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Things to See and Do in Top End Darwin, Northern Territory

Darwin in the Northern Territory (NT) is home to some of Australia’s most incredible natural and iconic landmarks and has fantastic Things to See and Do.

Even without taking into account Uluru, Kings Canyon or West MacDonnell Ranges, the spectacular and historical locations of the NT have left us completely in awe.

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Sunset at Territory Day in Darwin 2017

Darwin maintains its place in Australia’s history through events such as the attack by the Japanese in WW2 and Cyclone Tracy which devastated the city in December 1974. Despite these disasters Darwin has rebounded and is now a winter getaway for travelling southerners and International tourists.

The opportunities to see Salt Water crocodiles in their natural habitat and fishing for the big elusive Barrimundi are tourism drawcards for Darwin and the Northern Territory. July 2016 was our first time here and we loved it so much we came back for 6 weeks in June and July 2017

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Litchfield National Park, near Darwin

Here are our tips of places not to miss when you visit the Top End in Darwin.

Territory Day in Darwin is a must. It’s the celebration of the Northern Territory gaining its place in it’s own right here in Australia and is the only day in the NT where anyone can buy and let off fireworks. It’s the only place in Australia that allows public to let off fireworks.

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Territory Day Fireworks in Darwin are truly spectacular

There are some conditions to their purchase and use but it’s so much fun and seriously amazing to watch.
The fireworks can only be purchased on the day, July 1st.
Fireworks can only be let off between 6pm until 11pm.
Fines of $1250 apply to letting off fireworks outside these time periods.

Mindil Beach is the place to be in Darwin for Territory Day. We watched Killing Heidi and Pete Murray perform in concert before a fantastic fireworks bonanza took place on the water in front of us. The Markets are open and all this with an amazing sunset display.

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Right next to the stage for Killing Heidi concert at Territory Day Darwin 2017. They were superb.

This year in 2017, we shared the beach with 15,000 others for a great night.

The Casino let off fireworks all night and we could see an incredible fireworks display happening at East Point from our vantage point at Mindil Beach.

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Dinner with friends Ash, Amy and baby Ripley

Never one to pass up a dinner invitation we had 2 nights out with friends and both were fantastic value with incredible sunset views. We met friends for dinner at the Darwin Sailing Club where the Beers and Ciders were great, the food was good but it was the Sunset that stole the show. A fire in the distance provided a perfect haze which completely enhanced the sunset’s effects.

www.dwnsail.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/TheDarwinSailingClub/
Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
08 8981 1700

The Trailer Boat Club next door to the Sailing Club is another great place for a meal. They have excellent value dinner and drinks and you can relax under the Darwin winter skies and stay cool in the breezes directly off the ocean. Enjoy the sunsets that will leave you breathless.

https://www.facebook.com/Darwintrailerboatclub
8 Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
P: 08 8981 6749

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The Trailer Boat Club was a great place to enjoy dinner with friends from home who were visiting Darwin


Seafood on Cullen
at Cullen Bay is an enormous smorgasbord with a huge range of delicious food for $40 per person. This is the best smorgasbord I’ve been to in many years. It’s also located directly on the beach with amazing sunset views to enjoy with your dinner.

You’ll need to arrive very early or book to get the best seats in the house though, it’s always busy here.

www.facebook.com/seafoodoncullen

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The Road Kill Cafe at Mindil Markets in Darwin

An evening out at the Mindil Markets at Mindil Beach is a must whenever you visit Darwin. There’s an incredible array of stalls and so much choice for food. There’s also plenty of entertainment and once the sun begins to set the beach right behind the markets becomes a sea of faces ready to watch another incredible sunset.

There’s heaps of parking and lots of stalls. Make sure you visit the Mindil Markets.

www.mindil.com.au

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Chilling out at Stokes Hill Wharf

Stokes Hill Wharf was our first night out when we were in Darwin. We sat on the wharf edge watching the boats as they went by, the big fish that swam below and as the sun set we had front row seats to seeing day turn to night. Darwin was quickly becoming a location we were falling in love with.

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The Darwin Wave Pool is very popular

The Wave Pool and Darwin Lagoon were close by at Stokes Hill Wharf and we made sure we enjoyed a swim. It was a public holiday and plenty of locals were enjoying another fantastic winter day in Darwin.

The lagoon is safe to swim and there’s floating pontoons and balls to climb on and enjoy as well.

The Wave Pool is $7 per day
The Floating Pontoons are $15 per hour

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Inside the Darwin Military Musuem

The Darwin Military Museum is fascinating. It recounts the war times for which Darwin was at the coal face.

The Theatrette provides raw live video of the day Darwin was bombed by the same Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbour. Did you know more bombs were dropped on Darwin than Pearl Harbour?

Inside are Timelines, details, photos and videos, interactive displays and so much information.

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Outside, there are many artifacts and equipment from WWII including canons, vehicles, bunkers, weaponry and lots more.

The Darwin Military Museum is an ideal place to visit to learn more about the history of when war came to our Country.

