TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN THE TOP END!
There are so many fantastic markets in Darwin that showcase local produce, indigenous arts and crafts, live music, and delicious food. It’s a great way to mix with the locals and doesn’t have to cost you a cent unless you want to grab some lunch or dinner – even then, the food is cheap and tasty compared to dining in a restaurant. Our favourite’s include the popular Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (Thursday 5pm-10pm and Sunday 4pm-9pm, late April to late October), Parap Village Markets (Saturday 8am-2pm), and Rapid Creek Market (Sunday 6am-1pm).
2. George Brown Botanic Gardens
Before it gets too hot, spend a morning wandering through the George Brown Botanic Gardens. Over 130 years old, the gardens have survived cyclones, bushfires and World War II, and contain 450 species of native and tropical plants. Walk through mangroves, woodlands and dunes, and check out the rainforest gully, which has its own waterfall and ponds. If you do fancy a quick coffee, visit Eva’s Café near the entrance to the gardens, housed in a heritage-listed former Wesleyan Church - there are plenty of freshly baked treats available for less than a fiver.
3. Darwin Waterfront
Down by Stoke’s Hill Wharf is Darwin’s waterfront precinct, a hub for locals and visitors alike. Take a dip at Recreation Lagoon, a safe swimming spot that has a sandy beach perfect for building castles or sunbaking. There’s cycle paths and walkways throughout the whole park area for you to enjoy. Being such a local hotspot means there’s always free activities happening – tai chi classes, films under the stars, or if you’re visiting during school holidays, kids’ activities like origami making workshops and archery lessons. The whole precinct is surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants, so if you do feel like grabbing lunch or dinner, you can easily find a place to suit your budget. Otherwise, take advantage of the shady palm trees and pack your own picnic.
4. Visit Kakadu National Park
When travelling to the Top End taking a trip to Kakadu National Park is a must do adventure! With beautiful swimming holes, waterfalls, native wildlife and breathtaking sunsets put Kakadu National Park on the top of your Top End checklist! Located a 3-hour drive from Darwin The park’s prolific rock art, made by the Bininj/Mungguy people who have lived on the land for 65,000 years, displays one of the longest historical records of any group of people on earth.
5. Swim at Litchefield Nation Park
No visit to Darwin is complete without visiting Litchfield, less than two hours from the city. With its diverse landscape, you’ll find plenty to see and do. Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and Buley Rockhole are your best bet for swimming – beautiful, refreshing and most importantly, croc-free! While both seasons have their appealing traits, it’s important to know that during the wet season, some areas may be inaccessible due to road closures from the abundance of rain. Don’t let this put you off exploring the area at this time though as the wet season also brings with it spectacular waterfalls and electrical storms.