Commonly referred to as the gateway to Australia's Top End, Darwin is a multicultural city well-worth exploring. During the wet season, getting out and about by road is almost impossible. However, when the dry season (April to August) comes along, the highways and roads radiating from the city make it possible to reach some of Australia's most remote and therefore most untouched natural attractions, like the inspirational Kakadu National Park. The Stuart Highway is the main connecting road from Darwin to the rest of the magnificent Top End.
Darwin is home to a relaxed and cosmopolitan culture, allowing tourists to sit side by side with over 50 ethnicities from across the globe. There are also quite a few interesting sites within the city to uncover, including natural, historical and cultural attractions. Nothing in Darwin or the Top End is too far away for visitors who travel via self-contained campervan. One of the most visited destinations from Darwin is Katherine, which is just a scenic, three-hour drive south.
While in Darwin, take some time to experience the Darwin Wharf Precinct. This is where the Japanese heavily bombed the city during WWII, and it is now home to numerous memorials, not to mention several other historical landmarks. Another war landmark of note is the Aviation Heritage Centre, which is found only eight kilometres from downtown Darwin. Inside, a B52 Bomber, on loan from the US, is the most treasured relic on display.
The Charles Darwin National Park is a must-see landmark only a few minutes east of the city. It's a great place for bushwalking and cycling, plus the park is home to an extensive bunker system left over from WWII. Great views of Darwin can also be witnessed from some of the park's easy-to-reach lookouts.
About 45 minutes drive from the city, in the area of Berry Springs, is Territory Wildlife Park. Established in 1989, this park is the perfect spot to witness animal and plant species in their typical tropical monsoon habitats. The daily bird show is incredibly fascinating. If tourists want an interesting nature park closer to Darwin, then five minutes from the airport is Crocodylus Park, an attraction that boasts more than a thousand crocodiles.
Darwin Free Spirit Resort is a 'ritzy' caravan park and campsite just a short drive from downtown Darwin. The park is home to some excellent facilities, including camp kitchens, pools, a kiosk, kids activity rooms and barbecue sites.
Campground Discovery Holiday Park Darwin is a leafy caravan park and budget resort that is close to several major attractions in the city. There's a grocery store on site and laundry facilities too.
Hidden Valley Tourist Park is only 10 minutes drive to the south of the city. It contains a swimming pool, internet access, and a kiosk.
Driving during the wet season in the NT is not recommended, as many roads become inundated with water. However, in the dry season, roads are easy to navigate. Most of the roads are sealed, but always remember that the distances between towns can be great, so stock up on food, water and fuel before departing. Drive with caution, as some parts of the Stuart Highway have an unlimited speed limit and see huge multi-part 'road trains'.
- Speed limits in the city: 60kph.
- Speed limits on national roads: 110kph.
- Help number: 000.