Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and the gateway to the world famous Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. Perched on Australia’s northern coast facing the Timor Sea, Darwin is a tropical city that enjoys warm weather all year round, and seems to have more in common with South East Asia than with the rest of Australia.
A cosmopolitan city that’s home to an array of nationalities, Darwin is also a city that’s rich in history and culture: some of the country’s best museums and art galleries are located here.
When you factor in an abundance of quality restaurants, bars, cafés and shopping options, spending a day or two in sunny Darwin is apt to be an enjoyable experience.
Cruise ships dock at the Fort Hill Wharf, which is only 500 metres from the CBD. Guests can take a shuttle bus (for a fee) from the wharf to the Darwin Visitor Centre right in the heart of the city.
Alternatively, guests can walk into town, turning right after exiting the terminal building and then taking an elevator to get up the hill. Once up the hill, Smith Street Mall is only a couple of blocks away.
Fort Hill Wharf is a purpose-built cruise ship terminal that’s fully air-conditioned and equipped with all the modern amenities to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
- Public toilets
- Transit lounge
- Covered walkway
- Wi-Fi access.
There are numerous taxis just outside the port that can take passengers across the city and to some of the region’s outlying attractions.
Alternatively, visit one of the many car hire offices found throughout the Darwin CBD if you’d prefer having your own transport for the day.
How to get around
Darwin is a small city and the CBD is easily explored on foot. Cruise ship passengers can either take the shuttle bus into town and get dropped off at the Darwin Visitor Centre, or walk 15 minutes from the wharf to the CBD.
If you’d like to venture outside the CBD and explore more of the Northern Territory – such as the Litchfield National Park – you can either take a taxi or rent a car. If the latter, it’s advisable to pre-arrange your car hire before arriving in Darwin.
Travel times from the Darwin Visitor Centre:
- It is an 8 minute journey to Crocosaurus Cove
- It is a 10 minute journey to Smith Street Mall.
- It is a 7 minute journey to the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
- It is a 2 hour journey to the Litchfield National Park.
- Currency - The currency in Darwin is the Australian dollar. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations. Notes are available in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
- Time Zone - Darwin is on Australian Central Standard Time (ACST). It is 9.5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - Darwin has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry season runs from April to October, whilst the city sees most of its rainfall between November through to March. Despite the two distinct seasons, the average temperature in Darwin hovers around 31 degrees Celsius.
- Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory - Home to an exquisite display of Aboriginal Art, a huge collection of arts and crafts from nearby islands and Indonesia, and a 5 metre-long, 780kg stuffed saltwater crocodile, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is not to be missed while in town. The Museum is right in the heart of Darwin and is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm (Monday to Friday) and 10am to 5pm (weekends and Public holidays).
- Crocosaurus Cove - Smack bang in the middle of the CBD on Mitchell Street, Crocosaurus Cove is Darwin’s ultimate urban wildlife experience. Visitors to the park can get up close and personal with Australian saltwater crocodiles and learn more about these fascinating creatures. If that seems a little too tame, then visitors can partake in a once-in-a-lifetime experience by getting in the water with these powerful animals: inside a reinforced cage, of course! The park is open 7 days a week from 9am to 6pm (closed on Christmas), and entry costs $32 per adult.
- Litchfield National Park - Covering an area of approximately 1500km2 and attracting over 250,000 visitors every year, Litchfield National Park is one of Australia’s premier tourist attractions. A two hour drive south of Darwin, Litchfield is home to numerous tropical waterfalls, creeks, rainforests and species of wildlife, including kangaroos, possums, foxes and dingoes. Litchfield National Park can be visited any time of the year, although most 4WD tracks are closed during the wet season (between December and March).