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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > Australia > Northern Territory > Darwin

Darwin Weather

35°C

Local time Darwin

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Things to do in Darwin

Discover Darwin’s roots

If you want to get an insight into the area’s truest roots, a visit to the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (tel: +61 8 8999 8264; www.magnt.net.au) is a must. You’ll find collections devoted to aboriginal art, Cyclone Tracy (which decimated the city in 1974) and a vast Natural Sciences exhibit that’s home to over 1.2 million animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens.

Shop like a local at Mindil Beach Market

If you want to get an instant hit of Darwinian culture – taste its food, see its art, wear its clothes and see its sunset – Mindil Beach Market (www.mindil.com.au) is your literal one-stop shop. It operates Thursday and Sunday from April to October and there's no better place in the city to watch the sun sink into the water.

Strap on those walking boots

Bushwalkers looking for a lung-busting hike should head for the Tabletop Track in Litchfield National Park. This famous long-distance trek features waterfalls, tropical monsoon rainforest and blessedly cool swimming holes. It's not for beginners and takes three to five days to complete, but can be done in shorter sections. Speak to the Tourist Information Centre (tel: +61 8 8976 0282) for all the info.

Swimming

Swimming options abound in Darwin. The waterfront is the place to go: grab a boogie board and ride the swell in the Wave Pool, or head for Recreation Lagoon where nets protect swimmers from marine stingers. Alternatively, an hour's drive from Darwin is Berry Springs Nature Park, a popular day trip destination where you can swim and snorkel in a creek dotted with clear pools containing fish life.

Take to the skies in a helicopter

If you want to take to the skies, companies like Darwin Helicopter Tours (tel: +61 8 8972 2345; www.airbornesolutions.com.au) offer tours of Darwin and its surroundings. One of the most popular/endearingly foolish is a ‘Flying Crocs' tour along the Adelaide River, which enables you to observe these 2m-long (6ft) reptiles up close as they leap out of the water to grab meat held out for them.

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Value Inn

Don't be put off by the name, all the rooms in this affordable city centre hotel feature queen sized beds, a single bed, air conditioning and en suite facilities. There are also three pools, a licensed bar, and a spa available for guest use at Melaleuca on Mitchell, the award-winning backpackers hangout across the road.

Oaks Elan Darwin

This impressive newbie is a 301-room property with a range of one- and two-bed apartments. It has a decent central location, while the in-house restaurant, O.A.K., is another good reason to visit. Private balconies, air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi are all part of the deal too.

The Cavenagh

This centrally located hotel is a great base from which to explore Darwin's vibrant nightlife. The Cav also delivers a touch of luxury, with a large outdoor swimming pool, TV lounge and free Wi-Fi throughout, in addition to a cozy bar and restaurant.

Skycity Darwin

It's always a gamble staying at a casino, especially if you're open to temptations. This place is a winner, though. It's a casino hotel set among 7 hectares (17 acres) of tropical beachside gardens. There is a selection of dining options on-site as well as a pool. It's also very close to the Mindil Beach Markets.

Mantra Pandanas

Neatly situated in the heart of the city, Mantra Pandanas has 336 hotel rooms as well as one- and two-bedroom apartments, some with private balconies overlooking the harbour and city. Expect a chic tropical style, evident in the modern rooms and down at the pool, which features its own waterfall.

Chillis Backpackers

A lively backpacker joint in peak season, this hostel offers budget rooms in the heart of the city, with a mix of private doubles and shared dormitory accommodation. Facilities include a launderette, a pool, an internet cafe, a sun deck and a kitchen. There are even a couple of (mercifully cool) whirlpool Jacuzzis.