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Young man and women sitting on beach in front of Apollo rental campervan

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: AU Blog

Things to do in Darwin.

Planning a campervan journey through Darwin – where the sun blazes, the beer flows, and the crocs are as real (and feisty) as the legends say? In this blog, we’re going beyond ticking boxes off your Northern Territory travel itinerary; we're diving into the ultimate guide to things to do in Darwin. 

We'll cover everything from the sizzle of the temperatures in Darwin to the best spots for a cool swim (because, let’s be honest, you’ll need it!). You'll find out what to pack (spoiler: leave the thick woolly jumpers at home), the best times to visit, and, of course, the most iconic Darwin tourist attractions and things to do in Darwin on a Top End travel itinerary. And if you’re thinking about a campervan hire to explore the wonders of Darwin, North Territory, you’ve hit the jackpot. We have you covered there, too. Let’s dive in, shall we? 


What you need to know when visiting Darwin

Before you jump into your campervan and begin the remote trek to this northern city, there are a few things you should know about Darwin. This city is the ultimate gateway to Outback adventures, a hotspot for history buffs, and a paradise for nature lovers. Darwin is a small but lively city, bustling with markets, eateries, and a unique blend of cultures. It’s also the perfect starting point for an unforgettable campervan road trip. Whether you’re beginning your campervan trip from the Darwin Apollo branch or just stopping off on a longer Aussie road trip adventure, Darwin’s welcoming vibe is a perfect addition to any Northern Territory road trip holiday.


The weather in Darwin

In Darwin, Mother Nature has mood swings. From November to April, the wet season takes the stage with dramatic thunderstorms, high humidity, and temperatures dancing between 24-32°C. January is the diva of the year – lots of waterworks and quite the show-off. Then there's the dry season from May to October, with warm, sunny days, cooler nights (with temperatures in Darwin ranging from 21-31°C), and fewer thunderstorms. This is when your campervan becomes your best mate – the perfect temps to escape the southern chills, letting you chase the sun or find a balmy spot under the stars.


What to pack when visiting Darwin

Packing for a campervan road trip to Darwin is like preparing for an adventure date – you want to be ready for anything. Hydration is key, so bring plenty of water and a refillable water bottle. The sun here doesn’t play around (even in the Aussie ‘winter’), so arm yourself with sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Lightweight clothing is also your best friend, and comfy walking shoes are a must for both city and Outback walks. And lastly, don’t forget your swimming gear! While you need to be on the lookout for crocs and signage (they're not there for decoration!), there are still numerous croc-free swimming spots to cool off from the sweltering temperatures in Darwin.


The best time to visit Darwin

Timing is everything, especially when you're exploring Darwin in your campervan. The wet season can play hard to get with remote areas, so if you have specific spots in mind, plan accordingly. If cooler weather is more your jam, consider visiting during the dry season. Winter, however, with its tourist-friendly vibes, can get busy. So book your campervan hire and Darwin accommodation in advance. 

If you're a fan of tropical storms, the wet season is your front-row ticket to nature’s dramatic performances. But do be warned that our branches close during this time, as do many of the top must-see Darwin tourist attractions (not to mention that road closures out of the city are common.) So, you will need to plan accordingly if you are hoping to explore the Top End during the wet season. 


The best way to explore Darwin

What is the absolute best way to explore Darwin? Hands down, it's in an Apollo campervan. With a camper, you have the freedom to roam wherever the wind takes you, from the bustling city streets of Darwin to the serene outskirts of Kakadu or Litchfield National Park. A campervan offers versatility that other modes of transport can only dream of. And let’s not forget the budget-friendly aspect – your transport and accommodation, all rolled into one snazzy package. Whether you’re after a leisurely family road trip exploring Darwin's family-friendly attractions and activities or a spontaneous group adventure, a campervan hire with Apollo gives you the freedom to craft your own travel itinerary on your terms. That's not just travelling; that's travelling smart. Looking for a bit of travel itinerary inspiration? Be sure to check out our most loved Top End road trip itineraries: 


The best things to do in Darwin

Alright, you've got your campervan, your excited crew, and a map of Darwin – what's next? It's time to explore the best things to do in Darwin. We're going to dive into the must-visit Darwin attractions and lesser-known spots, all perfectly accessible in your trusty motorhome. From stunning natural attractions to cultural hotspots, each destination adds its unique flavour to your travel itinerary. So, let’s dive in and discover why Darwin, North Territory, is the gem of Australia's north.

Image: Lachlan Gardiner


1. Explore the waterfront

Darwin's Waterfront Precinct is like the cool kid of the city – everyone wants to hang out here. And why wouldn't they? It’s a vibrant mix of everything you could want: a wave lagoon for those who love a splash, top-notch shopping for the retail therapists, and a smorgasbord of eateries for the foodies. The best part? It's completely free to roam around and soak in the atmosphere. Just park your campervan nearby and step into a world where the city meets the sea. This is the place to relax, indulge, and watch the world go by in Darwin style.


2. Wander the Museum and Art Gallery

If you're a fan of culture, history, and art, then the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is your go-to spot in Darwin. Here, you can dive deep into the region's indigenous art, maritime history, and natural sciences. Exhibits range from ancient Aboriginal art to contemporary pieces, and there’s even a section dedicated to the region's unique and diverse wildlife. The museum, located near the stunning Fannie Bay, is a perfect stop on your Darwin road trip. And guess what? Admission is free – perfect for our budget-conscious adventurers. Just park your campervan and wander in for an afternoon well spent.


