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Darwin and Top End | The Ultimate Travel Guide

Gear up for your adventure to the NT.

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Florence Falls in the Northern Territory

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Often viewed as a gateway to Australia's Top End; the northernmost section of the Northern Territory,(NT) Darwin is a budding city that welcomes many an adventure seeker to its doorstep.Its tropical climate, strong Indigenous ties and World War II significance make it a destination overflowing with cultural and historical experiences.

Break the boundaries of the city and you'll be graced with a rich landscape of wetlands and sandstone in the nearby Kakadu National Park and of waterfalls and waterholes in the nearby Litchfield National Park.

Searching for the ultimate outback experience? Darwin can get you in.

Getting around in Darwin and the Top End

The Top End has a comprehensive bus network that connects Darwin with other towns in the area.

Walking and cycling are also great ways to explore Darwin if you are travelling in winter. The city of Darwin is quite compact, so commuting on foot between attractions such as Mindil Beach Market, the War Memorial and the Marina is not difficult on foot.

However, for those looking to visit the far-flung areas of Top End, renting a car might be the best option.

Darwin and Top End public transport

  • Types of transport: Public buses in and around Darwin are run by Darwinbus. They are affordable, comfortable and connect all major attractions of Darwin as well as the Palmerston and Casuarina suburbs. Alternatively, you can take the "TourTub", a hop-on-hop-off open tourist bus that goes around the city.
  • Paying for transport: A single ticket costs $3 which allows you to travel for three hours on any bus route. There are also options for unlimited daily and weekly passes, costing $7 and $20 respectively.
  • Getting to and from the airport: Buslink buses can get you from Darwin Airport to the CBD.
  • Best apps for getting around: With NT Bus Tracker, you can search buses, view schedules and track buses in real time.

Taxis and Rideshare

Taxi: Taxis can be hailed in Darwin from the streets, taxi ranks or can be pre-booked online and over a phone.

Rideshare: Ola is currently the only rideshare company operating in Darwin. Uber doesn't operate in Northern Territory.

Darwin and Top End car hire

Hiring and driving a car in the Top End is a fun-filled adventure. With a private vehicle, you have the liberty to explore remote areas that are not generally accessible by public transport or taxis.

Car rental desks of major car hire services like Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty are available on the ground floor of Darwin Airport.

Read more about car hire in Darwin

Airport transfers in Darwin

You can book a shared shuttle of a private vehicle in advance through companies like Viator and Jayride.

Private transfer from Darwin Airport to hotel
Private transfer from Darwin Airport to hotel

Viator

Private transfer from hotel to Darwin Airport
Private transfer from hotel to Darwin Airport

Viator

Frequently asked questions about Darwin and the Top End

The capital city of Australia's Northern Territory is set on the picturesque Timor Sea and boasts warm temperatures, eclectic cultural cuisine and fantastic outdoor festivals.

There are things to see and do in abundance in Darwin, so what's stopping you? Have a few key questions you'd like answered before planning your trip? Look no further; we're here to help.

Is Darwin expensive compared to the rest of Australia?

In short, yes.

Hotel prices are among the most expensive in Australia, and you'll struggle to find a room for less than $100 per night. Comparing hotel prices can help you get the best rates.

Petrol is also more expensive in the Northern Territory, with some remote stations charging in excess of $2 a litre.

You'll need to savour your daily java hit too, as local coffee shops charge $4.50 on average for a small coffee to take away.

Groceries cost more than they do in most other cities, due to the transportation costs.

Dining out? If you shop around, you can find some great places to eat for a reasonable price. If you fancy fine dining and a little more extravagance the price will reflect this.

Does Darwin have a casino?

It certainly does. Darwin is home to a SKYCITY casino, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and boasts over 600 gaming machines. Table games are open from 12pm to 4am Thursday to Sunday, and to 6am Friday and Saturday.

Does Darwin have an international airport?

Yes. Darwin International Airport is the busiest airport in the Northern Territory. It has an international terminal, a domestic terminal and a cargo terminal.

Is Darwin airport open 24 hours?

Yes. Darwin airport is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so layovers aren't an issue.

Is Darwin safe for tourists?

Darwin is a safe city, but travellers need to take protective measures against sun damage, road trains and wildlife.

Darwin is a hot city. Drink plenty of water, use a good amount of sunscreen and wear a sunhat.

If you're driving outside the city centre, be aware that there are vehicles much larger than yours on the road. Some of the road freight trains have as many as 70 wheels and three carriages, so allow appropriate space when you spot one that's about to switch lanes.

Venomous snakes and spiders, biting ants and mosquitoes, and, of course, crocodiles are all native to Darwin. Be cautious and avoid taking hikes, or swimming, in unknown areas.

Are Darwin's beaches safe for swimming?

During the dry season from May to October, the beaches are safe from jellyfish, and all beaches and creeks are ranger protected and have an abundance of crocodile traps. However, although Darwin beaches are relatively safe, vacationers must always exert caution.

Is Darwin humid?

Darwin has a tropical climate and so has two distinct seasons. The wet season comes with high humidity levels paired with monsoons and stormy weather conditions. In the dry season there is a substantial drop in humidity levels and a much more settled weather pattern.

Does Darwin have daylight savings?

The Northern Territory abandoned daylight savings in 1992 and the clocks no longer change.


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