Darwin is the capital city in the Northern Territory of Australia, and while far from being the biggest city to embark on for a family holiday, you'll find plenty of fun and exciting events and activities to engage in, ranging from national parks to museums, playgrounds and more. Darwin is a city that’s very rich when it comes to culture, history and wildlife, making it an unforgettable experience and a great place to begin exploring the top region of Australia. To make the most of your holiday, you’ll want to make sure that you have an in-depth plan that’ll allow you to walk through everything you want to see on your list. Learn how to create a memorable family holiday in Darwin so that you and your family can get the most out of your trip.
Getting to Darwin
Making your way to Darwin with kids should be a fairly easy experience no matter where you’re coming from. If you plan to fly, Darwin is mainly serviced by flights from various Australian capital cities, and you can generally expect a 3- to 4-hour flight. For transport from the airport and into the city, as well as transport in general while on your trip, public buses are available.
Family attractions and kids' activities in Darwin
When it comes to a family holiday to Darwin, it's easy to find plenty of fun and exciting ways to fill up your itinerary with a wide host of experiences that are sure to appeal to everyone in your family regardless of age. You’ll want to make sure that your itinerary is packed full of fun and interesting experiences to get the most out of your trip to Darwin.
Picnic at Howard Springs Nature Park
Howard Springs Nature Park is a must-have family experience. Located 30 minutes away from Darwin, Howard Springs Nature Park is an excellent location for kids of various age groups and features a toddler pool, rock pools and a gorgeous, gushing waterfall. While your little ones are sure to have a blast as they splash around and play with cute little turtles and fish and explore the large playground with a flying fox, older kids will be able to take a stroll through the bushwalk and maybe see some beautiful and diverse wildlife on the way. The park also features a picnic area that comes outfitted with barbeques, as well as other amenities like seating and public toilets.
Play at the Esplanade playground
Located at the Esplanade, the Bicentennial Park playground is another excellent place to visit where your little ones will be able to have fun playing on a tall space net and other interactive joys like a flying fox, slides of various sizes, swings, and a water pump. Appealing to kids of all ages, the playground is the perfect location to incorporate into a morning walk as you’re on your way to check out other sites in Darwin. Additionally, there’s a large exercise station located close, giving adults and older kids something fun to engage in as well. You can finish the trip to the playground by grabbing a hot drink at Aboriginal Bush Traders Art Gallery. While at the gallery, you can also indulge in some Australian native food and check out various artwork by Indigenous artists.
Discover nature at Territory Wildlife Park
Territory Wildlife Park is one of the top things to do with kids in Darwin if your family is interested in seeing the diverse wildlife Australia has to offer. The location is set upon 625 hectares of native bushland and features 3 distinct habitats to visit, including a nocturnal animal exhibit, an aquarium and a goose lagoon. The aquarium features a saltwater crocodile, and other animals you can expect to see include emus, northern long neck turtles, pythons, echidnas and more. Moving around to each habitat is a breeze, as the park features a wonderful shuttle service that you can take, and when you venture to the cafe to eat, there’s even a small playground for your little ones.
Learn history at Darwin Military Museum
Darwin Military Museum is a great outlet for older kids to visit. Located at East Point, this interactive experience will give families the chance to learn about the region’s involvement in World War II as well as the bombing of Darwin, which tragically took the lives of 240 Australians and allies. The exhibition also features plenty of artefacts, weaponry and photographs from Australia’s defence history. At the museum, you’ll also be able to see plenty of artillery, bunkers and buildings from the war. If members of your family have a keen interest in military history, then this is the perfect spot to visit to not only learn more about World War II but also Australia’s involvement in the war.
Discover more history at The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is an excellent kids' activity in Darwin if your children are interested in history. Here, a variety of pieces and exhibits showcase the interesting history, natural sciences and art of the region. For example, the Cyclone Tracy exhibition showcases relics, photographs and an audio recording from the night the deadly and damaging cyclone hit on Christmas Eve 1974. For less heavy exhibits, there’s the Sweetheart exhibit, a 5-metre long taxidermied crocodile that frequented a local fishing spot in the 1970s. The cafe inside the museum has beautiful oceanfront views, and there’s also the Ski Club that you can visit as well.
Take a day trip to Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is about an hour and half drive from Darwin, but is definitely worth a visit on your Darwin family holiday. On your drive here, you’ll be able to take in the gorgeous sites of the big magnetic termite mounds. After arriving, take a swim at Florence Falls, Buley Rockhole and Wangi Falls. It’s best to visit as a day trip, and it offers plenty of areas to set up a picnic. You can either choose to camp at one of the many campgrounds overnight or visit the local township, Batchelor, on the way back and check out the Coomalie Cultural Centre and the Batchelor Butterfly and Bird Farm.
Feed the fish at Aquascene Darwin
Aquascene Darwin is a great place to visit if your kids are interested in aquatic life or are looking to get just a little wet. Although most ideal for toddlers, Aquascene is great for children of any ages, and when you come to visit, you’ll be able to gaze at hundreds of fish every day and even feed them as well. Located at Doctor’s Gully, which is very close to Darwin's central business district, this location is perfect for a laid-back and relaxing trip interspersed with some of the more extensive activities on offer.
Watch crocodiles leap at Adelaide River Jumping Crocs
Adelaide River Jumping Crocs is an interesting kids' activity in Darwin for some fun with more aquatic life. Tours occur about an hour away from Darwin City on the Arnhem Highway. When you arrive, there will be several tour guide operators available to take you to the Adelaide River for an exciting and enthralling tour. Your kids will be amazed as they watch huge saltwater crocodiles leap out of the waters next to you. This tour is ideal for older kids, and it should be noted that some boats won’t take children if they are four or younger. However, if your child is of age, then they’re sure to enjoy watching this spectacular crocodile spectacle.
Family accommodation in Darwin
While visiting the many sites that Darwin and the surrounding areas have to offer, your family will need a place to relax and catch up on sleep every night. Due to this, it’s vital to find the right accommodation for your trip. When you visit, you’ll find plenty of options for a budget-friendly trip, a luxurious resort stay or something in between. Regardless of what kind of hotels or resorts you’re looking for, it’s important to weigh all the different types of accommodation options available, as they all offer their own unique experiences.
Darwin family apartment rentals
When you book a Darwin apartment, you’ll be able to save money, making renting an apartment a cost-efficient way to avoid stress on your trip. Especially if you have a smaller family or are on a tighter budget, this could be a perfect option. You’ll find that many apartments are located close to crucial attractions, and they often offer desirable amenities such as WiFi and even swimming pools. You might even be able to secure an apartment with a balcony and a gorgeous view, which can be perfect for when you’re wanting to stay in and relax for a while in between your travels.
Darwin house rentals
Darwin house rentals are another excellent option and can create a more immersive experience, as they’ll make you and your family feel even more at home than an apartment or hotel. Especially if you have a bigger family, you’ll most likely want to rent a house for the additional space. When you rent a house for your Darwin family holiday, you can typically expect it to be filled with multiple bedrooms, a full kitchen and often outdoor space. A house rental will truly be able to bolster your family holiday. Depending upon the area of Darwin and which house you rent, you can even secure accommodation with a pool or something located near the ocean and giving you a beautiful seafront view.