Darwin City Guide Introduction

Even though it’s closer to Jakarta than Sydney, Darwin is as Aussie as budgie smugglers, beer stubbies, boxing kangaroos and the sound of didgeridoos. But in the true sense of the word, it’s also a cultural melting pot – more than 100,000 local and folks from all around the world bubbling away together in 30C summer heat of the Northern Territory.

Up here, the only time anyone lives life in the fast lane is on the no speed limit highways in and out of town. Instead they prefer to make the most of their natural charms and just do two things incredibly well - mining and tourism.

And being just a boomerang throw from Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, Katherine Gorge, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land, you’re guaranteed that a Darwin holiday will be like nothing and nowhere else on the planet.

Best time to visit

Pack light because it’s t-shirt and shorts all year round. The seasons of dry are the most comfortable time to come(April -October) when days sit around 25-30C. But even in the wetter summer when temperatures can reach 40C, the city puts on “only in Darwin” activities that focus on the surrounding natural beauty, soul of the land and larrikin spirit.

Major events in Darwin and the NT

  • The Adelaide River races are held on June i(not a water event, but small people riding large horses around a track in the name of wagers and fun). There’s also a concert, dance and you can even grab a swag and camp out under the stars .

  • In August, do your part for the world’s most eco-sustainable boat race, the Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta in August, where contestants race their boats made of empty beer cans and cartons in the shallows of Mindil Beach.

  • Also in August, the Darwin Festival and its free outdoor events, theatre, music films and workshops. Over 18 nights of local, national and international talent on display.

  • The city makes the most of the downpours between October and March as mud racing season gets into full slide. Purpose-built vehicles (and even the odd humble VW Beetle) go up against each other on a twin track to get the fastest time.

  • In April, cowboys and cowgirls do-se-do down to the Aileron Bush Weekend for rodeo riding, Mexican Donkey racing, tug-of-war and plenty more bush spirited action.

    Getting around

    Taxis and shuttle buses run from the airport to the city and hotels. The Darwin bus service runs around town to all the major attractions 7 days a week on most routes. Hiring a car gives you the freedom to explore the city and national parks at your own pace. And with less traffic plus loads of bike tracks and hire shops, cycling is a handy and affordable way to get around.

    Hotel.com.au Staff Favourites

    The Hotel.com.au team have road-tested some of our Darwin hotels and here are a few personal recommendations of their favourite places to stay.


  • Marrakai Apartments

    4 self rated
    93 Smith Street Darwin 0800 Australia

    Located in the heart of Darwin, Marrakai offers apartments with a fully equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, and gorgeous city or ocean views. Guests have access to the swimming pool and barbecue are...more

    4 star
    26-32 Marina Boulevard Cullen Bay Darwin 0802 Australia

    With a stay at Cullen Bay Resorts in Larrakeyah, you'll be in the entertainment district and minutes from Cullen Bay Marina, and close to SKYCITY Casino. This 4-star resort is within close proximity o...more

    4.5 star
    116 The Esplanade Darwin 0800 Australia

    With a stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin Esplanade, you'll be centrally located in Darwin, steps from Bicentennial Park and Darwin Entertainment Centre. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity o...more

    4.5 self rated
    7 Kitchener Drive Darwin 0800 Australia

    A stay at Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront places you in the heart of Darwin, walking distance from Darwin Waterfront and Darwin Convention Centre. This 4.5-star hotel is within close proximity...more

    3 self rated
    64 The Esplanade Darwin 0800 Australia

    Located on the beautiful Esplanade, Palms City Resort offers you a relaxing oasis surrounded by lush tropical gardens in the heart of Darwin’s central business district. The centrally situated Palms C...more

    4 self rated
    7 Kitchener Drive Darwin 0800 Australia

    Situated in the heart of the vibrant Darwin Waterfront, Vibe Hotel features contemporary rooms with free WiFi and a lovely wave pool, just steps from shops and nightlife. With fresh and exciting décor...more

    4 self rated
    64 Cavenagh St Darwin 0800 Australia

    Surrounded by tropical gardens, with swimming pools and a waterfall at its centre, Travelodge Resort Darwin offers a tropical oasis in the heart of Darwin city centre. Free WiFi is provided. All rooms...more

    Map

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