Best Free Things To Do In Darwin

Hurray! We were on our way to Australia once again. The first time, we went to Tasmania and Sydney, which was an awesome experience for us. This time, we were going to somewhere even more wild and isolated. Guess what? It’s the Northern Territory (NT). And the first destination for most people when they arrive NT will be Darwin. So in this post, I’m going to show you the Best Free Things To Do In Darwin!

Before I go into the trip, it’ll be nice for you to know a little bit about NT, so that you will get to know a little about its culture and when is the best time to go.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin map

Climate

The Northern Territory has two distinctive climate zones – dry and wet season. During the dry season (May to September) nearly every day is warm and sunny, while the wet season (October to April) is associated with tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. The majority of rainfall occurs between December and March when thunderstorms are common. Warning! Even though you may enjoy rain and water, don’t go there during the wet season, as there is frequent flooding. Roads are sealed during the wet season, so you probably will end up not being able to anywhere.

kakadu-sunset


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Population

As at September last year, the Territory had a population of 244,500. Wait a second, just 244,500?! Yes, no kidding. The number of the Territory’s population represents 1% of the total population of Australia. And it is far smaller than the tiny country Singapore where I am living in, which has over 5.5 million. Man, no wonder my country is super crowded, and I feel so isolated when I was in NT. With some background knowledge, now let’s move onto our journey!

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin?

The capital and largest city of NT is Darwin. It’s a very relaxing and slow city, so slow that a city girl like me found it really hard to adapt to. Nevertheless, you can still managed to pack your day with some awesome activities, starting with the Museum and Art Gallery. And of course the list below is not exhaustive. If you have budgets to spare and want to fully explore all the fun things to do in Darwin, check out 15 Best Things To Do In Darwin.

  • Best Free Things To Do In Darwin – The Museum and Art Gallery

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is the Top End’s premier cultural and artistic organisation. Set in a scenic location overlooking the Arafura Sea in Darwin, the MAGNT is home to internationally renowned artistic, cultural and scientific collections and research programs.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin-museum

The museum displays a variety of art collections. It also has a special collection of aboriginal art, which is very unique and thought-provoking. If you love to understand more about aboriginal culture, you should definitely take your time to appreciate the gallery.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin paper dress


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If you are not a fan of art but are curious about wildlife and different kinds of species, you can visit another section of the museum. The section offers very interactive and interesting display, allowing you to learn about the creatures in a fun and easy-to-understand way.

I particularly found the crocodile called “Sweetheart” the most memorable. Don’t be confused by the sweet name. Sweetheart is actually a large male Saltwater (Estuarine) Crocodile. It is also a legendary part of recent Northern Territory history.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin inside the museum

A little bit about Sweetheart

In the 1970s, Sweetheart gained notoriety for attacking dinghies at a popular Darwin fishing spot. Safety concerns were raised and the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory decided to capture Sweetheart and relocate him to a local crocodile farm. On the 19th of July 1979, Sweetheart was caught in a trap and anaesthetised, but in the attempt to haul his considerable bulk ashore, the animal became entangled with a sunken log and drowned. The body was presented to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. If you want to find out more about Sweetheart, you can check out here.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin sweetheart


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  • Best Free Things To Do In Darwin – Bicentennial Park

After taking good look at the museum, you can take a stroll along the Bicentennial Park, which locates right at the city centre. If you have the time, you can walk all the way to the waterfront which looks over Darwin Harbour. The park is home to monuments dedicated to those who died during the Bombing of Darwin.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin park

  • Best Free Things To Do In Darwin – Darwin Waterfront

Much of Darwin’s action happens along its revitalised waterfront, which is lined with restaurants, shops, sandy lagoons and parklands. You can also check out the Darwin Convention Centre which is the iconic landmark of the harbour city.

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin waterfront


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  • Best Free Things To Do In Darwin – Mindil Beach

Be sure to check out Mindil Beach and catch a nice sunset. On every Thursday and Sunday evening, as the sun dips into the sea, many locals descend on Mindil Beach to have a great time at the Sunset Market. Food is the main attraction − Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Malaysian to Brazilian, Greek, Portuguese and more. Colourful arts and crafts vendors peddle their wares – handmade jewellery, natural remedies, artistic creations and unique fashion statements. Be sure to check out the market when you happen to be around the area and enjoy yourself!

