Darwin, situated on the Timor Sea, is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. It has a population of approximately 124, 800, making it the largest and most populated city in the Northern Territory yet the least populous of all Australia's capital cities. The region has a tropical climate with a wet and a dry season.
Having grown from a pioneer outpost and a small port into one of Australia's most modern and multicultural cities, its proximity to Asia makes it an important Australian gateway to countries such as Indonesia and East Timor.
But don't be fooled. It doesn't mean that if a city has a small population, it is less interesting. Think again. Take it from the old man; big things are wrapped in small packages.
Arm yourself with a set of wheels and get ready for a drive that will take your breath away ? not with speed but with the beautiful places that you're going to see in Darwin.
Let's start with the car because you can't drive a car if you don't have one. *chuckling*. Find a car rental with VroomVroomVroom that will surely fit your style and your budget for a road trip adventure in nowhere else but Darwin.
I have here some of places where you will surely enjoy not just driving but also the view.
What are the must-see destinations to visit?
Not short at all of attractions, the coastal city of Darwin has plenty of both spectacular views to see and a bounty of activities to have you coming back for more. Here's a list of super fun things to do in Darwin that we recommend to you.
The Berry Springs Nature Park
Turn west off the Stuart Highway about 47 km south of Darwin. Our destination is about 10 km along Cox Peninsula Road. The first stop: Berry Springs Nature Park.
During World War II, Berry Springs was part of a camp set up by the armed forces for the 100,000 personnel based in the area. And you can still see the remains of the huts and weirs that were built there.
Berry Springs Nature Park protects a large part of the Berry Creek catchment. Berry Creek starts from a number of springs, forms a small creek then reaches Darwin Harbour through a mangrove lined estuary. The park is an ideal area for recreational activities and is also a nice swimming spot. If you swim with goggles, you can see many small native fishes. If you're not into swimming, then you can enjoy food in shady picnic areas.
The Butterfly Gorge Nature Park
The Park is near Tjuwaliyn Hot Springs Park which is approximately 130 km from Katherine and 200 km from Darwin along the old Stuart Highway scenic route. The final 17 km into the Park is a four-wheel drive track and caravans cannot be taken into this Park.
The beautiful Butterfly Gorge provides shelter for thousands of Crow Butterflies. There are also rock pools, which are shaded by paperbarks thus making the area alluring for a refreshing swim.
This quiet gorge is located at the base of a low sandstone plateau and the rock faces offer beautiful shaded walks and stunning vista. Butterfly Gorge Nature Park is usually open from May to October each year.
The Casuarina Coastal Reserve
If you're looking for white sandy beach, mangroves, historic heritage and wildlife, then the Casuarina Coastal Reserve should be included in your stop over.
The Reserve is located in Darwin's northern suburbs and can be entered via the Rapid Creek, Trower Road (Brinkin), Lee Point or Buffalo Creek Roads.
The beaches are surrounded by Casuarina trees and beautiful sandstone cliffs. Behind the beaches and dunes are the mangroves, monsoon vine thickets and paperbark forests.
Offshore is Old Man Rock or the Dariba Nunggalinya which is registered as an Aboriginal sacred site. Fishing in the area is permitted but disturbing the rock in any way or the removal of shellfish at the site is strictly prohibited. You can also see World War II artillery observation posts that provide reminders of the area's wartime involvement.
The area is also a popular picnic spot because of plenty shades. There are also cycle paths throughout the reserve and along the main roads. Animals such as ospreys, brahimny kites, red-tailed black-cockatoos, cormorants and gulls can be seen along the dunes or soaring in the skies. And during low tide, a variety of marine lives in the rock pools are visible.
During the tropical summer, from October to April, swimming is not allowed due to box jellyfish being common at this time of the year. But here's an interesting detail: there is a stretch of beach, north of the Dripstone picnic area, where nudity is permitted within the signpost boundaries.
The Mindil Sunset Beach Markets
The Mindil Sunset Beach Markets is where you can get up, close and personal with the locals. Because Darwin is very humid, the markets are open in the winter months - April to October each year. There is ample parking spots to park your hire car, so you can shop all night without worrying about how to get it home.
Other things to do in Darwin
The Deckchair Cinema is a must do for the film buffs out there, or anyone really who loves spending some time outside under the stars. In the dry season, the Film Society put on a show so grab yourself a cushion, park up your Darwin rental car and relax under the stars with a good flick.
Darwin's Natural Springs are a must for the more adventurous, looking for something to do that's off the beaten path. If you would prefer to enjoy natural springs there are a few located on the outskirts of Darwin. Due to some of the springs not being located on Gazetted roads, make sure your Darwin car hire can be driven to these roads beforehand.
Leanyer Recreational Park is an awesome fun filled day for the family where you can park your hire car up and just relax or slip and slide in the sun. With both wet and dry activities, there really is something for everyone. The best news yet is that it is absolutely free!
Crocosaurus Cove is a great days exploration and adrenaline packed adventure. The kids will love this opportunity to see the Crocs up close and if you are feeling particularly brave, you can even take a dive with these magnificent beasts. Taking the drive out in your hire car to see the show is sight to remember.
With many of the Northern Territory's major attractions like Kakadu on Darwin's doorstep it's a great place to base yourself. You are sure to find many ways to fill your days whilst in Darwin and a good feed of fresh seafood is not hard to find either.