Find out where the wild things are in Darwin and surrounds. The Top End is teeming with exotic species of birdlife, mammals, reptiles and marine life, so prepare yourself for inspiring nature and wildlife experiences: bring your binoculars for top twitching and nerves of steel for croc-spotting.
There's no need to leave town to experience nature and wildlife in the Top End. Scratch your twitch at the Darwin Botanic Gardens, where throngs of species flutter in the tropical habitat. Take a cruise on Darwin Harbour to see wildlife above and below the water. Or, put a safety barrier between you and your wildlife and visit one of Darwin's wildlife parks or crocodile centres. You can even enter a 'cage of death' and swim with enormous saltwater crocs – if you think your nerves can take it.
At the park
Take your binoculars to the Mary River National Park, where the river, wetlands and billabongs are famous for the dense concentration of birdlife (look out for the rare Gouldian Finch), saltwater crocodiles and barramundi. Or, set up at camp at Litchfield National Park and dip your toes below magnificent spring-fed waterfalls, marvel at magnetic termite mounds, and listen out for all kinds of mammals – possums, dingoes, wallabies – and hundreds of species of birds.
On the islands
Travel 80 kilometres north of Darwin to explore the dense rainforests, sandy beaches, mangroves and rock pools of the Tiwi Islands. Birders, take stock of the largest colony of Crested Terns in the world, try to catch a glimpse of the endangered Tiwi Hooded Robin or spot the more common Red-necked Stint. If it's marine life you're after, look just offshore to find whales, dolphins, dugongs, four rare species of marine turtles and more than fifty species of fish.