Darwin & surrounds
Here for the entire NBL Blitz Darwin? You lucky thing! That’s heaps of time to explore. When you’re not courtside catching all the action, there is plenty to see and do elsewhere, from adrenaline-filled adventures to relax and unwind options.
DAY 1 Thursday
Ease into your trip with brunch at the Darwin Waterfront where you’ll find alfresco restaurants, casual cafés and pubs with all-day menus. This is where the Pro Hustle 3x3 tournament will take place – don’t miss it! Pack your bathers and enjoy a swim in the Recreation Lagoon or catch a wave in the Wave Pool. Make your way to Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of the CBD to catch crocodile- and fish-feeding shows, and get your heart racing in the Cage of Death. Here you come nose to snout with a five-metre saltwater crocodile – with just a piece of plastic between you! End your day with a stunning sunset at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, where you’ll find a huge variety of food stalls offering everything from Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese and Mexican to Sri Lankan, Spanish, Turkish and Aussie cuisine.
DAY 2 Friday
Enjoy a fortifying breakfast at one of the many city cafés, then check out the impressive local street art in the CBD – Darwin is fast becoming the street art capital of Australia. While away a few hours at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, where you can experience a taste of what it was like to go through Cyclone Tracy, and learn about the day that changed the city forever. Then head off to the first NBL Blitz Darwin games out at Darwin Basketball Stadium!
DAY 3 Saturday
Start your weekend like a local with breakfast at a waterside venue, such as Fannie Bay Cool Spot, The Foreshore Café at Nightcliff or The Boatshed Coffee House at Cullen Bay. Or stop off at the Parap Markets for a Darwin institution – a breakfast laksa. Don’t knock it before you try it! A noodle soup from South-East Asia, the Darwin laksa crown is hotly contested. There are several laksa stalls at Parap Markets, along with other delights ranging from crepes and smoothies to the best chicken satay around. Enjoy a feast, then linger over local arts and crafts. The Imagine Seaside Festival is on 17-18 September, so head to De La Plage/Darwin Surf Life Saving Club at Casuarina Beach Coastal Reserve for live performances, market stalls, food, drink and, of course, a sunset!
DAY 4 Sunday
Start your day the right way with a stroll around Nightcliff Markets, where you can take your pick from a range of foodie offerings. Grab a freshly brewed coffee, sample some local tropical fruits, or try a mango smoothie. The famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets return on a Sunday, or top off the weekend by chilling out in our stunning open spaces with some tucker from one of the many street food vendors dotted around Darwin. Visit www.darwin.nt.gov.au and search ‘street food’ for information about what stalls are where on what days.
DAY 5 Monday
Pack your swimmers and set out on a day trip adventure to Litchfield National Park, only 1.5 hours’ drive from Darwin. You can drive yourself or join a tour. You’ll soon see why this is a favourite with locals, thanks to cascading waterfalls and interesting bushwalks. If a cool dip is what you’re after, plunge into crystal clear waters beneath the magnificent waterfalls at Florence and Wangi. Or relax in the gentle cascades at Buley Rockhole. Call in at Berry Springs Tavern, Darwin River Tavern, Rum Jungle Tavern, Litchfield Pub or Noonamah Tavern for a rural watering hole experience before driving back to the city.
DAY 6 Tuesday
The Territory is famous for fishing, both blue water and on the rivers that teem with wildlife – including the kind with big teeth! Join a charter and head out into the blue of Darwin Harbour or the waters off Dundee, or try your luck with the iconic barra in the wild rivers. Half-day or full-day fishing charters are available. Back in Darwin, relax after a big day with dinner at a waterfront sunset spot such as the Darwin Trailer Boat Club, Darwin Ski Club or Darwin Sailing Club.
DAY 7 Wednesday
Get back to nature with a visit to the beautiful George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens and experience the incredible flora of northern Australia. Wander through monsoon forests, mangroves and open woodlands before relaxing with lunch at the onsite café. Then head over to Stokes Hill Wharf in the Darwin Waterfront Precinct. This is a popular spot for fishing, and is dotted with popular restaurants, eateries and retail shops. Finish your day with local fish and chips and a cold drink while enjoying a beautiful Top End sunset.
DAY 8 Thursday
Immerse yourself in our wildlife on a Corroboree Billabong Wetland Cruise, just a 1.5 hour drive from Darwin. Expect to see wetland birds, including iconic jabirus and brolgas, in their natural habitat… along with a crocodile or three. For something even wilder, join a jumping crocodile tour at Adelaide River and marvel at the up-close-and-personal experience. Visit Wetland View Top, run by Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours, and enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the wetlands, plus cultural experiences. On your way back to Darwin, stop at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve, where boardwalks take you through different landscapes and observation platforms. Or drop into the Humpty Doo Hotel, Humpty Doo Tavern or Virginia Tavern for some rural hospitality.
DAY 9 Friday
Step back in time at Adelaide River with its heritage railway centre, one hour and 15 minutes down the Stuart Highway. Carry on for just over another hour to Pine Creek, famous for its 1880s gold rush. If you fancy a change from the highway, the Northern Goldfields Loop takes you between the two. Or turn back and drop into the Territory Wildlife Park at Berry Springs, where you can friendly with some local wildlife. There’s plenty to do at the park, including feeding whiprays and having your photo taken with the wallabies. Check the website for timings.
DAY 10 Saturday
The NBL Blitz Darwin excitement might be over, but there’s still plenty to see and do. Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility at Stokes Hill Wharf, where you’ll also find the Bombing of Darwin Harbour experience. Here you’ll learn more about the Territory’s relatively unknown role in World War II, told through holograms and interactive mini ‘ghosts’. Take in a final sunset on a stunning Darwin Harbour sunset cruise – these are popular, so book early – or relax under the stars with a film at the open-air Deckchair Cinema located at the base of The Esplanade.
- Try a heli pub crawl and visit out-of-the-way watering holes like Goat Island Lodge and Crab Claw Island Resort.
- Jump on an ATV tour at Rum Jungle or Charles Darwin National Park.
- Pretend you’re James Bond on a jet ski adventure in the harbour.
- Grab your rod and join a heli-fishing tour.
- Check out the new mountain bike trails at Charles Darwin National Park and Casuarina Coastal Reserve.