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin midil-beach

 

Where to eat?

We went to Laneway Specialty Coffee for lunch. The café was beautifully and artistically decorated, and the food was pretty good. The staffs were warm and friendly too. It’s perfect spot if you want to enjoy nice coffee and chill.

laneway-cafe-2

laneway-cafe-3


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Where to stay?

Surrounded by tropical gardens, with swimming pools and a waterfall at its centre, Travelodge Mirambeena Resort offers a tropical oasis in the heart of Darwin city centre. The room is comfortable and clean, and the staffs are very friendly. What’s more, the rooms are usually under $75, making it a great option for travellers who want to enjoy luxurious facilities such as swimming pool with a smart budget.

travelodge-mirambeena-resort-darwin

This modern boutique hotel is located in the heart of Darwin city centre. It offers beautifully appointed rooms, plus a restaurant, café, 24-hour room service and an outdoor plunge pool. Darwin Central Hotel is within easy walking distance to cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, restaurants and shopping. The Esplanade, on Darwin’s waterfront, is only 200 m away.

darwin-central-hotel

Offering a swimming pool, a bar and an award-winning restaurant. It’s a great budget hotel offering good facilities and comfortable rooms. The bar offers a wide choice of craft beer, while The Cav restaurant serves local and international cuisine. The Cav features a BBQ night on Mondays, a Mexican night on Tuesdays, 2 for 1 steak night on Thursdays and wine tasting on Fridays.

the-cavenagh

If you prefer living in a local’s house, check out what Marine has to offer. It’s a very affordable private room with great location, close to the famous Mindle Beach Markets, Casino, Museum and plenty of great clubs and eateries. If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb, you can sign up here, which will give you $35 off when you book your first stay. What’s more, I can also get $35 travel credit. Win-win for you and me.

airbnb-darwin

Best Free Things To Do In Darwin – Itinerary at a glance:

  • The Museum and Art Gallery (Free admission)
    Opening Hours:
    Monday to Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
    Weekends and Public Holidays: 10:00am – 5:00pm
    Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Good Friday
  • Bicentennial Park
  • Darwin Waterfront
  • Mindil Beach
  • Sunset Market (every Thursday and Sunday evening)
  • workmomtravels

    Darwin seems quite interesting. I think I’d like to check it out but definitely not during the wet season! I’ve been to Australia once – it was more than 20 years ago – but didn’t make it to NT. I have a crocodile phobia but Sweetheart’s story still makes me sad. Poor guy didn’t need to be drowned 🙁

    • Wow 20 years ago! I wonder what does Australia looked like back then. Yes crocodiles are indeed scary, so we need to take extra precautions when we visit NT as they are literally everywhere! Poor Sweetheart will be remembered by us. 🙂

  • wanderingwagarschristina

    I have heard that Darwin is a great place to visit when going to Australia. I would certainly enjoy the beach. It looks lovely.

    • Hi Christina, the beach is indeed lovely and Darwin is a great starting point if you want to explore nearby national parks. You’ll love NT if you the nature and the wild!

  • Very cool. I haven’t been to Australia yet but can’t wait to check out Darwin. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Sarah. Northern Territory has a lot to offer if you are an adventure goer! I will be posting more about trips to Kakadu National park soon and it’s a place with the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen!

  • There’s so much to do in Darwin! I’m used to smaller cities, so I think I would enjoy it very much. The story of Sweetheart is intriguing and sad. There’s a huge alligator called Mighty Mike living in Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, USA, who has a far happier ending.

    • Sounds like an interesting story to hear! You must had a great time in the aquarium! Yes it’s indeed a sad story. But at least we will remember Sweet Heart for the rest of our lives!

  • Looks like an epic trip to Australia! There’s so much to see, even in the little towns. The food market at Mindil Beach sounds like fun!

    • Yes it is a fun place to go! Really adds a lot of excitement to Darwin. 🙂

  • Sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful trip to northern Australia! I can’t believe the small population for that area, but I guess that makes sense. I’ve heard it is pretty isolated. I cannot wait to get there and look forward to reading about your trip!!

    • Hey Dang, NT is indeed an isolated place and very wild and down-to-earth. I will be posting more about trips to Kakadu National park soon and it’s a place with the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen! You should totally visit the national park if you love adventure and nature.