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Experience the beguiling Australian Outback on Darwin cruises. The coastal capital of Australia’s Northern Territory is known for its spectacular sunsets and multicultural food scene. Embrace the balmy weather as you make your way through Darwin’s open-air market, marsh wetlands, and stunning national parks. On an Australia cruise to this exciting port of call, you can swim with crocodiles, savor the city’s eclectic cuisine, and enjoy a serene cruise around the sparkling harbor at sundown.
Just outside of Darwin, you’ll find Litchfield National Park, an eco-wonderland full of misty waterfalls, crystal-clear swimming holes, and monsoon forest. Hike through its lush trails or soar over the park while on a helicopter. Make sure to visit the Lost City, a breathtaking area with stunning sandstone formations that date back millions of years, and the enormous Magnetic Termite Mounds, which were made by tiny armies of grass-eating termites.
Discover the plants of northern Australia during a stroll around the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Witness spectacular displays of color in the blooming bromeliads, orchids, and heliconias. Learn about the garden’s history and the ways plants were used by Aboriginals. Children will enjoy spending time in the playground and treehouse or climbing up the baobab trees, while adults will find serenity at the garden’s cascading waterfall.
As the premier museum of the area, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is well worth a visit. Its extensive collection of Aboriginal art is a marvel that includes island carvings and park paintings, while a room solely dedicated to Cyclone Tracy displays the city’s resilience in the aftermath of this devastating natural disaster. While you’re here, say hello to Sweetheart, a 17-foot-long stuffed alligator that once terrorized fishing boats in the Finniss River.
There are several ways to interact with Darwin’s famous saltwater crocodiles. Take a cruise around the Adelaide River, where you’ll spot these ferocious reptiles jumping out of the water to feed on food high above. If you’re feeling brave, head to Crocosaurus Cove, where you can take a dip in a special pool and go cage swimming right next to the crocs.
Admire the view during a scenic cruise around Darwin Harbour, which is twice as large as the iconic Sydney Harbour. Spot birds overhead, learn about the 1942 bombing raid that sank 12 ships, and finish off your relaxing tour by admiring the sunset over the Timor Sea.
Explore Australia’s bushland at the Territory Wildlife Park. Hike around the park’s jungle trails, or go on a guided safari and discover several of the Top End’s signature animals including wallabies, Tata dragons, Australian pelicans, long neck turtles, and black wallaroos.
On Darwin cruises, you’ll discover cuisine featuring strong Asian influences and fresh ocean ingredients. Stop by one of the open-air markets, where you’ll find a melange of street foods with Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian flavors. Taste one of the area’s local staples, like a barramundi burger, mud crab, or fried crocodile tail.
The first settlers in Darwin were the indigenous Larrakia people. In 1839, Lt. John Port Stokes arrived on the shores of Darwin and named the harbor after his friend and former shipmate, Charles Darwin. During World War II, the city was devastated by a series of bombings and air raids by the Japanese. Once the war ended, the city was rebuilt only to encounter disaster once again in 1974, when the vicious Cyclone Tracy wrecked most of Darwin. Even though several thousand people were displaced, many returned to the city soon after. Through extensive reconstruction efforts, Darwin evolved into the cosmopolitan haven it is today.
The Darwin cruise port is Fort Hill Wharf, which is less than a mile away from the city’s center. There are many destinations within walking distance of the port, including the Darwin Waterfront Precinct, the Smith Street Mall, and the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels.
Darwin is an excellent city to discover on foot. If you’re looking to venture further out during your day in port on a cruise to Darwin, there are also taxis, shuttles, and hop-on, hop-off buses (HOHO) you can take. If you’ve signed up for a shore excursion, transportation to and from the cruise port is included.
Within walking distance of Fort Hill Wharf, you’ll find major supermarkets, pharmacies, and the Smith Street Mall, where there are plenty of stores and souvenir shops to explore.
You’ll use the Australian dollar (AUD) during Darwin cruises. Major credit cards are accepted in most places, but it’s always a good idea to carry around some cash, which you can find at any ATM or money exchange. Tipping is not common, but if you enjoyed excellent service, you can always leave a little something extra.
If you love eclectic cuisine, Darwin, which sits at the top of the Northern Territories and is therefore at the crossroads of so many cultures, will not disappoint. Sample everything from crocodile and barramundi to mud crabs and buffalo. Once you've had your fill of culinary adventures, saunter into the street and watch musicians and performers show off traditional Aboriginal culture.