Terrific Things To Do With Kids On A Darwin Family Holiday

Picture this: an adventure-filled family holiday in one of Australia’s most unique and captivating destinations – Darwin.

As the vibrant capital city of the Northern Territory, a Darwin family holiday offers an enticing blend of tropical weather, natural wonders, cultural diversity, and incredible food experiences that make it an excellent choice for an exotic getaway with your children.

For those wanting to explore the ancient landscapes of the Top End, come face to face with fascinating wildlife, or immerse themselves in the region’s rich Indigenous culture, visiting Darwin with kids on a family holiday promises an unforgettable journey that you will remember forever. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through the wonders of Darwin and reveal the top activities, accommodations, and tips to ensure your family vacation is a remarkable and enriching experience. In short, if you are planning a family trip to Darwin, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make the most of your time there.

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Best Time to Visit Darwin

The best time to go on a Darwin family holiday is during the dry season, typically from May to September. This period offers the most comfortable weather conditions for outdoor activities, perfect for families with children.

You can easily explore the city and its stunning surroundings with warm days, low humidity, and minimal rainfall. The wildlife is also more active this season, providing fantastic opportunities for nature-loving and more adventurous families to observe local fauna. Moreover, this period is also when many family-friendly events and festivals occur, adding extra excitement to your holiday.

By contrast, the wet season runs from November to April and, as its name suggests, is characterised by heavy rainfall and occasional storms.

However, don’t discount coming to Darwin at this time of year because the deluge results in waterfalls being at their most spectacular and the region’s rivers being full for activities like fishing.

Additionally, if you’re looking to save money on accommodation and activities, the wet season may provide plenty of budget-friendly options, as it’s considered the off-peak season.

If you visit Darwin with kids in the wet season, remember that the weather can be unpredictable, and some outdoor activities and tours you want to do or have booked may be cancelled due to safety concerns. Subsequently, it’s important to plan accordingly and be prepared for rain if you come here during this time.

Getting Around in Darwin

Irrespective of if you go in the dry or wet season, one of the best things for families to do in Darwin is to hire a car. Doing this provides them with a convenient, flexible, and reliable mode of transportation that can help them travel around town and visit national parks and tourist attractions further afield.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Getting Around in Darwin

Most major car rental companies like Europcar, Enterprise, Budget, and Hertz have desks at Darwin airport or operate from offices around the downtown area. They can also provide you with child seats and boosters, if required, making it easier for parents to ensure the safety of their kids during the journey.

Hiring a vehicle is also a good idea as it allows you to carry strollers, snacks, and other necessities for your children, ensuring a comfortable and stress-free experience during your family trip to Darwin.

If you prefer to avoid driving, taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are readily available in Darwin, providing an excellent choice for navigating the city quickly.

Another option for getting around town is Darwin’s public bus system, which, while it may not be as comprehensive as in some larger cities, is nonetheless a convenient way to get around the city itself. Buses generally run from early morning to late evening and can take you to most parts of the city.

Alternatively, if you plan to explore the waterfront, you can use the regular ferry services connecting to different parts of the city.

Additionally, you can often arrange transportation through tour operators for those wanting to go on specific tours and excursions. They may pick you up from your accommodation and drop you off at the end of the tour, making it a convenient option for families.

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Where To Stay in Darwin with Kids

When planning a Darwin family holiday, choosing the right place to stay can be the difference between having a lovely vacation or an outstanding one.

The city boasts several suburbs, each offering something different to families with children. Here are some great options to consider:

Waterfront Precinct

The Waterfront Precinct is an ideal choice for families due to its proximity to the beach, safe swimming lagoon, and various family-friendly activities. It is also conveniently located near the city centre and boasts numerous dining options.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Waterfront Precinct

The Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront is the top pick in this area. It provides spacious apartments with fully-equipped kitchens, making it perfect for families. The hotel features a swimming pool, an on-site restaurant, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

CBD (Central Business District)

Staying in the CBD offers convenience and access to shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. Subsequently, it is a terrific option for families wanting to focus on exploring the city centre.

There are many excellent hotels in this area. But for those wanting a family-friendly hotel with spacious rooms and amenities like an on-site restaurant and swimming pool, it is hard to look past the Hilton Darwin, which also offers incredible views of the city and harbour.

