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Darwin, Australia's most northerly capital city is located in the Top End of the Northern Territory, on the
edge of the Timor Sea. This relaxed, tropical city attracts a substantial number of tourists with its beautiful harbour, marina complexes and a diverse lively character.
Boasting a population of more than 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds, Darwin is a melting pot of people and cultures that are showcased by its many exciting ethnic cultural festivals, markets and cuisine.
The city is noted for its consistently warm to hot climate all throughout the year that lends itself to the great outdoors. Many people come here in search of crocodiles, rich indigenous culture, great fishing, national parks and laid-back lifestyle.
Darwin is actually closer to the capitals of five other countries than to the capital of Australia, allowing it to establish the title of 'Gateway to Asia'. Along with its importance as a gateway to Asia, Darwin also acts as an access point for the Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, Arnhem Land, and northerly islands such as Groote Eylandt and the Tiwi Islands.
Darwin’s Aboriginal History dates back over 40,000 years, and is a region deep in cultural history with the largest centralised collection of Aboriginal rock art in the world.
The monsoonal forests, desert sands, and rock formations that comprise the landscape are core to the Aboriginal Culture, with approximately half of the Northern Territory being Aboriginal land. The indigenous people believe
their purpose of existence is to be the custodians of the land. Dreamtime stories, songs, dance and art are used tell their story and have been passed on through the generations.
The Aboriginal people of the Larrakia language group are the traditional custodians and the first inhabitants of the greater Darwin area. They are prominent and active members of the community, and many still adhere closely to their traditional beliefs and customs.
Their art and Dreamtime stories weave a connection between spirit and country and provide modern travellers with a deeper understanding and insight to the mysteries of land and waters.
The city has had a tough history. Founded as Australia’s most northerly harbour port in 1869, its population rapidly expanded after the discovery of gold at nearby Pine Creek in 1871, which brought an influx of Chinese. World War II put Darwin on the map as a major allied military base for troops fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Between February 1942 and October 1943, the Japanese launched more than 60 air raids over Darwin. These were by far the most serious attacks on Australia in time of war, in terms of fatalities and damage. Today travellers can see evidence of Darwin’s World War II history at a variety of preserved sites including ammunition bunkers, airstrips and oil tunnels in and around the city.
Darwin again made world news when it was devastated by tropical cyclone Tracy in 1974 which killed 71 people and destroyed over 70% of the town's buildings, including many old stone buildings such as the Palmerston Town Hall, which could not withstand the lateral forces generated by the strong winds. After the disaster, 30,000 people of a then population of 43,000 were evacuated, in what turned out to be the biggest airlift in Australia's history - an event well documented at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Since then Darwin has evolved from a pioneer outpost and small port and rebuilt into one of Australia's most modern cities.
-Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is the largest National Park in Australia covering almost 20,000 square kilometres - that’s nearly half the size of Switzerland! World Heritage listed for both its environment and living Aboriginal culture, Kakadu is a special place renowned internationally for its natural and cultural wonders. Teeming with native wildlife, Kakadu makes a supreme location for zoologists, home to a myriad of mammals and birdlife, and over 120 reptile species including both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and mighty goannas. Kakadu also has one of the highest concentrated areas of Aboriginal rock art sites in the world.- 5,000 are ofï¬cially recognised, but it is believed thousands more exist. A number of Aboriginal clans reside in Kakadu National Park, the land and its people have always had a deep spiritual connection. Art, language, ceremonies, kinship and caring for the land and wildlife are all aspects of cultural responsibility that we have passed from one generation to the next, since the Creation time. Exquisite rock art galleries at Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock bear witness to their strong and ongoing connection with the land, having lasted for many thousands of years.
Kakadu changes dramatically through the seasons, shifting from dry grasses and ï¬‚oodplains, to monsoonal rains and crashing waterfalls. The climate is characterised by six key seasons, which are followed by the traditional owners to determine their patterns of behaviour, indicating which animals are to be hunted and where shelter is to be found. Kakadu's landscapes have been shaped by water with the Mary River, Wildman River, West Alligator, South Alligator and East Alligator Rivers. Spectacular landmarks include Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls, Maguk, Jarrangbarnmi and Gunlom. In the wet season from November to May, waterfalls along the Arnhem Land escarpment are at their most spectacular. You can discover this vast, ever-changing landscape through challenging hikes, 4WD tours or a scenic ï¬‚ight. There are plenty of ï¬‚atter walking trails, with stunning artwork thousands of years old etched onto rocks. While it seems remote, World Heritage Listed Kakadu is only three hours drive from Darwin, and all key visiting spots are manned with tour guides and information panels.
