Features

How To Spend 48 Hours In Darwin

Crocs, barra fishing and outback treks – there’s no question that Darwin is a great launching pad for Top End adventures. These days, it’s also a city you’ll want to get amongst.

Beachfront food trucks and markets, laneway bars and a buzzy harbour waterfront area have dialled up the cool and transformed the tropical capital city into a hip and fun place.

Wet or dry, its mango sunsets are epic – so too, its wartime history, Indigenous art and melting pot of culture and cuisine. Here are seven of the best Top End adventures.

#1 Enjoy laksa for breakfast

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @life_by_squares on

Locals are divided on Darwin’s best laksa, but for $10, you can decide for yourself at the Saturday Parap Village Markets. Here, you can tuck into a bowl of Yati’s famous spicy coconut broth – last year, voted the Top End’s best – and then join the queue and do it all again at nearby rival, Mary’s Laksa.

Afterwards, hunt out local jewellery, Indigenous art, dilly bags and baskets at this small neighbourhood market.

Where: Saturdays 8am to 2pm, 3/3 Vickers Street, Parap

#2 Connect with country

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Megan (@davis_megs) on

If you’ve never bitten the bum of a green ant, you’re in for a surprise. Foraging for bush tucker is one of the highlights of a Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tour. In the dry season (May to October), Pudakul take groups onto native land near the Adelaide River Wetlands for a morning of Indigenous culture.

It begins with a Welcome to Country, after which you can yarn with local Indigenous people over damper and a billy tea, watch spear-throwing demonstrations, learn how to make a dilly bag or blow on a didgeridoo.

#3 Hit the water at speed with the Outback Wrangler 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Darwin Airboat Tours (@darwinairboattours) on

For octane-charged thrills, jump onboard Matt Wright’s Darwin Airboat Tours. The custom built V8 airboat takes off from Stokes Hill Wharf on a heart-pumping lap of the harbour before zipping across the mudflats to local mangroves. Home to mud crabs, crocs, barramundi and a chorus of birds, it’s an exhilarating bite of wilderness just minutes from the city.

Where: Stokes Hill Wharf

#4 Swim with man-eating croc

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Crocosaurus Cove Darwin (@crocosauruscove) on

Face off with the world’s largest reptile in the “Cage of Death” at Crocosaurus Cove.  Lowered into the water, the glass cube is a spine-chilling chance to eyeball the snapping jaws of a crocodile (or three) as they feed and thrash about.

For an adventure on dry land, the VIP tour takes you on a behind-the scenes tour, with the chance to nurse a baby crocodile or feed some of the crocs.

Where: 58 Mitchell St, Darwin

#5 Chill out at a sunset session at De La Plage

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by De La Plage (@delaplage0810) on

Behind Darwin Surf Life Saving Club is the city’s best secret – an outdoor beachside café strewn with beanbags, hammocks and lounges. During the week, it’s one of the more chill ways to spend a sunny day: good coffee, cool sea breezes and the tang of sea in the air.

Fridays, the De La Plage crew step it up a notch with a global street eats party at sunset and a weekly changing menu of international flavours. Arrive early to snag a beanbag, then feast as the skies turn mango gold.

Where: April to October, Darwin Surf Life Saving Club

#6 Witness the bombing of Darwin where it happened

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jodi Clark (@clarkyonthego) on

War museums don’t get much cooler than the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Making the most of its ground-zero location on Darwin Harbour, there are cool holograms and a VR show that puts you front and centre stage in the bombing of Darwin. Don VR goggles for this high-tech interactive ride back to 1942, fully prepped to duck and dive for cover as the bombs start to fall. For the full story of Darwin’s wartime history, finish up with a tour of the nearby WWII oil storage tunnels.

Where: Stokes Hill Wharf

#7 Sail into the mango sunset

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sea Darwin (@seadarwin) on

Why hang beachside with the rest of Darwin when you can cruise into the sunset onboard Sea Darwin? Set off beneath honey skies on a sunset-vibing cruise of Darwin Harbour that takes in the city skyline and coast.

Dropping anchor at Cullen Bay, fish and chips is served to a backdrop of peak-mango skies. Depending on the tides, the return journey might include a walk on the sandbar at Fannie’s Bay or visit to Sadgrove’s bird sanctuary. Look out for pods of playful dolphins along the way.

Where: Stokes Hill Wharf

(Lead image: Instagram/@skycitydarwin)