I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne, Victoria.
Published October 24th 2018
Pack your bathers and shorts as Darwin is the tropical paradise for your next summer holiday!
What you first need to know about Darwin is that during the Australian summer, it is Darwin's wet season. It's a tropical climate, with the seasons named 'wet' and the 'dry,' instead of the four normal seasonal changes. The wet period is from November to April, which means a city chock full of sweltering humidity. As a naturally curly haired woman, I found this to be a tragic discovery and soon threw out my light oils to trade them in for some thick hair goo to slick down those curls.
Apart from that unearthing, I found Darwin to be a booming place of adventure. With wildlife, water activities, and culture. Whether you're a newbie, a long-time local or just stopping through, this list of summer adventures is for you.
The reptile beasts of Australia are by far one of the best things to see. As these creatures are very dangerous, I definitely recommend joining Darwin tour, as you are warned to not trek out to the crocs alone. The Jumping Crocodile Cruise from Darwin is a great choice and was one of my highlights from the trip. Simply float down the river and discover the stacks of flora and fauna along the way. The guides dangle a tasty croc treat on a fishing rope and wait while these magnificent creatures glide over to surround the boat. Butterflies burst into your stomach as you see the crocs leap from the waters just metres from your face. After seeing the crocs splash around, you will head to the Wetlands Visitors Centre as well as the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. Here you can discover more about the wetland's ecosystem, and where I marvelled at the unique beauty of Darwin.
For a day trip outside the hustle and bustle of the city, there is no greater pick than the Litchfield National Park. Make sure to bring your camera as this place is jam-packed with photo opportunities. Discover the secrets within as you travel the hours trip from Darwin's city. there are a number of activities for you to try out, including swimming, bushwalking, waterfalls, and wildlife. Cool off from the Australian heat and plunge into the countless swimming spots. You can choose from the calming watering holes or thundering waterfalls. My favourite watering hole was the Buley Rockholes, with plenty of room and holes to sit or swim in. After this relaxing adventure, I visited the Wangi Falls, a cascading waterfall that flowed into the pools beneath them. After a quick dip, I relaxed in the shady area with my packed lunch, the marvellous scenery is well worth the stop.
If you want to get your blood pumping, try out one of the many bush tracks scattering the area. Lace up those hiking shoes and start walking, where you can discover the native plants and animals of the area. There are many lookout points along the way, with Instagram worthy views.
But by far one of my favourite attractions was the Cathedral Termite Mounds. These natural sky-scrapers were made by the architectures of the animal kingdom, the termites! These large mounds are their homes, standing a whopping seven metres in height. Even if you aren't a fan of the creepy crawlies, you will be in awe when facing these massive mounds.
If you choose to visit Darwin for its shopping, your first stop is the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Nestled right along the iconic strip overlooking Mindil Beach, this market is bursting with over 300 stalls to choose from. The atmosphere is buzzing with live music, a huge variety of cuisines on offer, as well as cute souvenirs for back home gifts. Wander through the market before grabbing some food and taking to the beach shore to watch the amazing sunset.
Escape the busy roads and step into the tranquil gardens of Darwin. Stretching across a whopping 200 hectares of the city, covered with bright green grass, colourful flowers, and lush foliage. I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon picnic in the soft grass as I soaked up the sun rays!
For a scorching summer day, the waterfront lagoon is the perfect place to visit. This man-made, beach pool is a natural ecosystem, with fish and algae co-existing with humans in the lagoon. So, don't be afraid if you feel something brushing against your legs, as it's only an innocent fish and not a huge man-eating shark (I speak from experience.)
For an unforgettable spot, venture to Darwin's harbour. This spot offers history, culture, and natural beauty all at once. See the native plant life surrounding the area, including the famous mangroves. If you walk to the outer areas, you can see the cultural Aboriginal sites in this area.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
By MorePix - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34826264
Take a break from the scorching heat and visit the cool halls of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Stroll through the halls and see the beautiful works of art, ranging from European, aboriginal, modern, or sculptural pieces. For the science buffs, the museum is crammed full of scientific sections, illustrating the land's evolution and native wildlife. The museum also lets you discover Darwin's past, with historic artefacts depicting each era. There is a large part for the aboriginal people, which I found particularly interesting. After a full morning there, I enjoyed a coffee as the adjoining café, also buying myself a unique aboriginal art that was available in the gift shop.
When summer is in full swing, there is no greater activity than a festival. The Darwin International Film Festival is run at the start of summer and is jam-packed with incredible films. By far the best part of this activity is where it's held. The Deckchair Cinema, Darwin's outdoor cinema, has a stunning view of the waterfront as well as the bright city lights. Simply head on down and park yourself on one of the comfy deckchairs provided as you soak up the tropic night heat. The festival's goal is to provide unique films from across the globe to both the locals and tourists of Darwin, showing unique films you wouldn't normally see on the big screen.
Regardless of whether you're looking for a relaxing break amongst the stunning scenery or a more upbeat adventure, Darwin has you covered.