The NT capital of Darwin is the perfect jumping off point to explore the Australian state
Up close croc encounters, vibrant markets, history and fab foodie fare - whether as a standalone city break or as a gateway to explore the surrounding Top End, Darwin is packed with things to see and do. And with 48-hours to spare, you can see plenty
DAY ONE - MORNING
Brunch like a local at Laneway Speciality Coffee, Darwin
Get your coffee fix and experience Darwin’s burgeoning cafe culture at the same time. Thanks to a surge in coffee shops over the past five years, lacklustre lattes and mediocre macchiatos are a thing of the past. Join caffeine-hungry Darwinites at favourite local haunts such as Four Birds and Laneway Speciality Coffee.
Now that you’re fed it’s time to feed the fish. An institution for 60 years, daily hand-feeding at Doctors Gully sees hundreds of fish arrive with the high tide to chomp on proffered stale bread. Check out their website for feeding times ahead of your visit.
The Oil Storage Tunnels offer a glimpse into Darwin’s importance during World War II
Darwin’s importance during World War II - when it became the first mainland site in Australia to come under direct attack - can be seen in the city’s array of military heritage sites. Two of the best are the Military Museum in which memorabilia and photographs sit alongside a new hi-tech interactive experience that gives visitors an immersive insight into Darwin’s role during the conflict. History-lovers will also love the impressive underground Oil Storage Tunnels that were constructed to protect oil supplies from the Japanese.
Darwin's longest-running markets at Mindil Beach are great for a walking dinner degustation
Forgo a sit down dinner and tickle your tastebuds on a walking degustation around Darwin’s evening markets.
The most famous - and longest running - Mindil Beach has been a must-visit for locals and tourists since the mid-80s. While there’s plenty to buy, food is the main attraction. Just like Darwin itself the markets are a bona fide melting pot of cultures (people from more than 50 nationalities call the city home) and the mouthwatering array of stalls serve up everything from Greek and Thai, to Indian and Brazilian. Eat and drink, listen to buskers and soak up the friendly vibe all beneath a tropical NT sunset. Held on Thursday and Sunday evenings, the market is around two-kilometres from the city centre.
DAY TWO - MORNING
Make like Mick Dundee and explore Kakadu - Australia’s largest national park
Covering 20,000 square kilometres the World Heritage-listed Kakadu found international fame after being used as a backdrop for scenes in Crocodile Dundee. Go walkabout and see cascading waterfalls, deep billabongs and miles of tranquil wetland, alongside plenty of wildlife, crocs included, of course.
Cool off in either the wave-pool or saltwater lagoon within Darwin's Waterfront Precinct
Back in the city cool off at Darwin’s newly developed Waterfront Precinct. Here, you can relax in the wave-pool or saltwater lagoon, where locals swim without fear of becoming a meal for one of the harbour’s resident crocodiles. Speaking of, you can get up close with the fearsome replies at Crocodylus Park which houses more than a thousand of them. While at Crocosaurus Cove you can go one step further and literally get face-to-face with the man-eaters via their ‘cage of death’ experience.
Darwin's open-air Deckchair Cinema is a must-do for any traveller
A hop and a skip away from the Waterfront Precinct along the esplanade and you’ll find the open-air Deckchair Cinema. Set on the edge of the harbour, the venue screens films seven nights weekly during the dry season (April to November). Bring a picnic, take in the sunset, seascape and bats overhead, and settle back in a deckchair to watch a movie under the NT stars. Magical.
Where to stay: A handy five-minute walk from the CBD and overlooking the Darwin Waterfront development, the Adina Vibe Waterfront hotel is easily the best area to base yourself. Within spitting distance of the lagoon and wave pool - and with in-house swimming pool, spa and gym facilities - there’s plenty to keep kids and adults alike entertained.
Getting there: Darwin is easily accessible from all Australian capitals with all major domestic airlines operating daily flights to the capital.