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A Guide to Darwin
Know Before You Go
- Stay hydrated. Darwin is hot, and you'll need to drink plenty of water to prevent heatstroke. Make sure to bring a strong SPF sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, so your holiday doesn't get cut short.
- Plan your trip before October if you want to swim in the ocean. The deadly jellyfish are around from October to May, making it a dangerous time to swim in the water.
- Visit Kakadu National Park. It is 150 km from Darwin, but it's worth the drive. Inside the park, you'll find an abundance of wildlife and ancient Aboriginal rock art that is over 20,000 years old.
- Explore Darwin at night. The city is known for its lively pub, bar and club scene located on Mitchell Street.
- Get free internet. If you need to go online, the city of Darwin has free public WiFi. You'll be able to connect at hotspots in the CBD, Casuarina, Karama and Nightcliff libraries.
Getting Around Darwin
- Darwin on foot. The city is compact, making it easy to walk to attractions like the Marina and the Mindil Beach Market. But if you are visiting during the wet season, you may want to use public transport due to the heat and regular rainfall.
- Catch the bus. The public buses run to all the major attractions in Darwin as well as the Palmerston and Casuarina suburbs. You can also use the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus that goes around the city. A single ticket for the bus costs AUD 3, and you can also get daily and weekly passes for AUD 7 and AUD 20.
- Hail a taxi. You can flag one down from the streets, go to the taxi ranks or book one over the phone. Ride-sharing service Uber doesn't operate in the Northern Territory.
- Hire a car. If you want to explore the more remote areas, you'll need your own set of wheels. Car hire companies can be found at the airport or in the CBD.
When is The Best Time to Visit Darwin?
Darwin has a tropical climate that is categorised by a wet and dry season.
The best time to visit Darwin is from June to September. The humidity is low, rainfall is minimal, and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. September is also ideal for birdwatching when one-third of Australia's bird species visit The Top End.
But the ideal weather conditions, make this time of year high season for Darwin. You can expect higher airfare prices and hotels to raise their rates. It's best to book a couple of months ahead to ensure availability and lock in better prices before they skyrocket.
The wet season runs from October to April. The weather during this period is hot, humid and there is the chance of flash floods and cyclones. But if you're travelling on a budget, you'll find lower airfare prices and hotel rates during this period. You'll also have Darwin's top attractions to yourself, and you won't have to deal with crowds of tourists.
If you're looking for a combination of both seasons, plan your trip for May. The waterfalls inside Kakadu National Park will be pulsing, and you won't have to worry about the risk of flooding. Temperatures are also more comfortable, and you might be able to snag a few deals before the dry season crowds arrive.
Airports in Darwin
Darwin Airport is the only airport serving Darwin and is the tenth busiest in Australia. It operates routes to domestic and international destinations with Sydney and Brisbane being two of it's most popular routes. The airport is a hub for Airnorth and a focus city for Qantas.
Getting To and From Darwin Airport
The easiest way to get from the airport is with a cab. You'll find the taxi ranks outside of the arrivals terminal. Trips into the city usually cost AUD 25-30, and you'll also need to pay an AUD 3 exit toll.
A more affordable option is the Darwin City Airport Shuttle. The service runs 24 hours a day, 7-days a week and you'll find the booking desk outside of the baggage claim area.
There is also a free shuttle bus for passengers staying at the Novotel Darwin Airport Hotel or the Mercure Darwin Airport Resort.
Other transport options include Buslink, as well as coach and charter services.
If you prefer having your own set of wheels, several car rental companies are operating from the airport.