-Mary River National Park
Mary River National Park is without doubt a magical place. Many believe these vast wetlands are the most beautiful in the Top End. Lagoons, canals and billabongs make up the waterways of the wetlands that is home to a vast variety of birdlife, some of the biggest barramundi and the largest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the world. The park is popular with wildlife viewing cruises, guided twitcher tours and specialised fishing charters and is a haven for both anglers and wildlife watchers. The Billabongs, paperbark and monsoon forests support breeding populations of brolgas, egrets, black-necked storks, sea eagles, magpie geese and many more bird species. Popular fishing spots include Shady Camp and Corroboree Billabong. Other areas worthy of exploration include - North Rockhole, Corroboree Billabong, Couzens Lookout, Brian Creek Monsoon Forest, Shady Camp and Mistake Creek.
Accessible all year-round and just over 60 minutes' drive from Darwin, exploring the the Mary River region by two-wheel drive is a breeze even on the unsealed roads. During the wet season a four-wheel drive offers greater freedom to explore the less accessible areas, meanwhile there are a number of tour companies operating out of Darwin that can relieve the visitor of any concerns about self-driving.
-Litchfield National Park
Crystal-clear swimming holes and pleasant bushwalking trails make Litchfield National Park a favourite among Darwin locals. Located just an hour-and-a-half drive south of Darwin, the park features diverse environments from rugged sandstone escarpments to perennial spring-fed streams, monsoon rainforest, magnetic termite mounds, waterfalls and historic ruins. Popular swimming spots include Wangi, Florence, Tjaynera Falls and Buley Rockhole. Buley Rockhole is located just 80 metres from the carpark and features a series of cascading waterfalls and rockholes. Wangi Falls is one of the parks best swimming and picnicking spots, meanwhile the spectacular double waterfall of Florence Falls is set amid the monsoon forest with 160 steps leading down to the plunge pool.
Walkers will find several short trails that pass through a range of habitats and landscapes that are typical of the Top End. For the experienced, fit and well prepared bushwalkers, the multi-day Tabletop Track circuit offers the opportunity to experience the isolation of the Top End. Meanwhile one of Litchfield National Park's most famous and unique sights is the hundreds of magnetic termite mounds standing up to two metres high. The mounds’ thin edges point north-south minimising their exposure to the sun, keeping the mounds cool for the termites inside.
A Ranger Station is situated at Batchelor and Walker Creek, and walkways/information centres are located at each major point of interest throughout the park. Most areas have an Emergency Call Device, toilet facilities and disabled access. You can spend as little as one day in the park, taking a quick dip in each of the plunge pools and rockholes on the drive through, but to really experience the true beauty of Litchfield it’s best to stay at least two days.
-Charles Darwin National Park
Just a short drive from the city is Charles Darwin National Park - the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or wander around this waterfront park. Although this park is new, the land has history. Shell middens in the area show that Aboriginal people have used the land for thousands of years.
The area was also part of a network of military sites established during the development of Darwin as Australia's
World War II northern defence line. The bunkers and shelters in the Park were used for storage between 1944 and the mid 1980's. Relics of Darwin's involvement in WWII can be
seen in the park, including reinforced concrete bunkers. A WWII display provides an overview of Darwin's role in the Pacific War. Free entry, open 8am - 7pm daily. There are also wonderful views of the harbour and its wetlands from the picnic ground and lookout platform.
-Djukbinj National Park
feeding site for waterbirds, magpie geese, egrets and brolgas. Open daily, the park is ideal for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
Accommodation in Darwin ranges from hostel and backpacker lodges, to inner city resorts and five star hotels. All accommodation provides the convenience of off-street parking and easy access to public transport. Choose from accommodation located in the heart of the city, at Cullen Bay Marina, near the Botanic Gardens and or the Darwin Waterfront.