Parap

Parap is known for its vibrant markets, diverse dining options, and accessibility to local attractions such as Mindil Beach and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

If you want to be near these attractions, consider staying at the Rydges Darwin Central in Parap. This family-friendly hotel offers spacious family rooms and a swimming pool and is within walking distance of local markets and several restaurants.

Stuart Park

Stuart Park is a family-friendly suburb between the city centre and the northern beaches, making it a convenient choice for families keen to explore urban and coastal attractions.

One of the best hotel options is the four-star Quality Hotel Darwin Airport, which, as its name suggests, is conveniently located near the airport, offering family rooms, a swimming pool, and an on-site restaurant.

Northern Beaches (Casuarina and Nightcliff)

For families seeking a more relaxed, beachy atmosphere, the northern suburbs of Casuarina and Nightcliff are excellent options. They provide access to beautiful beaches and coastal parks, so they are perfect for kids with energy that needs burning off.

Situated close to the airport and the northern beaches, the Mercure Darwin Airport Resort is a recommended family-friendly choice. It features spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and an on-site restaurant at a price that should not break the bank.

Camping and Caravaning Near Darwin

For those visiting Darwin with kids in a caravan or campervan travellers, several suitable accommodation options are available in and around the city. They include the following:

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Camping and Caravaning

BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park

This holiday park, located approximately 25 minutes from the city, offers powered and unpowered caravan and campervan sites, a water park, a pool, and various family-friendly amenities.

Hidden Valley Holiday Park

A short drive from Darwin’s attractions, Hidden Valley Holiday Park provides powered and unpowered caravan and campervan sites, cabins, and facilities like a pool and playground for children.

Darwin FreeSpirit Resort

This resort in Holtze, around a 20-minute drive from Darwin, offers a range of accommodation options, including powered caravan sites. It features a water park, pool, and mini-golf for family entertainment.

15 Best Things To Do in Darwin For Families

Those travelling with kids to the Northern Territory will find plenty of family things to do in Darwin to keep them entertained.

Whether you’re interested in wildlife, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing by the beach, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy in this unique city.

We recommend adding these 15 sites, attractions, and experiences to your itinerary.

1. Mindil Beach Sunset Market

One of the best things for families to do in Darwin is to visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Providing a quintessential Top End experience, the markets offer a vibrant blend of culture, cuisine, and community in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Mindil Beach Sunset Market

This iconic market comes to life every Thursday and Sunday during the dry season, creating a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and flavours. Visitors can meander through various stalls showcasing handmade arts and crafts, international and local cuisine, and live entertainment. One of the highlights is watching the sunset over the Arafura Sea as you savour delicious street food, browse unique souvenirs, and enjoy live music performances.

As Mindil Beach Sunset Market provides an unforgettable opportunity to immerse yourself in the laid-back, multicultural atmosphere that defines Darwin, it is a must-visit destination for families looking for a taste of local life in Australia’s northernmost city.

2. Crocosaurus Cove

Get ready for a thrilling family adventure at Crocosaurus Cove. This reptile park allows visitors to get up close and personal with saltwater crocodiles.

One of the main drawcards is the Cage of Death, which lets you dive into a clear acrylic cage submerged in a crocodile enclosure.

It’s a heart-pounding experience suitable for older kids and adventurous adults.

3. Aquascene Fish Feeding

At Doctor’s Gully, families can experience a natural wonder during high tide. 

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Aquascene Fish Feeding

Hundreds of wild fish gather here to be hand-fed by visitors. Kids will be amazed by the colourful and friendly fish that swarm around them.

4. Darwin Waterfront Precinct

You’ll find plenty of exciting kids’ activities in Darwin at the Waterfront Precinct.

A dynamic leisure and entertainment hub, this area offers visitors of all ages a diverse range of things to do. Families, particularly, find it appealing due to its safe swimming lagoon, a man-made beach, and a wave pool. Kids can splash around, build sandcastles, and ride the artificial waves until their hearts are content.

The waterfront promenade is lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a perfect place to enjoy a meal with a view. You can also stroll along the picturesque boardwalk, enjoy a sunset cruise, or explore the nearby Indo-Pacific Marine, home to marine life and a touch tank.

Additionally, the precinct hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, adding a lively touch to the area.

5. Territory Wildlife Park

Located about a 45-minute drive from the city centre, the Territory Wildlife Park is a fantastic place to introduce your kids to Australia’s unique wildlife during your Darwin family holiday.

