Darwin: a family-friendly getaway in 48 hours
Sometimes you can’t afford the time or the money for a lavish family holiday. We get it. Here’s something short and sweet that the kids will love, but which won’t break the bank.
If you’re travelling from the east coast you’ll probably arrive in Darwin at lunchtime. In that case, head to your hotel and get settled.
Only being a short trip, try to stay somewhere central and within walking distance to most activities. The Darwin Waterfront is the perfect choice; you’ve got a heap of fun activities and restaurants outside your door and still only a 10-minute walk to the CBD.
Spend the afternoon right where you are. Down at the Darwin Waterfront you ’ll have plenty of water-based activities that’ll wear the kids out in no time.
The Wave Lagoon is a hit with kids of all ages, with admission just $5 for under 15 years, or $18 for a family pass.
For something a bit more low-key the Recreation Lagoon is right next door and completely free.
For the bigger kids, the Big Buoy Water Park is also down at the Darwin Waterfront. It’s so fun you’ll be cutting the line to have a go too!
There are stacks of dinner options down at the Darwin Waterfront – Mexican, Vietnamese, pub grub, seafood – the possibilities are endless.
If you’re up for a short stroll, wander out on the wharf for a selection of seafood dining.
Do like the locals do and put laksa on your breakfast menu! Parap Markets are a food haven, rich with flavours of Asia and the odd crepe too. Just a 5-minute drive from the CBD you can also pick up some great souvenirs. The Parap Markets run every Saturday morning, rain, humidity or shine.
A scoot back to the CBD – just 10 minutes’ walk from your accommodation – and you’ll reach Crocosaurus Cove. This place needs no introduction – it’s a must-do on every Darwin visit, with safe croc interactions for all ages.
By now you’re probably up for some more food (who isn’t). Darwin is brimming with stacks of hip eateries and organic markets. While the kids might not appreciate the cool factor of hitting some of these hole-in-the-wall cafés, you’ll be able to get some Insta-cred with your jealous friends back home.
Just opposite Crocosaurus Cove on Mitchell Street is Alley Cats Patisserie. Their crazy creations will heat up your social media feed and have your kids’ eyeballs popping out of their sockets.
If you’re here in the dry season you can hit the Malak Marketplace on Saturday evenings; an organic farmers market full of homemade goodness.
Otherwise, wander back down the mall and hit any of the local cafés and get a touch of shopping in while you’re at it. The Star Village is a cool little spot off the mall with cafés, boutique shopping and even a chocolate shop!
For something completely unique, the Deckchair Cinema is an absolute must! Open nightly throughout the dry season, the Deckchair Cinema screens recent release films in the outdoors while you watch on – yep, you guessed it – deckchairs.
After grabbing breakfast at one of the nearby cafés, take the family to Aquascene, where you can hand feed the hundreds of fish that come to shore at Doctors Gully, right in the heart of Darwin. This activity is really dependent on tide times and seasonality, so check online whether it’s running first.
Darwin has a rich military history and what kid doesn’t love checking out planes? The Darwin Aviation Museum is about a 10-minute drive from the CBD and houses an impressive collection of the Territory’s aviation history, including a massive B52 Bomber.
Experience the all new RFDS and Bombing of Darwin Harbour Experience at the Darwin Wharf. This experience puts you in the middle of the bombing through virtual reality technology – the kids will love it, and you’ll feel good about getting them keen on Australian history.