Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, is a gateway to tropical sunshine, some of Australia’s most incredible national parks, fascinating Indigenous culture, and a wealth of Australian history. And there’s no shortage of fun to be found for families.

Head to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory to see stunning works of Indigenous art and fascinating cultural artefacts. Learn about Darwin’s WWII history and the bombing of Darwin at the Darwin Military Museum. For something a little less wild visit the
Darwin Waterfront Precinct to feed the fish, peruse shops, cafes and restaurants and to watch the extraordinary sunsets over Darwin Harbour.

Enjoy a close encounter with the crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove, or in the wild on a jaw dropping Jumping Crocodile Cruise along the Adelaide River. Or take a trip to explore the Litchfield National Park, the Tiwi Islands and UNESCO’s World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. The sprawling nature reserve, Australia’s largest land based National park, is packed with stunning rocky ridges, lush flood plains, tranquil billabongs and croc filled estuaries, and is home to some of the best-preserved examples of ancient Indigenous rock art in the country, making it one of the most fascinating and photogenic travel destinations on earth.

You’ll also have the opportunity see a huge variety of native Australian plant and animal life including some of its rarest birds. Kakadu is also home to some of the world’s oldest historical records of any group of people in the world, with Aboriginal rock paintings dating back to up to 20,000 years.  

Darwin For Every Age

Hire a bike from a Spinway Bike Station to cycle around the streets and waterfront districts of Darwin. The Darwin Waterfront has two enormous swimming lagoons, the Wave Lagoon and the Recreation Lagoon, both of which are popular with families. At Leanyer Recreation Park you’ll find plenty of thrills and spills at the waterpark, with its three huge water slides, pool and skate park. Or for water fun in a natural environment head to Berry Springs Nature Park to dive into a natural clear swimming holes filled with small native fish. Head to Kingpin Family Entertainment Centre for the 22-lane bowling alley, laser skirmish arena, rope-climbing course and arcade games. Climb inside up the walls of a World War II oil tank at recreational climbing centre, The Rock. Or put the pedal to the metal to race around the Hidden Valley Raceway with Darwin Kart Hire.

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After taking a leisurely dip in the clear freshwater waterholes at Berry Springs Nature Park, around 40 minutes from the Darwin city centre, head to the Territory Wildlife Park. Set within 400 hectares of natural bushland, kids will have the opportunity to see native wildlife up close in natural habitat displays. They’ll come face to prehistoric face with a fearsome four-metre Saltwater crocodile as they venture below the water’s surface at the Aquarium, and get amongst giant Barramundi in the walk-through tunnel. Afterwards, take your tots to Crazy Acres Mango Farm & Café to run about and indulge in mango-infused treats. Situated on a family run mango farm, The Café is famous for its homemade ice cream and menu of homemade mango delights. Then, if the kids are after even more fishy encounters, head back to Darwin city and Aquascene where they can to wade in the water and feed a variety of wild fish.

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The Darwin Military museum offers kids a fascinating glimpse into Darwin’s war time involvement during WWII and the 64 Japanese raids that took place in Darwin during the war. The Australian Aviation Heritage Centre is one of the major aviation museums in the country with an incredible collection of aircraft including a massive B52 bomber. And at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, kids can learn about the stories behind Indigenous art and view an amazing collection of cultural artefacts. Lizard loving kids will love Crocosaurus Cove and its display of Australian reptiles, the largest in the world. And at Crocodylus Park, home to over 12,000 crocodiles from 30cm long hatchlings to half ton beasts, the kids can watch jumping crocs, hold a baby crocodile and visit the crocodile museum. There’s also other wildlife, including big cats, primates, birds and other reptiles, and opportunities for the kids to get up close with meerkats and small monkeys.

