A retired business owner, my passions are cooking, photography and eating. I use all three of these when I write for recipeyum.com.au which is on HubGarden
Published December 4th 2017
Some good ideas on what to see and do in and around Darwin
Darin - it seems that most people either love it or hate it. I have been here several times as used to have family living there, and it is a very relaxed, casual way of life, with no one rushing to get anywhere at any time!
There is quite a bit to see and the town itself is quite small, but there are places out of Darwin itself that are well worth visiting.
One of the things I like about Darwin is the vegetation/plants that grow in this tropical, humid climate. Here, they can grow the most beautiful tropical fruits like mangoes, lychees, bananas, pawpaw, and these grow with little care.
This is a list of just some of the attractions that are a must see when you visit this small but easy going city:
1. DARWIN JUMPING CROCODILE CRUISE This was the first tour I ever did out of Darwin, and I was awestruck - I found the strength of these man-eaters incredible!
They are so well fed by these tours that they are waiting along the channel that the boats go down. It was breathtaking watching as the crocodiles jumped up to get the hunk of meat that someone was dangling over the side!
2. KAKADU NATIONAL PARK Kakadu is a unique place and although it can be done in a day tour, I do not think you can do this vast and exotic area, any justice in just a few hours.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and is a massive NT nature reserve, being about 4.2 million acres, or 20,000 sq kms. There is so much to do, see and explore with small waterholes, billabongs, and lily-strewn waterways - you could say that Kakadu is an introduction to wild Australia. It is supposedly home to about 10,000 crocodiles, as well as 2000 plants.
To explain about kakadu would be an article in itself, so if you click on either this site or this one, you will be able to see all the things worth seeing and doing at Kakadu.
3. DARWIN WATERFRONT COMPLEX This is fairly new (about 6 years) and I was amazed at how this fabulous area "sprung up" in just a few visits, and it is just a 5-minute walk from the centre of the city. It is situated around the harbour and has hotels, guest houses, restaurants and cafes, as well as a wave lagoon pool, a saltwater recreation lagoon with a man-made beach and shady lawn beyond.
There are also beauty and/or hair treatment places, souvenirs and lush parkways with ocean views. Once again it was a casual, no fuss place and we ate there several times and were not disappointed! Their fresh seafood is delicious, as it should be there, and the choice was excellent.
Here is a video clip which will show you more than my photos!
This precinct is situated on the ocean side by Stokes Hill Wharf, and from here you can also take some sunset cruises around Darwin Harbour, including dinner cruises.
4. DARWIN MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
I do remember walking in and seeing the huge crocodile (here I go again about crocodiles!) that is near the entrance of this free, enthralling museum! My son was the first to put his head near it and I believe the croc is called 'Sweetheart'.
Sweetheart (not my son) - the crocodile
'Sweetheart' was a large male saltwater crocodile and is a legendary part of Northern Territory history. In the 1970's, Sweetheart became "famous" for attacking dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot. And incidentally my photo does not do 'Sweetheart' justice as he does not look so big in it! Interesting details about 'Sweetheart' are:
Total weight: 780 kg
Total length: 5.1 m
Snout-vent length: 2.4 m
Maximum girth: 2.3 m
Stomach contents: Pig bones, two Long-necked turtles and parts of a large barramundi
There is also a great reminder of Cyclone Tracey, however, this has changed since I was there. It was over 20 years old and the museum unveiled a refreshed Cyclone Tracy exhibition ahead of the 40th anniversary of the disaster. As well as all this there are some interesting art pieces in this museum.
5. LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARK
This is about an hour and 20-minute drive from Darwin and has one of the most beautiful, peaceful and clear swimming holes I have seen in Australi, and this one was Buley Rockhole, which is shaded by rainforest trees.
However, you can also swim in the crystal clear waterholes beneath the magnificent spring-fed waterfalls of Florence and Wangi Falls. There are many nice walks through tall, shady trees including one to the Tolmer Falls viewing platform. Below this, there are caves in the red cliffs and these help to protect two rare bat colonies.
6. DARWIN HARBOUR BOAT TRIP
This was a trip that lasted a few hours, and I distinctly remember it as we were given crocodile to taste and it was delicious! I had only ever seen it once before on a menu and was very impressed with the crocodile dip we were offered, though I notice some of the passengers would not even try it!
Mangrove trees in harbour cruise
The water was murky a lot of the time, however, it was incredibly peaceful as we chugged along the channels and had a running commentary about the mangrove trees and also saw the crocodile traps to stop crocs getting further inland.
Moving slowly along the water ways lined with lush growth
7. DARWIN CITY CROCOSAURUS
Here, there was a complex in the middle of Darwin City which had crocodiles!
My grandchildren were lucky enough to hold a baby one - and note - his mouth is tied together, though the crocodile did not attempt to move - probably used to being handled!
Holding a baby crocodile
There was a viewing platform over the crocodiles and you could also go in a tank called the "Cage of Death" and be lowered underwater for a better view, however, we did not do this one!
At this stage, you could be thinking there are a lot of crocodiles in Darwin, and I was told that people do not swim in the ocean because of these! There probably are, and several recent attacks have made it imperative that you go near water with the utmost care in and around Darwin!
Other places of interest you could go, but ones I have not yet done include:
Tour to Tiwi Island
About 3 other museums
Australian Pearling Exhibition
World War 11 Oil storage Tunnels
Australian aviation Heritage centre
Qantas Empire airways hangar
Fannie Bay Gaol
Katherine with its beautiful gorges
Darwin Hop on Hop off bus
The only thing I do not like about Darwin are the bats - they scare me!