Mitchell Street is the heart of Darwin's tourist precinct, a perfect location to enjoy stunning parkland with ocean views, and be amongst the excitement of Darwin's most vibrant location. Explore nearby galleries, shop for that unique gift or catch some live entertainment and excellent dining opportunities.
The Darwin Waterfront Precinct is located on the fringe of Darwin CBD, with its safe bathing beach, wave lagoon and a variety of waterfront restaurants, boutique shops and seafront promenades to explore. Waterfront City is a popular attraction for both locals and visitors.
Holiday Inn Darwin is steeped in history and is one of the only few remaining buildings that survived Cyclone Tracy. The refreshed accommodation rooms, lobby and restaurant areas offer modern comfort with trusted service. Overlooking Darwin Harbour, Holiday Inn Darwin is just ï¬ve minutes walk to the city centre and offers easy access to famous historical landmarks, shopping, nightlife, and
al fresco dining. As you head out of Darwin you will find accommodation unique to the region with properties providing their own specialised facilities such as bed and breakfast, shaded caravan parks, cabin accommodation and farmstays.
*It is important to remember to book in advance during the peak season of May to October.
Boasting a population made up of people from more than 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds, the multicultural flavour of the Territory is well represented in its dining experiences. You only need to take a trip to one of the Darwin markets (Mindil Beach, Parap, Nightcliff or Rapid Creek) to see their influence in the many food stalls serving great-value meals and snacks. Darwin is located closer to Indonesia than Sydney so traditional Indonesian treats such as peanut sauce satays, gado-gado and noodle dishes are as easy to find as a good ole Aussie steak and meat pie.
Mindil Beach is the place to taste Darwin’s multicultural flavours, spectacular sunsets and balmy, barefoot freedom. Stokes Hill Wharf is within walking distance of the CBD offering visitors a variety of dining options from casual alfresco eateries and tasy desserts to an award winning a la carte seafood restaurant. Enjoy the spectacular tropical sunsets, sea breezes and seasonal live entertainment under the stars.
Check out the boutiques in the relaxed alfresco-style of the City Mall and surrounding streets. For the serious shopper, Casuarina Square, the largest shopping centre in the Territory, boasts over 200 retail stores and two major department stores. A free bus service from the city to Casuarina Square is available with pick-up from all major hotels. Parap Shopping Village is Darwin's most popular boutique shopping centre and home to the infamous weekly Saturday markets. Cullen Bay Marina is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon sipping mango daiquiris and soaking up the tropical atmosphere, featuring an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and gift shops.
Indigenous art is thriving in many communities throughout the Top End's tropical outback. Visit the galleries in Maningrida, Oenpelli, the Tiwi Islands and Yirrkala, exhibiting both contemporary and indigenous art. While buying art direct from these communities is a unique experience, indigenous art can also be conveniently purchased from the many art and craft outlets in and around Darwin, Kakadu and Katherine.
missed! Crocosaurus Cove is also home to the World’s largest display of Australian reptiles. With over 70 different species of the Top End’s cutest and most deadly critters on display, you can spend hours learning all about what makes these guys unique, what they like to eat and how they survive in one of the harshest landscapes in the world.
Crocodylus Park & Zoo
Crocodylus Park is Darwin’s premier tourist and educational attraction, located just 5 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from Darwin’s city centre. Built upon more than 40 years of experience in crocodile research and conservation, the park hosts 10,000+ crocodiles, exotic snakes, tigers, lions, primates alongside Australian fauna (dingos, wallaroos, cassowaries), and more.
Australian Aviation Heritage Centre
An impressive presentation of aircraft displays depicting the Territory's involvement in aviation, both civil and military. The Bombing of Darwin display is a must.
A heritage listed National Trust property built in the 1930s, Burnett House is an excellent example of early tropical architecture. High tea is served every Sunday.
Chinese Temple and Museum
The present Temple building was erected after the previous Temple built in 1887 was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Adjacent to the Temple, the Museum depicts the history of the Chinese in the Noirthern Territory from the
1880s to the end of World War II.
Darwin Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens span 42 hectares and showcase the flora of northern Australia and other tropical habitats around the world. Wander through monsoon forests, coastal foredunes, mangroves and open woodlands.
