darwin Festival held at Bicentennial Park.

You will get to experience the outdoor cabarets and cultural aspects of the Northern Territory.

Visitors bench with beautiful purple flowers on top at Bicentennial Park
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The martyrs of "the bombing of Darwin" have been given a home in this park with the memorials and monuments devoted to them.

You can learn about Australian history through them.

Display of a cannon at Bicentennial Park
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This is an excellent place to hang out with your friends and enjoy the sunset with a beautiful view overlooking Darwin Harbor.

Senior citizens riding old military jeep at Bicentennial Park
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Exterior view of the Museum and art gallery of the northern territory
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Do you want to know the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory better?

To learn more about the history, culture, and science related to the territory, visiting MAGNT is a perfect choice.

Check out the Defence of Darwin Experience: a multimedia show and retelling of the Northern Territory's history related to WWII, focusing on the bombing of Darwin.

The MAGNT art exhibition comprises more than 30,000 arts and crafts items for visitors to admire.

Explore the Flora at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Artificial fountain and a pond at Botanical Garden in Darwin
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If you've already checked out the botanic garden's information center, then take a walk through the rainforest and find that waterfall deep in the forest.

Narrow paved path with white flowering shrubs on both the sides at George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
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It can be your own little adventure!

Count the butterflies in the Sensory Garden, have some coffee and cake at the Eva Café, or try out the barbecue next to the lily pond.

Beautiful pathway with green plants and trees along the way in George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
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You can even have a picnic on the lawn!

Greenhouse at George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
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Taste-Test the Local Delicacies at the Parap Village Market

Stalls selling clothes at Parap Village Market
Stephen Barnett from Darwin, Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a fun time at the Parap Village Market, where you can shop for traditional art and craft souvenirs or taste-test the local cuisine.

There are many cool things to do in a place as lively as this!

Wander through the market to discover the traditional talents of Northern Territory artists: jewelry, clothing, beauty products, potted plants, and more.

Sample the delicious dishes on offer, too.

After all, you can't truly get to know a place unless you've checked out their food.

Learn the Military History of Darwin

Display of an aircraft at Darwin Military Museum
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If you are interested in getting to know the military history of Darwin along with having a glance at incredible artifacts from the WWII era, then visiting the Darwin Military Museum should be on your to-do list.

Abandoned old military tanker at Darwin Military Museum
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Initially meant to be an artillery museum, the collection now comprises items from not only the war but from the navy, Air Force, and various combat forces as well.

Display of an old aircraft at Darwin Military Museum
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This museum contains gun turrets used in 1942 and is dedicated to recollecting the artifacts related to events such as the bombing of Darwin.

Gun emplacement kept in display at Darwin Military Museum
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Tour the Darwin Aviation Museum

Front view of an old aircraft with fish snout structure at Darwin Aviation Museum
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For those that either come from a military background or find themselves fascinated with military equipment and history, the Darwin Aviation Museum is a well-known site with a wide array of aviation-related items to be displayed.

If you like watching Air force crafts, the Boeing-52G-Bomber, an ancient piece of brilliant art, might catch your attention.

Closer view of ann aircraft at Darwin Aviation Museum
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Check out the bomber from WW2 times, along with a fragment of a bomb back from the bombing of Darwin.

From Auster J/5P Autocar to Westland Wessex HAS.31B N7-202 and Allison J33 to Wright R-2600-13 Twin Cyclone, the famous aviation museum has it all—feast your eyes on these aircraft and aircraft engines related to the Northern Territory military history.

Aircraft with a black panther logo on the sides at Darwin Aviation Museum
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Test Your Biking Skills at Charles Darwin National Park

View of the Darwin skyline from Charles Darwin National Park
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Unlike other sites of similar nature, this national park is famously known for its concrete bunkers dating back to WWII.

To make things more exciting for tourists, one of those bunkers was transformed into memorabilia, where visitors can visit.

Snail on a bark at Charles Darwin National Park
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For those interested in mountain biking, this is the perfect place to test your skills and challenge the difficult trail known as Spitfire.

Bike trails in this national park are a major attraction for biking enthusiasts.

City skyline from Charles Darwin National Park
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Charles Darwin National Park is known for having the best network of bike trails in Darwin and for its historical sites dating back to WWII and its beautiful views.