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Teens in search of thrills and spills should head straight to Crocosaurus Cove to learn the difference between freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. Those aged 15 and over can then get face to snout with the prehistoric beasts in a heart bursting fifteen-minute Cage of Death dive. If you prefer your animal experiences on the wild side, take a Jumping Crocodile Cruise along the Adelaide River, home to 1,600 saltwater crocodiles in total, where hungry crocs launch themselves out of the water at the boat for the guide’s proffered snacks. If you prefer to indulge in croc free water activities, grab your boogie board and head to Darwin’s Wave Lagoon, where you’ll find man-made waves reaching almost two metres in height. Then after all that adventure kick back at the open-air Deckchair Cinema and watch the stars while you watch a movie.

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APRIL Territory Taste Festival – Enjoy two days of cooking demonstrations and master classes combined with family-focused entertainment and activities on the Darwin Waterfront. JUNE Darwin Triple Crown V8 Supercars – Rev up and for the Darwin round of the V8 Supercar Championship. JULY Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta – Watch on as inventive Territorians build and race boats from recycled cans and milk cartons. AUGUST The Darwin Festival – An 18-day celebration of music, theatre, visual art, dance, cabaret and more.

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The Northern Territory’s multicultural and dynamic capital Darwin is incredible for families, with so much to see and do. 1. Get face to fang with a saltwater croc at Crocosaurus Cove. 2. Float, surf or frolic in the Darwin Wave lagoon. 3. Explore Indigenous art and artefacts at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 4. Feed the fish at Aquascene on the Harbour foreshore. 5. Take a trip to breathtaking Kakadu National Park. 6. Go croc spotting on the Yellow Water Billabong. 7. Enjoy all the fun activities of The Darwin Waterfront Precinct. 8. Take a cruise for one of Darwin’s famous orange sunsets. 9. Stock up on tropical treats at Parap Markets. 10. Swim in the natural waterholes at Berry Springs Nature Park.

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In Darwin and Kakadu, there are six different seasons, based on Aboriginal knowledge of changes in the weather, which plants are flowering and what food is abundant. It is hot during the daytime all year around with a daily average of 32 degrees Celsius in December, the hottest month. The dry season from April to October is the best time for travel to Darwin with beautiful weather and blue skies. The tropical summer (or wet season) runs from November to March bringing with it regular downpours, high humidity, spectacular flooding and electrifying afternoon storms. On the plus side, the wet season is the most spectacular time to visit with the landscape coming to vibrant green life. It is also the cheapest time to visit Darwin. Hotels can be half the price at this time of year and there are hardly any crowds, so it’s an ideal time to visit if you’re are on a tight budget.

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The food scene in Darwin is thriving. With incredible fresh produce and influences from a variety of cuisines and cultures from the more than 50 nationalities of people who call the city home, there’s no shortage of excellent restaurants and al fresco cafes, markets and food festivals. From fresh Italian pasta and authentic Thai to fresh seafood and native delights including kangaroo, buffalo and crocodile, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There’s a great selection of eateries at Stokes Hill Wharf and the Darwin Waterfront Precinct – which is a great place to enjoy a bite to eat as you watch one of Darwin’s epic sunsets. Darwin’s open-air food markets are a dining must for foodie families. At Mindil Beach markets, dine on a selection of tasty treats from a large selection of food trucks and stalls along with street performers to entertain the kids. And be sure to head to Parap Village Market on Saturday mornings for a bowl of its legendry laksa.

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Active families can enjoy a host of free activities in and around Darwin. There are plenty of safe walking and bike paths lined with playgrounds and picnic areas. The George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens is a tropical paradise where you can explore or picnic under a canopy of tall palms. There’s also a fantastic playground with a plant maze, sand castle fort and a bamboo ambush trail for games of hide and seek. Take a dip in the pristine waters at Berry Springs Nature Park, around a 40 minute drive from the city. Meander the Mindil Markets to enjoy free street performances including circus acts and musicians that are sure to entertain the kids. And it doesn’t cost a cent to enjoy one of Darwin’s epic sunsets; Mindil Beach, Cullen Bay and East Point Reserve are the top spots for the best views.

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