Tips for planning a trip to Darwin Australia Northern Territory
Best time to go: Weather in Darwin is cohesive with a tropical climate. They have two seasons, wet (November to April) and dry (May to October). During the wet season, humidity levels can exceed 80% whereas during the dry season they average around 60 to 65%. If you want to visit when the lightning storms are spectacular, then travel between October and December. The average year-round temperature varies between 70 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The coolest months are between May and July, where evenings can dip to the low 60’s. Most prefer to visit in January and February where the days are sunny and afternoon storms renew the air allowing the plant and wildlife to thrive.
Why Darwin: Darwin is a great city to use as your home base when exploring the Northern Territory. The airport is small and easy to navigate. You can take a day trip to Litchfield National Park or an overnight trip to Kakadu National Park. Darwin is small enough that most restaurants, bars, shopping, and attractions are within walking distance. If you like gambling, they offer Sky City Casino and Hotel right on the beach. NOTE: Casino is smoke-free.
Car Hire: Renting a car in Darwin? Here are a couple of tips. If you plan to leave Darwin and explore the Northern Territory it is best to rent a car with unlimited mileage. You won’t find unlimited mileage at the airport. We found one through Bargain Car Rentals. If you choose Bargain Car Rentals, depending on the day or time you arrive, your car might be waiting for you at the airport. They will email you a day or two before your reservation informing you that the car is in their lot, along with a code for a lock box that holds the key. The lock box might be on the passenger car window or in a main lock box fixture in the corner of the lot. To find the lot you will need to exit the Darwin airport and turn left. Walk under the awning to the long-term parking to. Before you walk into the long-term lot, take a right and walk ALL THE WAY DOWN.
Keep walking until you see a small parking lot on the right with a few trees and a sign for Bargain Car Rental. We never received the email and it took us over 2 hours to get the car. They also had us return the car to the short-term lot.
They drive on the right-hand side of the road. The driver’s seat is front right. Remember this mantra to help – STAY RIGHT and LOOK LEFT. Petrol costs about 5 US dollars a gallon and is priced by the liter.
FUN FACT: In Australia they use the term “hire a car” instead of “rent a car”.
Where to stay: We highly recommend the C2 Esplanade Serviced apartments in the CBD on the Esplanade. You will not only have great views of the water but a place to walk or hike and still be close to everything. The apartments are two blocks from Mitchell Street where you will find many restaurants, bars, shopping, and night life. If you walk to the end of Mitchel Street and turn left, walk to Smith and turn right, you can walk down to the Darwin Waterfront. It is about a 20-minute walk. You will find more restaurants, bars, and shopping on the Waterfront. Sky City Casino and Mindil Beach are a 4-minute car ride away. Other places you might like are: Palms City Resort , Darwin City Hotel, or Adina Apartment Hotel on the waterfront.
What to do: Here are our top 10 things to do in Darwin
- Relax and have dinner and drinks along Mitchel Street.
- Try to catch site of some wild wallabies at the East Point Reserve
- Feed the fish at the Aquascene on the water front. Check out the fish feeding times here.
- Visit the Darwin Military Museum and learn about Darwin’s history during World War II.
- Take a day trip to Litchfield National Park where you can relax in the rock-holes at Buley Rockhole or swim up to Florence or Wangi Falls. NOTE: Bring a pair of water shoes, sunscreen, and a towel. Better yet pack a cooler and enjoy the day.
- Take an overnight trip to Kakadu National Park where they filmed parts of Crocodile Dundee. While in Kakadu take a helicopter ride to really see and appreciate the beauty of the area. Stay in the Mercure Hotel shaped like a crocodile.
- Checkout the Sunset Market on Mindil Beach. (Thursday and Sunday evenings -May through October)
- Try your luck at the Sky City Casino located on the beach
- Take an early morning or night stroll along the Esplanade
- Have cocktails and do some shopping along the waterfront or enjoy the Lagoon.
Swimming the beaches can be a little dangerous especially in the wet season with the jelly-fish.
Whatever you do we think you will love Darwin. It is a great place to relax and get your feet wet. We suggest Cairns or Port Douglas as your next stop.
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