Darwin & Surrounds

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 14:33
ThreadID: 130522 Views:1535 Replies:12 FollowUps:3
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G'day,

I'm planning our trip to Darwin in 10 months or so and would love some input on how we can best use our time whilst in the region. We will be in Darwin and surrounds from late August for 4 full weeks and would love to make sure we show the kids (& ourselves!) as much as possible.

My idea is that we would naturally visit the national parks, but how long for and can we take caravans in them? I have Arnhem Land on the to do list as well, again not sure we area able to take a van in there though. I'd love to have the family experience Aboriginal culture and also see some untouched wilderness etc...

Some attractions to entertain the kids would be great also, we wont get away with 100% of the time sightseeing or learning about the history of places, I assume Darwin has a few fun family things to do (water park, night markets??).

Please, if you've been in the area and can give me some suggestions I'd really appreciate your input, the more the better, it's just a bit hard to know where to start!

Cheers

Derm
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Reply By: Life Member - Fred B (ex-NT) - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 15:25

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 15:25
Gooday,
you could start with tourism NT web site
Tourism NT

regards
Fred B
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Reply By: Member - John - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 15:52

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 15:52
G'day, no caravans into Arnhem Land, but well worth a visit if you are set up for camping. Gunn Point is a great place to spend a day, North East of Darwin, great shells and the occasional fossilised yabby etc...... Fanny Bay Gaol Museum and also the NT Museum Cyclone Tracy display. East Point WW2 Museum and also the Stokes Hill Tunnels, never been to this one, but will next time in Darwin. Fish feeding at Doctors Gully. The aircraft museum is an excellent place for Dad............. Enjoy.........
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 17:56

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 17:56
What John said!

I really liked the Aircraft Museum, with a wide array of aircraft from a B-52(everything else is literally nestled under it's wings) down to a Cobra gunship and lots of others.

Stokes Hill wharf, for fish 'n chips, is worth a visit. The tucker is good, with a wide variety, but it's the atmosphere, dining in the early evening(if you can get a table) with the water just below the wharf, ships tied up there, and a perfect spot to get a magic sunset photo.

A walk along the Esplanade to/from Stokes Hill wharf is good too.

We stopped at roadhouse at Humpty Doo, and checked out the resident saltie. Chilling out until they dropped some Barra frames in his cage!!!

If you want some indigenous culture, check out the Warradgin Centre(not sure if spelling is correct?) at Cooinda Resort. Worth a couple of nights here to catch a trip on Yellow Waters. Recall there's a ranger station/cultural centre at Jabiru too?

Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls are spectacular, though they might be back to a trickle about time you'll be there. Worth going to Gunlom Falls too, just take your time going in there. A rugged climb to top of falls is totally worth it!!! You can swim up there too, with good pools for the kids 'n Mum 'n Dad, with no lizards to worry you. Probably need to cool down once you get up there. :-)

Be surprised if your 4 weeks won't be enough!

Bob

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 16:16

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 16:16
There are many blogs on here that will help give you some ideas. Look at the top of the page for the search function.

Its a few years since we have been there but the wildlife park near Batchelor was great. It takes a whole day to see it all.

Litchfield NP is a real gem and you could easily spend a week there.

If your budget allows it, take a charter flight out over Kakadu as well as see it from the ground - gives you a whole new perspective on it.

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Danna - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 17:42

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 17:42
Hi Dermottj
Not many people know, but there is a particularity right time to go to Kakadu (that's what you probably meant when you written Arnhem Land). And your timing is the best one! Only in August (about in middle of the months) you can see natural spectacle similar to Canada’s salmon spawning and bears catching them. Only difference is the fish are mullets and barramundi and predators are guess who … yees of cause crocodiles.
Best place to see this “show” is The Cahills Crossing, but you have to stay on The Border Store side. You must have a special permit to cross East Alligator River/The Cahills Crossing. We will be crossing next August 2/8/2016 and 9/8/2016, but maybe before and definitely after we will be around in the area. If you are there, you will recognise us. We travel in V8 Troopy and we tow Drifta with hard shell rooftop camper …. Not a many of those set-up around. So, maybe see you there.
Cheers Dana
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Follow Up By: Dermottj - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 19:10

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 19:10
Thanks for that Dana, that's the sort of info I'm looking for! It bits of information like this that would be brilliant to witness for kids and adults alike! Haven't confirmed our exact dates yet but will definitely keep an eye out, I reckon your setup would be pretty easy to spot :-).
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Follow Up By: Danna - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 10:52

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 10:52
Dermottj
One more good tip that will be possibly not mentioned by others.
Book your self for boat trip to Alligator River.
But you want the earliest trip in morning(very, very early)!
That' best time to see wildlife - when they either just waking up,
or catching first meal of the day.
We have done it and it is a memory you will have for life.
Cheers Dana
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Reply By: Member - sparra - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 17:47

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 17:47
Just got back from Darwin couple of weeks ago. The kids would probably like the wave pool/swimming area near stokes hill wharf. Also the wharf is also a good spot to sit down and have a bit of lunch and a cool drink,including beer, there are cafe/restaurants there,with outside tables.,great spot on a nice day.