Since the early 1950s a unique and natural phenomena occurs on the high tide amongst the tranquil tropical waters at the end of The Esplanade in Darwin’s Doctors Gully. Hundreds of local wild fish swim to the shallow shoreline every high tide looking for a free meal. Over the course of this enduring 60 plus year tradition, the fish have shed their normal shyness and are willingly hand-fed to the delight of thousands of fascinated locals and tourists every year. Species include milkfish, bream, catfish, mullet and barramundi among others. This unique fish sanctuary is a fun, safe and magical experience for all to enjoy. *Opens only on the high tide.
Indo Pacific Marine
A National Tourism Award, 9 Brolga Awards for excellence and eco tourism is recognition of this unique exhibition (One of only 3 exhibitions like this is in the world). Indo Pacific Marine is a land based living marine centre showcasing the coral reefs that abound the Darwin waters. A tour of this exhibit will enlighten you on the amazing natural eco-system of the coral reefs of the Darwin Harbour, showcasing the many animals that live in the harbour. Dedicated, highly knowledgeable guides ensure maximum visitor enjoyment. A Coral Reef By Night tour and dinner operates Wed, Fri and Sunday nights.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Set in a tropical garden on Darwin Harbour, the Museum and Art Gallery features collections of the region's art, natural science, history and culture, as well as a fascinating Cyclone Tracy exhibit. Here you can meet Sweetheart, the Top End's most famous croc.
Darwin Military Museum
The exhibition space includes the Bombing of Darwin Gallery, iconic objects from that time, ï¬rsthand accounts and multimedia presentations. The new Experience is surrounded by the other buildings and artefacts of the Darwin Military Museum: artillery pieces, vehicles, uniforms, ï¬rearms, models and paintings and much more.
Parliament House, Darwin’s premier building, is the first permanent residence of the Northern Territory Legislature. It forms part of State Square, which also includes the Supreme Court and Liberty Square, a turfed area that adjoins the Ofï¬ce of the administrator and Government House.
Fannie Bay Gaol
Rich in social history and one of NT's most important heritage sites, the goal operated as HM Goal and Labour Prison in Darwin from 1883 until 1979. The original building comprised Blocks A and B containing 16 stone cells, a kitchen and washhouse.
Other Things to Do:
East Point Reserve and Lake Alexander
The East Point peninsular is a wonderful recreational area with extensive walking and cycling paths, relaxing picnic areas and free barbecue facilities and safe, year round swimming in Lake Alexander. The reserve is regarded as one of the best sites in Darwin for watching sunsets.
Sunset Dinner Cruise
Relax and witness a magniï¬cent Darwin sunset onboard a delightful dinner cruise.
On the picturesque waters of Darwin Harbour, you’ll love ï¬shing for golden snapper, black jewï¬sh, Spanish Mackeral or any number of assorted reef ï¬sh.
Casuarina Coastal Reserve
The Reserve features sandy beaches fringed by Casuarina trees and sandstone cliffs. The reserve protects areas of indigenous cultural significance for the Larrakia people. Barbecues and shaded tables make the area a popular picnic spot.
The Deckchair Cinema operates seven nights a week from mid-April to mid November, showing a diverse range of Australian, popular, foreign and family-friendly films. Bring a picnic, chairs provided.
Wave Lagoon - Darwin Waterfront
The Wave Lagoon is a safe swimming lagoon with 10 differenrt wave types up to 1.7 metres in height. This facility also includes a shallow still-water swimming pool for toddlers, shaded grass areas and sun lounges with umbrellas by the water's edge.
Mindil Beach Sunset Market
Held every Thursday and Sunday night from April to October, these are Darwin's largest and most popular weekly markets, this vibrant market features a multitude of stalls offering international cuisine, arts, crafts and entertainment. Mindil Beach is the place to taste Darwin’s multicultural flavours with more than 30 exotic national flavours – including Aboriginal, Islander, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese and European – showcased in the tasty food stalls. Make like a local and grab some take-away to have down on the beach as you enjoy a spectacular Darwin sunset. The combination of great food and an electric atmosphere make it a must visit!