Cost to visit is
$18 Adults
$8 Children 5-16 years old
Free Children under 5 years old

www.darwinmilitarymuseum.com.au

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The Underground Oil Storage Tunnels in Darwin

Near Stokes Wharf is the Underground Oil Storage Tunnels where it was planned to store oil during the war period. After many issues, by the time the tunnels were ready the war was over but it’s a fascinating insight into those times with a lot of information.

We enjoyed our visit here and reading all about when the war came to our shores here in Australia.

$8 Adults
$7 Seniors
www.waterfront.nt.gov.au/darwin-waterfront-precinct/history/world-war-ii-tunnells/

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Entering Kakadu

A visit to Darwin has to include one of Australia’s most iconic and historical locations of Kakadu. Give yourself 3-5 nights and spend time exploring this amazing region.

There are so many highlights to discover in Kakadu including:

Fogg Dam
Adelaide River Jumping Croc Cruise. Meet big bad Brutus with a missing leg thanks to a fight with a Bull shark
Bark Hut. Enjoy lunch and a drink and meet the Emus and animals.
Window on the Wetlands. Check out the amazing informative display and head upstairs for the awesome view out over the wetlands of Kakadu.
Corroboree Park Tavern. See Buffalo, Crocs, pigs, kangaroos and more
Cahills Crossing. Access from Kakadu to Ahnem Land. If it’s flooded, forget it. Watch as the Barrimundi try to cross the shallow waters from one side to the other and Salt Water crocodiles wait for their meal on the other side. No swimming!!
Ubirr. Incredible art work on the rocks here at Ubirr. Climb to the top for incredible views –https://youtu.be/9DHT1Zq1IO0

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Standing on top of Ubirr

Jabiru. The main township of Kakadu.
Crocodile Hotel. From above the Hotel forms the shape of a crocodile. Enter the foyer and see the incredible aboriginal artworks.
Yellow River Water Cruises. Discover these amazing wetlands teaming with wildlife.
Gunlom Falls. A generally safe location to swim with magnificent naturally formed infinity pool.
Jim Jim Falls. An amazing plunge waterfall which falls into a pool below. It is registered on the Australian National Heritage List

These are just a few of the many amazing places to see in Kakadu.

Also take a closer look at the incredible termite mounds, which are such a common part of the landscape.

You will need a National Parks pass to enter Kakadu.

Cost to enter Kakadu
$40 per adult
$20 per child 5-15 years old
Free for children 0-4 years old
$100 family pass
Northern Territory residents are free
Tickets provide access throughout the Dry Season 1st April – 31st October.
* prices as at 2017

www.kakadu.com.au

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Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park is nearby to Kakadu and provides an entirely different experience.

With great swimming holes and fantastic waterfalls Litchfield is perfect for swimming but it’s still important to remain croc aware.

Magnetic Termite Mounds. The magnetic termite mounds are unique to the area. You will notice they all face North/ South direction to provide the best shelter from the harsh climatic conditions. These mounds hide an amazing and complex engineering design under the clay. This clay is also so rock hard it has been broken down and used to build homes.

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Buley Rockholes, Litchfield National Park

Buhley Rockholes are a cascading water flow over the rocks, in and out of small but deep rock pools. It’s a very popular and fun location for cooling off in the top end.
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Florence Falls. After a walk along the track looking down into the valley below we took a walk down 135 steps to access Florence Falls. This was our favourite location in Litchfield NP. An incredibly beautiful and tranquil location to swim and have lots of fun.

Wangi Falls, another ideal swimming hole with flowing waterfalls. It was closed the day we were there but if you can, take a walk to the lookout above.

Litchfield is truly fabulous with so much fun things to see and do. We don’t compare it to Kakadu, these are two very different locations and both are exceptional.

Read more about Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks here –http://indefiniteleave.com.au/kakadu-litchfield-national-park-motorhome/
We recommend staying at the Florence Falls Campground in Litchfield – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvKZ1E-ytrw

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The amazing Katherine Gorge

Katherine is a 3 hour drive south of Darwin and is the turnoff from the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory to head west to Western Australia.
Katherine is also home to Katherine Gorge which is best seen by tour or kayak, we chose the 3 Gorge tour.

Katherine Gorge is made up of 11 Gorge’s of which 8 are accessible. Most common however are the first 3 which remain the easiest to access. Tour guides can really make or break a tour and we were lucky this day to have Chris as our guide, he was funny, informative and provided fantastic insights via his own aboriginal heritage.

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Swimming in Katherine Gorge

The tour guides explained the aboriginal art in the rocks which were thousands of years old. From the first Gorge we made our way further by boat to another Gorge and were taken past amazing cliff face formations, caves, sandy beaches and on to the third Gorge on our tour.

We saw fresh water crocodiles throughout the Gorge so when it came time for a swim some were reluctant but not us. The opportunity to swim in Katherine Gorge doesn’t happen every day so we made the most of the fresh cool waters.

Visiting Katherine Gorge is an incredible experience you won’t forget.

