Outback Floatplane Adventures
How do you land a floatplane in Australia's secluded north without a runway? Outback Floatplane Adventures will answer that one for you, although you can probably guess.
See how this important aspect of local transport has been interwoven with Darwin's history. Strap yourself in as your skilled and experienced pilot lands on a lagoon!
Where else could you experience a helicopter ride, a floatplane flight, a trip on an airboat and a cruise all in the one day? Outback Floatplane Adventures are ranked No.1 on TripAdvisor's list of outdoor activities in Darwin. You might even get the chance to meet Matt Wright himself, Outback Floatplane's co-owner and star of hit National Geographic series Outback Wrangler!
Ethical Adventures NT
Darwin is situated on the doorstep of a precious and untouched wilderness. Ethical Adventures NT emphasise that guests are not simply tourists, but partners in “fun, adventure and discovery”. Learn about the natural environment on a flexible tour schedule to Litchfield National Park, spot wildlife at Fogg Dam or enjoy a swim at Berry Springs. Better yet, tours include homemade food and drinks. Ethical Adventures NT is ranked second for Outdoor Activities on TripAdvisor.
Wetland Cruises – Corroboree Billabong
While Darwin has plenty for the active, there's also a lot on offer for those who want to rest their weary legs and take in some of the region's most beautiful natural scenery, such as Corroboree Billabong Wetland Cruises.
That said, being part of the Mary River Wetlands, which is home to more saltwater crocs than anywhere else on the planet – and you will be close enough to touch them (seriously though, don’t!) – Corroboree Billabong is also a great tour for the adventurous, and has won the TripAdvisor certificate of excellence for the past three years in a row.
Feel like getting out on a slightly larger schooner? Then jump on Sail Darwin’s luxurious 50-foot catamaran and take to the open ocean.
Kick back with the Champagne Sunset Sail or learn about traditional Indigenous customs by visiting the Tiwi Islands Aboriginal communities. There's no better way to experience Darwin's waterways than from the comfort of a sailboat where you can fish right off the deck.
Do it yourself
If you’d prefer to hire a car and set out on a self-guided tour, Darwin and its surrounds have heaps of amazing trails, nature parks, camping grounds and natural wonders. Here’s a couple of our favourite options.
Litchfield National Park and Berry Springs Nature Park
Travelling should of course be about action and adventure, but it should also include a decent smattering of relaxation. The Berry Springs Nature Park is a former military base which has been refurbished, and is one of the most beautiful parks for cooling off and relaxing. Even better, it isn't too far from Darwin.
The park is usually open from May to November, though dates are subject to variation. Pack plenty of water in the car, and take off for the one-hour trip from Darwin to Berry Springs. If you're feeling in the picnic mood, pick yourself up some lunch from Tommo's Pies before you leave Darwin - they offer excellent takeaway Aussie fare. If you forget your picnic basket, fear not – there's an excellent kiosk at Berry Springs.
Berry Springs has fresh waterholes perfect for swimming and a range of bushwalking tracks, along with a picnic area suitable for the whole family. Be sure to double check signage to make sure the waterholes are open for swimming – the area has been known to attract rogue crocodiles after heavy rainfall during the wet season, although they're swiftly removed by local rangers. However, always remember to Be Crocwise when you are near Top End waterways.
If you're tempted to continue overnight, the Berry Springs Caravan Park is always a popular option, before getting up to continue on to Litchfield the following morning.
Litchfield National Park has some of the world's most stunning wetlands, waterfalls, wildlife and rock formations. And with the distance from Darwin to Litchfield National Park around 120 kilometres, it’s an easy day trip if you’re short on time.
You can cool down in the Buley Rockhole natural waterhole, splash about at the base of the Florence Falls, or take a refreshing time-out at Wangi Falls. All the while you'll be surrounded by the pristine natural beauty that is Litchfield.
If fauna-spotting is more for you, be sure to check out the famous magnetic termite mounds, which are two-metre tall marvels of natural engineering. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for native wildlife of all shapes and sizes, from flying foxes and dingoes, to frill-necked lizards.
Litchfield Escapes are one of the best-known tour operators in the Northern Territory and offer informative and reasonably priced day tours from Darwin in air-conditioned comfort.