Parap Village Market
The Parap Village Market is one of Darwin's longest running markets and has become an institution and ritual among locals who just couldn’t survive a weekend without their Saturday morning laksa, satay prawns or fresh tropical smoothie. The Parap Markets, will tantalise your senses with a mixture of Asian cuisine and the aroma of freshly grounded coffee. Every Saturday from 8:00am until 2:00pm.
Set in Nightcliff Shopping Village the markets, the Sunday markets at Nightcliff present a variety of cuisines, art and craft, massage, tarot, and fresh produce. This an ideal place for a lazy Sunday coffee or a refreshing tropical fruit salad. Find unusual bargains, original crafts, unique gifts and recycled goods. With plenty of shade and space to sit and enjoy the entertainment from local artisits. The markets are open from 8am to 2pm every Sunday.
Rapid Creek Big Flea Market
The Rapid Creek Big Flea Market is Darwin's oldest market located just 20 minutes from the city. Operating every Sunday from 7:00am until 1:00pm, the markets specialise in a wide selection of fresh organic produce, Asian fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, exotic plants, flowers and seafood. Plus you'll find a range of local handmade arts and crafts, as well as local entertainers. In the wet season the Rapid Creek Monsoon Markets operate between Novemberand March on Thursdays from 5:00pm until 10:00pm.
Berry Springs Market
Last Sunday of the month from 8:00am until midday.
The Berry Springs Community Market has stalls ranging from fresh locally grown produce, to arts and crafts, plants and second hand goods, and local hand-made market products.
Coolalinga Rural Market
Every Saturday 8:00am until 1:00pm.
Take a leisurely drive 28km out of Darwin to Fred's Pass Reserve and check out the Coolalinga Rural Markets with over 100 market stalls offering fresh produce and local craft items.
Palmerston and Rural Market
Every Friday 5:30pm until 9:30pm, May to October.
Located in the heart of Palmerston's CBD, the popular markets feature over 100 stalls selling everything from hand-crafted jewellery and novelty items, fresh produce and a selection of exotic foods. Also featuring great live music, multicultural dances, rides, clowns, games and competitions.
Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final and Art Sale - March
The Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final and Art Sale takes place every March in Nguiu, the main settlement on Bathurst Island. The football is fast and skilful with many players electing to play barefoot. The art sale is held on the Island in the morning before the festivities begin on the football field at around noon.
Bassinthegrass Music Festival - 24 May
BASSINTHEGRASS Music Festival is an annual all ages event featuring some of Australia's best talent conducted in a safe and friendly environment at the picturesque Darwin Amphitheatre.
Barunga Festival - 6 to 9 June
Barunga Festival is a celebration and showcase of remote Australian indigenous community life though music, sport and culture. Barunga is just 4 hours drive from Darwin.
The Greek Glenti - 8 & 9 June
The annual Glenti Festival celebrates the rich and long-lasting influence the local Greek community has on Darwin. The Glenti consists of local and interstate entertainment and acts and besides being able to eat Greek food, you can see people wearing traditional Greek clothing, be enlightened by the Greek culture, listen to Greek music, and see traditional dancing and much more.
SKYCITY Triple Crown - V8 Supercars Championship - 20 to 22 June
Event 6 of the V8 Supercars Championship Hidden Valley prides itself on offering patrons an entertaining program of on & off-track entertainment. Support categories will include a Round of the Australian Superbike Championship, Formula 3, Touring Car Masters, V8 Utes, HQ's and Improved Production. RACE & ROCK, after race concerts held Track Centre on Saturday & Sunday evening, featuring acclaimed Australian artists brings Darwin to life in the Dry Season.
Royal Darwin Show - 24 to 26 July
Come and enjoy all the fun and excitement of the NT’s largest annual community event. Loads of free entertainment, displays, demonstrations and exhibitions as well as the thrills and spectacles of Side Show Alley and all the action in the main arena.
Darwin Cup Carnival - 5 July to 4 August
Cheer until you’re hoarse with 20,000 other racing fans as your horse nears the ï¬nish on the enduring dirt track of Darwin’s Fannie Bay Racecourse.
Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta - Sunday 6 July
The annual Beer-Can Regatta takes place on Mindil Beach, where locals compete ferociously for the honour of building the most sea-worthy vessel from aluminium cans. Other activities include the Battle of Mindil - a boat race where anything goes, Junior Soft Drink Can Boat Race, Adult and Junior Kayak Paddle, Hole-In-One, Iron Person Competition, Tug-of-War Competitions, Kids Sand Castle Competition, Best Novelty Hat, Family slalom and Kids Beach Races. A fun day out for all the family!
Garma Festival - 9 to 12 August
The Annual Garma Festival is Australia's Leading Cultural Exchange event, held onsite at remote Gulkula, a traditional meeting ground in Arnhem land. The Garma Festival is a nationally significant, intimate, spectacular celebration of cultural traditions and practices – dance, song, music, and art (including presentations, collaborations, sales) – and the annual venue for a major Key Forum on Indigenous issues.
Darwin Festival - 7 to 24 August
Darwin Festival is the city’s major cultural festival, held annually each year in August. This event celebrates the best in Aboriginal, national and international talent. With 18 exciting days and nights, features include local and touring performaces and concerts, workshops, theatre, dance, comedy, cabaret, film and visual arts.
Kakadu Mahbilil Festival - September
Darwin International Film Festival - 18 to 25 September
The Darwin International Film Festival is a new event on the busy social calendar for Darwin. Held at the iconic Deckchair Cinema in September, the festival will showcase 12 films over 8 nights from across the globe representing 10 countries and a variety of genres.
Getting to the Northern Territory is easy. Darwin is only a three to four hour flight from most Australian capital cities. Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue, Sky West and Airnorth all fly regularly to Darwin. Darwin is also closer to Asia than any other capital city in Australia. Daily scheduled flights to Darwin operate from every mainland Australian capital city.
Great Southern Rail offers visitors to the Top End region the opportunity to enjoy one of the world's great train journeys aboard The Ghan. The regular service from Adelaide to Darwin stops at Alice Springs and Katherine before its final destination, Darwin.
Darwin and the Top End region are well serviced by major national coach companies.
Excellent sealed highways provide ease of access into and around the Top End region. The Stuart Highway from Adelaide, the Barkly Highway from Queensland, and the Victoria Highway from Western Australia are sealed all the way.
Buses are the main mode of public transport for Darwin residents and visitors. A regular bus service runs between the Harry Chan Avenue interchange just minutes from the top of Smith Street Mall in the CBD, and the other major interchanges at Casuarina Square and Palmerston.
Darwin is no hotter or more humid than Asian destinations such as Bali and Singapore, with year round temperatures consistently around 32 degrees celsius, ensuring a fabulous outdoor lifestyle. The weather in the tropics is influenced by only two seasons- the wet season and dry season.
The Wet Season extends from November to April with temperatures ranging from 25-36 degrees Celsius. During this season there are monsoonal rains, spectacular lighting displays and high humidity. The Wet season is a stunning time of year to see the Top End; waterfalls tumble, skies host incredible light shows, and the landscape turns a lush green.
The Dry Season extends from May to October with temperatures ranging from 16-32 degrees Celsius. This season has blue skies, sunny days and cool nights. It is great weather for an outdoor-event extravaganza, with beachside markets, outdoor cinemas, festivals and concerts events all throwing wide their open-air doors. This is the most popular time of year for travellers to explore the more remote areas of the region that can be off-limits during the Wet. *Advanced bookings are recommended.
The traditional Aboriginal people of the area, the Larrakia people, have up to six traditional seasons in Darwin. Their seasons correspond to which bush foods are available at that time:
Gudjewg in January and February makes up the bulk of the Top End's tropical summer, considered by many as the most beautiful time of year.
As the heavy rains begin to ease during Banggerreng, across March and April, rivers subside and the transition from wet to dry begins.
Yegge arrives in May with relatively cool weather bringing crisp nights and misty mornings.
Wurrgeng from mid June to mid August is 'cold weather' time with daytime temperatures of around 30 degrees celsius.
Birds in their millions converge on waterholes and rivers during Gurrung from August to October as the reduction in rainfall forces waterholes to contract.
From October to December, Gunumeleng's dark threatening clouds roll across the sky, but rarely deliver rain. This is the season of spectacular storms.
