My Pick of the best things to see and do in Darwin

Most of our Kimberley cruise clients will start or finish in Darwin. 

I have previously written a blog on my pick of things to see and do in Broome which you can see here. It’s a much shorter article because really Broome is just a small country town! Darwin is much, much bigger and there is a reasonable amount to see and do in Darwin and even more if you use Darwin as a base to explore the Top End.

Top End Termite Mound Northern Territory

If you just want an extensive list of short tours and experiences in and around Darwin (without my input) then click here.

Tours in Darwin

If you are short on time then a good starting point would be the Darwin City Sights Half day tour.

The Big Bus Darwin Explorer offers 1 or 2 days Hop-On Hop-Off tickets which allows you to plan your own itinerary and visit the landmarks and attractions at your own pace. 

Departing in the afternoon just before 1pm, you’ll board an air-conditioned coach to discover the historic sites of the city including the East Point Military Precinct, Mooring Basin & Stokes Hill Wharf. You will also gain some knowledge and insight into Australia’s World War 2 history with time to explore the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Note that the cyclone Tracy exhibit at the museum is really good.

Alternatively you might prefer to take the ‘hop on, hop off pass’ 

Darwin Harbour sunset cruise

This is a nice way to view a Top End sunset on board a 3 level catamaran with optional buffet dinner.

Heli-pub crawl

I was altered to this unusual pub crawl idea by one of my recent clients. This has become an iconic little trip as you are transported between four different, remote pubs (Crab Claw Island, Darwin River Tavern, Goat Island and Noonamah Tavern); something different to say the least.

From $1050 per person 

Day tours from Darwin

Kakadu National Park

Paul Hogan helped make this park one of the most famous….The world famous and iconic NT world heritage site of Kakadu (Australia’s biggest national park) is a few hours by road from Darwin and thoroughly worth a visit both for its natural beauty, wildlife (lots of crocs for starters but bird lovers will be in heaven as well) and cultural significance. 

Twin falls gorge, Kakadu National Park, Northern territory, Australia

Now Kakadu can be “done“ in a one day trip – but it’s a really long day!

But my recommendation is a 2 day/1 night itinerary that will include a East Alligator River Tour. 

The tour will pick up from most central Darwin hotels early on day one of the tour and drop you back in the early evening of the second day so you get your money’s worth. (And you’ll learn why the river is called East Alligator River even though Australia doesn’t have alligators!)

Litchfield National Park

If you are a little short on time then I can recommend a day tour to Litchfield, Kakadu’s little brother. Litchfield is much closer to Darwin so is easily accessible for a day. With huge termite mounds, giant rock formations, rock pools and waterfalls this is a really worthwhile way to spend a free day, perhaps just before setting off on a Kimberley cruise.

Litchfield National Park

Prices start at $195 per person for this day trip and that includes pick up/drop off at major Darwin hotels.

Katherine Gorge

If the Ghan is part of your itinerary then you will be stopping at Katherine and taking a cruise between the sandstone cliffs. If not then you may want to consider a full day trip to Katherine gorge that includes a 2 cruise. Like Kakadu it is a very long day. And beware. If you are seeing Katherine Gorge before you see the Kimberley then that’s fine. But after you’ve seen King George Falls then any other gorge, even at Katherine, doesn’t compare.

Northern Territory: Pats Lookout, Katherine Gorge


The top end is synonymous with crocs. You will probably see a few on your Kimberley cruise (that’s why you don’t swim off the beaches on those cruises) but if you really need more (and closer) croc time then these three options are available. 

Adelaide River Jumping Crocodile Cruise.

A bit daggy but great photo opportunities 

Jumping Crocodiles, Adelaide River, NT Australia

Visit Crocosaurus Cove 

If, like me, you are fascinated by crocodiles then you will find some of the largest crocs in the world right in the heart of Darwin at Crocosaurus Cove. And if you are particularly brave (foolish?) you can try the ‘cage of death’!

About Jenny

I’m an expert in small ship cruising in the Kimberley and have completed four cruises on different vessels along this spectacular coastline. With a family I now work part-time so if you would like to have a chat with me about Kimberley cruising at a time that suits you book in a call here  and I will call you then.

Cruises in the Kimberley are not ‘one size fits all’ scenario; there are different ships and itineraries each offering their own special elements.  If you would like some general information to start your research then download my free guide to Kimberley cruising here.   I have also written some really interesting blogs (if I do say so myself) click here to have read.

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