Feed crocodiles, take a cruise on the harbor at sunset, learn about Aboriginal culture, or enjoy a night out in the tropics in Darwin, the Northern Territory’s capital city.
Darwin was founded in 1869. It was named after the English naturalist Charles Darwin by his fellow explorers, who navigated the Timor Sea aboard The Beagle. The city’s recent past has been tumultuous. Darwin was bombed during World War II, and in 1974 a cyclone destroyed it all over again. About 150,000 people call modern-day Darwin home, including some of the territory’s traditional owners, the Larrakia people.
It’s best to visit Darwin from May to September, when it’s not too hot or too wet for outdoor activities. On a Thursday or a Sunday, visit the Sunset Markets on Mindil Beach. On any day, enjoy a harbor cruise from Stokes Hill Wharf, or a movie under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema.
Although the beaches look tempting, don’t jump in anywhere to cool off: crocodiles are abundant in the area. If you’d like to meet a few, visit Crocosaurus Cove and Crocodylus Park. For a safe swim, head to the huge Darwin Wave Lagoon.
Book a tour or rent a four-wheel-drive car and explore the iconic Australian outback in Kakadu, the country’s largest national park. Be sure to bring your binoculars to spot wallabies, swamp birds, reptiles and dingoes. Hike around and find waterfalls to swim under or ancient Aboriginal rock art depicting Dreamtime stories.
Darwin’s turbulent history and dynamic art scene provide plenty to do during the wet season. Get insight into Aboriginal culture at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. To learn about the 1942 bombings, immerse yourself in the Defence of Darwin Experience or see an American B-52 bomber at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre.
This tropical city is unlike any other city in the world. Come to Darwin to experience the true Australian wilderness and the long, developing story of humankind’s relationship with the Territory’s unique natural environment.