Explore the Majestic Australian Coastlines

A yatch boat sailing against the vibrant orangish pink sky during sunset at Australian Coastlines
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Tours, cruises, and boats.

Who wouldn't love enjoying a trip with their friends on a cruise?

Enjoy a tour of the coastlines with your gang—there is nothing quite it!

Bird's eye view of the cliffs along Australian Coastlines
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Let go of the tension in your shoulders and have fun sightseeing with other guests.

Enjoy the dinner and entertainment aboard the cruise with the marvelous sunset as your backdrop.

Tour the City on a Double-Decker Bus

Red Double Decker Tour bus in Darwin
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Why not get a ticket to a double-decker tour bus and explore what Darwin has to offer?

Go down at various stops that you might not have added to your itinerary, let your legs relax a bit, and enjoy the exciting atmosphere with other tourists.

Beautiful view of a Double-Decker Bus passing over a waterbody on a bridge
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Coordinate with your tour guide and make arrangements to stop at places that may be hidden gems or perhaps places that might be more enjoyable than the city's most famous sights.

Immerse Yourself in the 1934 Qantas Hangar's Vehicle Collection

Despite the aviation-themed name, there is a collection of cars here rather than what you would expect to see in an aircraft hangar.

The 1934 Qantas Hangar is a monumental labor of love of vehicle owners or the Automotive Enthusiastic Club showcasing automotive-related restorations and collections.

There are various kinds of machinery, automobiles, and motorcycles on display here.

You could probably explore the entire collection within 30 minutes; however, if you're super into cars, add more time.

As this is an old-time building with high ceilings and no air-conditioning, remember to wear comfortable clothes and carry a water bottle when you visit the place.

Enjoy Feeding the Fish at Aquascene Fish Feeding Sanctuary

Fishes swarming around the tourists with food at Aquascene Fish Feeding Sanctuary
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Since the 1950s, there has been an extraordinary shore phenomenon that occurs when the briny tropical high tides of Darwin's Doctors Gully wash up onto a special beach created by the Uluru range.

This is no ordinary escarpment, and in 1981, it was recognized as a fish sanctuary because of the diverse marine life that abounds within the Aquascene setting.

Every day, the peaceful, charming waters near Aquascene teem with an amazing array of vibrant translucent sea creatures like rays, mullet, bream, and much more.

Kids and adults enjoying feeding the Fishes at Aquascene Fish Feeding Sanctuary
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Aquascene Fish Feeding Sanctuary receives media coverage from several sources and attracts up to 70,000 visitors who come every year to travel and appreciate the magic attraction that it offers to families around the world.

This Darwin attraction features beautiful shade, a kids' play area, phenomenal views, and gardens that house beautiful tropical orchids and unique rainforest-like environments.

Taking a stroll along its beautiful stretch of rainforest will lead you to the town's original source of water called Peel's Well.

Recall the Battle of Darwin at WWII Oil Storage Tunnels

Long dark WWII Oil Storage Tunnels
Alex Healing, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're a history buff, exploring the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels in Darwin is one of the most interesting things to do.

Sweat, tears, and bloodshed went into constructing these tunnels in hopes that this project would help win World War II.

Made by the Civil Construction Corps, the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels are a unique event location and tourist attraction next to Darwin Wharf Precinct on Kitchener Drive.

Dark tunnel with dim lights and oil pipes at WWII Oil Storage Tunnels
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It was restored and repurposed in 1992 to pay homage to the Battle of Darwin (sometimes known as 'Australia's Pearl Harbour') and the lives of 243 people that the incident took five decades ago.

Nestled under the cliffs of the city center, the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels is just steps away from the Esplanade and has a knowledgeable gatekeeper that will impart historical tunnel-related information to you.

This attraction has tons of history books for sale and displays and photographs of the rich history of Darwin in the World War II era, including mementos from serving soldiers and brave locals who helped protect the country from Japanese attacks.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for a laid-back place to leave your troubles behind, then Darwin is a good bet.

Offering many things to do that are both relaxing and entertaining for visitors of all ages, this tropical destination is home to markets, tranquil bars, and restaurants with an international twist.

In fact, Darwin is one of those cities that make visitors want to extend their stay because almost everything on offer is interesting and fun.

So no matter what kind of traveler you are, whether it be for experiencing exciting adventures or simply enjoying a nice getaway, a visit to Darwin will surely be memorable!