Tour cost $129 – Adults
$63.50 – Children

www.nitmiluktours.com.au

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Bitter Springs, Mataranka

Mataranka is best known for Bitter Springs, a slow flowing river of hot thermal springs with a constant temperature of over 30 degrees Celsius.

Take a pool noodle with you and float for a few hundred metres downstream enjoying the crystal clear, warm waters. Be warned, the walk back can seem quite cool after your warm “bath” in the hot springs.

The Thermal Pools are further upstream and provide two pools to relax and enjoy. These natural springs have crystal clear waters and are a warm temperature all year round.

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Race Slides at Palmerston Waterpark, awesome fun.

Palmerston is an outer suburb of Darwin and has a fantastic free Water Park. There are small wading pools for the kids and a giant waterslide for those a little bigger. We had a great time racing to the bottom on the waterslide.

My Tip: Keep the front of your mat up to increase your speed, keep your elbows tucked in and hold on.

The waterpark is closed on Tuesdays. The slides open at 2pm.

More details and opening times here – https://nt.gov.au/leisure/sport/find-a-sports-facility/palmerston-water-park

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Leanyer Waterpark is fantastic

Leanyer is home to another Free water park in Darwin. This one has a pool, fun park and 3 big water slides.

The Leanyer Recreation Park is about 10kms east from Darwin and offers great fun for all the family. Lifeguards are on duty at all times, there’s lots of shade and area to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Leanyer Recreation Park is closed on Mondays.

More details and opening times here – https://nt.gov.au/leisure/sport/find-a-sports-facility/leanyer-recreation-park

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Sunset at Nightcliff Jetty, Darwin

Nightcliff Jetty is a perfect place to cast a line, enjoy dinner or view another magnificent Darwin sunset.

Matt caught a few squid and no doubt we will go back for more. You can buy fish and chips from the food vans or utilise the BBQ’s in the park to enjoy dinner or a Sunday lunch. The Nightcliff pool is an easy walking distance away too.

This was our chill place, where we would go to relax. For this reason it’s where we went and sat for hours immediately after we had MACKS put to sleep. We sat here for hours, reflecting, shedding lots of tears and consoling each other. For us, it was the perfect place.

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Swimming in Berry Springs

Berry Springs is just 57kms from Darwin and only 38kms from Palmerston and is a genuine must see.

A small waterfall of beautiful clear spring waters flow into a big open pool.

It is generally safe to swim at Berry Springs during the dry season with more precautions to be taken during the big wet.
* Late July 2017, Berry Springs has just been closed for 5 days due to a 1.6m Saltwater Crocodile being spotted.

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Under the waterfall in Berry Springs

Take a noodle with you and use the current flow from the waterfall to take you downstream to the big pool perfect for cooling off.

Enjoy lunch at the BBQ’s and many tables available. Have some chocolate covered mango ice cream from the kiosk or home made creamy passionfruit ice cream, both are ideal on a warm day in the Top End.

You ‘ll really enjoy a visit to Berry Springs and you only need a few hours from Darwin.

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The view of the beach from the deck at Crab Claw Island Resort

Crab Claw Island Resort is a short hour and a half drive west of Darwin through Berry Springs. The last 15kms is dirt road but it’s well graded and a really easy drive regardless if you are in a Motorhome or Caravan.

This is a fairly remote region so don’t expect 5 stars. This is a perfect location if you like to relax by the beach with a cocktail and love fishing.

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Sunrise from the beach at Crab Claw Island Resort

There are 2 pools plus a great restaurant and bar overlooking Bynoe Harbour. You can hire a boat for half a day or a full day and explore the area by water and go crabbing and fishing. Wallabies, Peacocks and Scrub Turkeys have all come wandering through our campsite.

Don’t enter the ocean waters here, there can be big crocs and big sharks very near the shore. In fact, we saw both just a short cast of our line into the water. Stay on the beach and you’ll be safe.

The Resort campground is surrounded by mangroves so make sure you bring your insect spray.

www.crabclawisland.com.au
https://www.facebook.com/CrabClawIslandResort/

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Dundee Beach

Dundee Beach is a 45 minute drive further past Crab Claw Island Resort. This is a very small fishing town which is very popular with boaties. Offshore are a number of reefs and perfect fishing environments.

The beach is beautiful and the sunsets spectacular. Dundee Lodge is located right at the beach and offers accommodation as well as pub meals and drinks to enjoy for lunch.

The road to Dundee Beach is fully sealed and an easy drive from Darwin.

 

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Matt with one of his hauls of Queenies

Looking for a great location to go fishing?
The fishing in Darwin is superb. Directly from the beach at East Point Matt has caught Queenfish, Mackerel, GT’s and more.

Matt fished sunrise and sunset and flicked silver metal lures. Low tide is best as it allows you to get out past the rocks, but beware of the fast incoming tide.

If you have a boat or can access one the offshore fishing is sensational with many reefs located all around the harbour.

What do you love about Darwin?

Tell us in the comments section below.

Thanks
Kevin & Adele
Indefinite Leave

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Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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