3. Relax at Mindil Beach

Picture this: a sunset that looks like a painter's dream, the sound of waves gently crashing, and the taste of…crocodile? Yes, you read that right. Mindil Beach is not just a stunning beach to relax and soak up the Darwin sun; it's also home to the famous Mindil Beach Markets. Here, you can try a range of exotic foods, including crocodile delicacies. The markets are a carnival of colours, scents, and sounds, making them a must-visit on your Darwin tourist attractions list. It's a place where locals and tourists mingle, shop, eat, and enjoy live entertainment. And it's all just a stone's throw from the heart of the city, making it an easy stop on your campervan journey.


4. Explore Berry Springs Nature Park

Now, let's talk about a slice of paradise outside Darwin: Berry Springs Nature Park. Think clear, spring-fed pools, perfect for a refreshing dip, lush walking trails for the bird watchers and flower enthusiasts (especially vibrant in spring), and BBQ areas for a family picnic. It’s a great spot to relax and connect with nature. But keep in mind, during the wet season, roads can get a bit tricky and are prone to flooding, so always check road conditions. The park is a short 40-minute drive from Darwin, making it a perfect day trip in your campervan.  


5. Take a day trip to Litchfield National Park

Next up on the list of Darwin tourist attractions is Litchfield National Park, an absolute must on your Darwin road trip. Imagine a place where waterfalls cascade into crystal-clear pools, where giant termite mounds rise like nature's skyscrapers, and where the untamed wilderness beckons. Just an hour’s drive in your campervan from Darwin, Litchfield National Park is a haven for nature lovers. Highlights include the mesmerising Florence Falls and the iconic Wangi Falls, perfect for a swim in their natural (croc-free) pools. While your campervan will get you to many spots, note that some areas in Litchfield require a 4WD – so plan ahead. Best of all, entry to the park is free, making it an affordable addition to your travel itinerary. Pack a picnic and your swimming gear, and get ready for an unforgettable day surrounded by nature's finest.


6. Visit Darwin Aviation Museum

The next stop for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts is the Darwin Aviation Museum. This top-rated museum is a treasure when it comes to aviation history, featuring a diverse collection of aircraft, including a B-52 bomber, one of the largest aircraft on display in the world. The museum also delves into Darwin's World War II history and the city’s significant role in aviation. There's a small entry fee, but it's a small price to pay for a journey through aviation history. Located conveniently close to the city, it's an easy and worthwhile addition to your Darwin tourist attractions list for history and aviation lovers. 


7. See the World War 2 Oil Tunnels

Speaking of history, another one of the most unmissable Darwin attractions is the World War 2 Oil Tunnels. These tunnels reveal a fascinating part of Darwin's war history. Constructed during World War II, these tunnels were intended to protect oil supplies from Japanese air raids. Today, they stand as a poignant reminder of the past, complete with historical photographs and information plaques. This is designed to be a self-guided tour, allowing you to take in the history at your own pace. It's a thought-provoking addition to your Darwin road trip, offering a unique perspective on the city's resilience. 

Image: Lachlan Gardiner


Where to stay in Darwin

After a day of exploring, where do you park your campervan for the night? Darwin offers a range of accommodation options perfect for those on a campervan road trip. From holiday parks nestled in nature to spots closer to the city’s buzz and Darwin tourist attractions, you'll find the perfect place to rest. So, let's check out some top picks for places to stay in Darwin that will make your campervan hire adventure even more memorable.


Big4 Hidden Valley Holiday Park

For a true getaway feel, set your GPS to BIG4 Hidden Valley Holiday Park. Nestled amidst tropical gardens, this park is a serene retreat 10 minutes from Darwin’s city centre. It's a paradise for those travelling in a campervan, offering spacious sites and modern amenities. The park is also close to the iconic Hidden Valley Motor Sports Complex, making it a unique spot for motorsport enthusiasts. What sets it apart is its picturesque setting and family-friendly facilities, including a swimming pool, BBQ areas, and a kids' playground. Getting here in your campervan is a breeze, with well-marked routes from central Darwin.


Big4 Howard Springs Holiday Park

Another gem for campervan travelers looking for convenient Darwin accommodation options is BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park. Located about 30 minutes from Darwin’s CBD, this park offers a tranquil escape close to Howard Springs Nature Park. Its standout features include lush tropical gardens and a huge saltwater pool. The park is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, making it ideal for those travelling with kids. Plus, its location means you’re just a short drive away from the top Darwin tourist attractions as well as the gateway to Kakadu and Litchfield National Park – offering both seclusion and convenience. It is a perfect peaceful oasis to park up at while exploring the best things to do in Darwin and beyond.


Darwin Holiday and Caravan Park

Last but not least, consider the Darwin Holiday and Caravan Park for places to stay in Darwin when exploring in a campervan. This park is a stone's throw from the city, offering easy access to the best Darwin attractions while providing a peaceful setting. Travelling in a campervan, you’ll find suitable sites along with top-notch facilities, including a swimming pool, BBQ areas, and a camp kitchen. The park’s proximity to major attractions like the Darwin Aviation Museum and Mindil Beach makes it an ideal base. This is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the city's highlights without any hassle.


Ready to see all that Darwin has to offer?

Darwin, a city brimming with adventure, culture, and stunning natural beauty, is calling. If you are ready to explore where the modern meets the wild, where history intertwines with vibrant city life – your journey in Darwin aboard an Apollo campervan promises freedom and unforgettable experiences. Book your Apollo campervan online today and pick it up from any of our ten Apollo branches. Darwin awaits with its rugged Outback adventures and city treasures.

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