It features a variety of native animals, including birds of prey, reptiles, and marsupials. While there, kids can interact with animals and explore educational exhibits about the local ecosystem.

6. Berry Springs Nature Park

Berry Springs Nature Park is a popular family destination about an hour’s drive from Darwin. The park is known for its clear, cool water, perfect for swimming and relaxation.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Berry Springs Nature Park

Families can have a picnic and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. There are also well-maintained walking trails suitable for all ages for those wanting to explore the area.

7. Leanyer Recreation Park

Leanyer Recreation Park is a local favourite, especially during the hot months. This park offers a large water park with multiple water slides, a swimming pool, picnic areas, and a playground – making it a terrific choice of family things to do in Darwin.

8. Territory Day Fireworks

If your family is visiting Darwin on July 1st, don’t miss Territory Day. The city is renowned for its spectacular fireworks display, which celebrates the Northern Territory’s self-governance.

The family-friendly fireworks show is a memorable experience; you should try to see if you happen to be in the area at the time.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Territory Day Fireworks

If you are looking for kids’ activities in Darwin that provide education, culture, and an escape from the intense heat, then visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Abbreviated to MAGNT, the museum is a captivating cultural institution that offers visitors a rich exploration of the Northern Territory’s history, art, and natural heritage. Housing an impressive collection of Aboriginal art, cultural artefacts, and natural history exhibits, it provides a comprehensive insight into the region’s unique past and present.

Families can immerse themselves in the diverse and vibrant Indigenous cultures through the extensive Aboriginal art and cultural displays. The museum’s maritime and historical exhibitions are also engaging. One of its standout attractions is the preserved remains of ‘Sweetheart’, a massive saltwater crocodile.

Additionally, the MAGNT has tropical gardens surrounding the museum that offer a tranquil setting for enjoying an al fresco picnic or meal.

10. Deckchair Cinema

The Deckchair Cinema is a unique outdoor cinema set in lush tropical gardens.

Families can watch the latest movies under the stars, providing an unforgettable cinematic experience.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Deckchair Cinema

11. RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Darwin Tourist Facility is a unique and informative attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into the essential work of this iconic Australian organisation.

It provides a hands-on experience of the life-saving operations of the RFDS, which delivers medical services to remote areas. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, learn about the history of the RFDS, and even step inside a simulated RFDS aircraft. 

Overall, it’s an engaging experience for families and travellers of all ages, shedding light on the vital role the RFDS plays in delivering medical care to those in the most isolated regions of Australia.

12. Kakadu National Park

While Kakadu National Park is not in Darwin, it’s a must-visit destination within a few hours’ drive.

Families can explore ancient Aboriginal rock art, observe diverse wildlife, and enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Top End. Be sure to take guided tours suitable for families to make the most of your visit – if you would rather not drive there.

13. Litchfield National Park

Much closer to Darwin than Kakadu, Litchfield National Park is another fantastic day trip destination for families. It’s famous for its stunning waterfalls, natural swimming holes, and remarkable termite mounds.

AU 15 Things To Do on a Darwin Family Holiday - Litchfield National Park

Children will love visiting there as they can cool off in the refreshing waters and experience the natural beauty of the region.

14. Territory Taste Festival

If your family’s visit coincides with the Territory Taste Festival, usually held in October, you’re in for a culinary treat.

This food festival allows you to sample an array of delicious local cuisine, enjoy live entertainment, and participate in fun activities for kids.

15. Darwin Aviation Museum

For families interested in aviation and history, the Darwin Aviation Museum is a fascinating destination.

It showcases the aviation history of the Northern Territory, with numerous aircraft on display. Interactive exhibits engage children and provide insights into the region’s aviation heritage.

More Tips For Visiting Darwin

  • Keep sun protection items, like hats and sunscreen, with you at all times. The sun in Darwin is strong, and even short trips can lead to sunburn without proper precautions.
  • Likewise, carry plenty of water and hydryltes with you, as you can become dehydrated very quickly if you don’t keep topping up your fluids.
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Where to Next – Continuing Your Aussie Road Trip

  • If you have more time available and have a car at your disposal, consider taking a road trip to Broome or Alice Springs. To get to either, you will need to drive for between 2-3 days, so booking overnight accommodation is necessary.
  • Take on the Savannah Way. This epic multi-day drive will see you across Australia’s Top End and past some of the most rugged and dramatic scenery in Australia’s outback between Broome and Cairns.
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