G’day Travelers! Having just gotten back from Darwin, I thought I should put together some of my tips for things to know before you go to Darwin, in the Northern Territory, for the first time. Tourism is a big part of the Darwin economy and the city is well setup to cater for local and international tourists.
Darwin is the state capital of the Northern Territory and the smallest and most northerly capital city in Australia. It’s also the gateway to the top end of Australia with the world famous Kakadu National Park only a few hours drive away.
Getting To The City From The Airport
There are several ways to get to and from Darwin International Airport (which is also the domestic airport). The easiest, but most expensive is to use a taxi. There is a taxi rank right out the front of the terminal that is serviced buy all of the cities Taxi companies. It will set you back about $30 to catch a taxi to or from the center of the city. To find out more about Darwin Airport’s taxi services, visit – http://www.darwinairport.com.au/to-from-airport/taxi-services
If you are looking to save some money, then the Darwin Airport Shuttle bus service offers direct to hotel airport transfers around the city. The shuttle bus will set you back $30 for a return ticket (about half the cost of a Taxi). To find out more visit the Darwin Airport Shuttle website – http://www.darwinairportshuttle.com.au/
However for backpackers or people who are really looking to save money, there is the option of the public busses. You’ll find a variety of public bus routes on the main road to the airport (McMillans Rd). Bus tickets are cheap with a 3 Hour ticket, just $3 or and full day ticket $7. To find out more about the busses and the schedules head to http://transport.nt.gov.au/public/bus/darwin
Getting Around The City
Getting around Darwin is pretty easy, while there are bus services around the city, the city itself is very small and relatively flat, making it really easy to just walk around. Everything in the central part of Darwin is within easy walking distance from everything else.
Getting Beyond The City
Getting beyond the city is where you should start looking at the bus services. Although I did walk from the center of the city to the Mindil Markets without any issues, but I like walking and exploring. Bus services are relatively cheap, with a full day ticket just $7 for adults while weekly tickets are even better value at $20. To find out where the bus services operate, visit http://transport.nt.gov.au/public/bus/darwin.
That said, Darwin is well setup for tourist, with most of the key attractions offering some sort of transport service from the city as part of their admission. So it’s worth checking those out and booking tours through the number operators located on Mitchell Street or the Smith Street Mall.
Renting a car is also a good option, if you’d like a little more freedom to explore. The roads are well sign posted and relatively easy to navigate.
Where To Find Food?/What To Do In The Evenings?
Darwin offers plenty of options for where to find food and entertainment in the evenings. If you’re after a good cheap meal with a sensational view, then its hard to go past the Mindil Markets on a Thursday and Sunday night during the dry season. The markets are full of food vendors that cater for a variety of tastes, with the added bonus of an amazing sunset on the beach and street performers to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then head to Stokes Hill Wharf and the Waterfront area. The Wharf is home to several restaurants with views out over the Port of Darwin, while there are a few more restaurants and casual dining options located at the base of the hotels in the area.
If you are looking for something a little more relaxed, then head to Mitchell Street. Mitchell Street is the tourist hub of Darwin with food options catering for backpackers through to bigger budgets. You’ll find a variety of pubs and relaxed restaurants to grab a decent meal.
Where To Stay?
There are hotels all over Darwin to cater for all sorts of budgets. You’ll find a large concentration of accommodation near Mitchell Street and The Esplanade within easy walking distance to all Darwin’s key attractions. The accommodation towards Mitchell Street catering more towards backpackers and cheaper options while The Esplanade (which is only the next street over) featuring more 4 and 5 star brand name hotels.
For something just outside the city, there are a couple of large hotels located in the Waterfront precinct, which could also be a good option for staying in Darwin. The hotels offer stunning views over the Port of Darwin and all the facilities of the precinct, including the Convention Center.
If you are looking to stay on the beach, then Skycity Casino might be a better option. Located just to the north of the city next to Mindil Beach, the SkyCity offers all the facilities of the Casino, while backing on to the beach with stunning sunsets. Here’s a selection of some Darwin’s accommodation options.
If you’d like to see some suggestions of things to do while in Darwin, check out my top 5 things to Darwin.
Have you been to Darwin before? Got some tips first timers might be able to take advantage of? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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