Other Regional Areas of Interest:
The Arnhem Land Region is located in the north-eastern corner of the territory and is located around 500 km from Darwin. This unspoiled wilderness is one of the last pristine areas in the world, featuring wild coastlines, deserted islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforests, soaring escarpments and savannah woodland. Declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931, it remains one of the largest Aboriginal Reserves in Australia and is perhaps best known for its isolation, the art of its people, and the strong continuing traditions of its Indigenous inhabitants. Northeast Arnhem Land is home to the indigenous Yolngu people, one of the largest Indigenous groups in Australia, and one who have succeeded in maintaining a vigorous traditional indigenous culture. This region is an exciting destination for travellers wanting an authentic traditonal cultural experience. Access to Arnham Land is restricted and only selected tour operators who have earned the trust of traditional landowners may bring visitors in.
The Tiwi Islands
Just 80 kilometres north of Darwin lie Bathurst and Melville Islands, known collectively as the Tiwi Islands. Europeans first made contact with the Tiwi people in 1705. Tiwi people are coastal Aborigines with a culture different to those on the mainland, known around the world for their distinctive fabric prints, pottery, sculptures and carvings. Their strong traditions, rituals and traditional foods are still a very important part of everyday life and they appear to have successfully combined both traditional and modern lifestyles. You can visit the Tiwi Islands and experience life in a modern-day Aboriginal community learning about the rich and fascinating history and culture of the Tiwi people on an organised day tour.
A visit to Darwin is not complete without a visit to the world famous Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge). Located around 300 kilometres south of Darwin, this 292,800 hectare National Park was renamed 'Nitmiluk' meaning 'cicada dreaming' when ownership of the land returned to the Jawoyn Aboriginal people, its traditional owners in 1989. Thirteen deep gorges carved from ancient sandstone form the heart of this escarpment country, which contain great cultural and spiritual significance to the Jawoyn people. Some of this Park's amazing features include spectacular towering glowing cliffs of the gorge, significant cultural sites and numerous Aboriginal rock art paintings, some of which are thousands of years old. Travellers can explore and experience the magnificence of the gorges and its surrounds by river cruise, canoe, helicopter, light plane or foot. The park's Nitmiluk Visitor Centre enlightens visitors to the cultural and spiritual significance of the gorge for its traditional owners, the Jawoyn people. A variety of motels, lodges and a caravan park are situated in the township of Katherine, offering overnight accommodation and a variety of bistros, cafes and restaurants.
Natures Way Drive - 4 Day Travel Itinerary
The Nature’s Way Drive travels in a triangular route showcasing the best of the Top End. This 940 kilometre, 5 day self drive begins in Darwin and commences through the Adelaide and Mary River wetlands and onto World Heritage-listed Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks, then onto Litchfield National Park before returning to Darwin. For photographic, wildlife and bird watching enthusiasts, this is a dream drive on a fully sealed road - suitable for a two-wheel-drive vehicle.
Darwin to Kakadu National Park - 257km to Jabiru
- Depart Darwin
- Stop off - Corroboree Park Tavern
- Visit Mamukala Wetlands
- Lunch at the Border Store in Kakadu (dry season only)
- Guluyambi East Alligator River Cruise
- Explore Ubirr
- Overnight accommodation at Jabiru
Kakadu National Park experience - 52km Jabiru to Cooinda
- Depart Jabiru
-Scenic flight over Kakadu
- Nourlangie art site
- Kakadu Culture Camp (dry season only)
- Visit Warradjan Cultural Centre
- Overnight - Gagudju Lodge Cooinda
Kakadu to Katherine via Pine Creek
Cooinda to Pine Creek 165km
Pine Creek to Katherine 90km
- Depart Cooinda
- Early Yellow Water Billabong Cruise
- Pine Creek - lunch at Lazy Lizard
- Travel south to Katherine and explore Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge)
- Overnight accommodation in Katherine
Katherine to Litchfield National Park - 260km
- Spend the morning at Katherine Gorge
- Take a spectacular boat cruise on Katherine Gorge
- Visit Edith Falls
- Contine north to Litchfield
- View the amazing termite mounds
- Swim in crystal-clear waterholes
- stay overnight in Batchelor
Katherine to Darwin - 130km