Cheers,
Sparra
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Reply By: rumpig - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 20:13

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 20:13
Take the family on a jumping crocodile boat trip, can recommend this mob we went with who we were told about by a mate that lived in Darwin http://www.adelaiderivercruises.com.au/tour/jumping-crocodile-cruise/ . You'll get up close to the crocs going with these guys over other companies boats that are much larger. They even let all the kids aboard drive the boat on the run back to base

AnswerID: 591271

Reply By: Athol W1 - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 21:53

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 21:53
Derm

During late August you may find that the Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) Open Day is on, if so that will allow you to travel into Arnhem Land for a day to attend for the cost of a donation (usually about $5.00) which goes to the Bush Nursing Service. The residents of Oenpelli now open their town to visitors for this occasion, including their schools and art gallery, they also run bus trips and helicopter flights to some of their sacred sites.

It is very easy to spend a week in Kakadu, and it would be very rushed to try to see it in less than 4 days.

Whilst you could spend a week in Litchfield NP it is quite easily seen as a day trip from Darwin, that is not possible when it comes to Kakadu.

Enjoy your trip.
Regards
Athol
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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 22:53

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2015 at 22:53
Derm - The Mindil Beach Markets on Thursday and Sunday evenings, and the Parap Markets on Saturday mornings are a must, when in Darwin!

Be sure to do a sunset Harbour Cruise, and take the ferry to Mandorah for a days outing!

A drive to the Cox Pensinsula is a great drive, you can visit the memorial and what's left of the wreck of the American Liberator bomber that crashed on the Cox bleep ula in January 1945.

East Point has a great military museum, and one of the only two massive 9.2 inch coastal battery guns left in Australia from WW2 (the other one is on Rottnest Island).

Go for a drive along the old section of the WW2 Stuart Hwy (27kms between Adelaide River and Hayes Creek - the road section is now called Dorat Rd.
Along the Dorat Rd, make sure you stop in to see Robin Falls - a fabulous little spot with a great waterfall and vegetation!

The Territory Wildlife Park is a must-see, and it will keep the kids entertained for a whole day!

The hot springs at Mataranka are well worth a visit, although they are a fair way out of Darwin!

All the others have made good suggestions, there are hundreds of places to see and things to do around the Territory, 4 weeks is not enough!

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 05:21

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 05:21
Kakadu & Mary River 2 weeks, Katherine Gorge, Adelaide River, Litchfield and a couple of days in Darwin and you are done.
To get away from the tourists for a couple of days, try the Dundee Beach area to the west.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 18:09

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 18:09
Regarding Arnhem Land, It is not particularly easy for drive-in access. There is a little about it on this site. A quote from it:

"Accommodation in Arnhem Land is limited, but there are some excellent wilderness lodges throughout the region. You can also sleep under the stars at one of Arnhem Land's many secluded camp spots.

"To visit Arnhem Land you will need a permit from the Northern Land Council. Joining an organised tour with an operator who has permission to enter the region is highly recommended."

Go to that site if you are still keen to go there, there is plenty of good info there.


PeterD
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Reply By: Member - Darwin Dave - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 20:20

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015 at 20:20
Hi Derm,

Untouched wilderness is getting harder to find up this way.

Depending on what you and your family are into, I would suggest :

Litchfield National Park - Ant hills, Buley Rockhole, Wangi, Tolma and Florence Falls - full day.
Territory Wildlife Park - full day
Corroboree Billabong, Hire a BBQ Boat (is fenced and shaded with tables & chairs) - 1/2 day - best time to start is daylight. You can take your caravan out the night before for the early start, just keep back from the water.(no facilities).
Wave Pool - Waterfront Precinct.
Deckchair Cinema - take some "piss off" but a good way to watch a movie
Darwin Museum - Cyclone Tracy exhibit, Sweatheart (the crocodile), Aboriginal artifacts etc.
Mindil Beach Markets - Thursday nights - get there early for a park.

Others you may be interested in are :

Parap Markets - Saturday morning - locals mainly go for fresh fruit and vegies.
Crocodylus Park - Lions, Tigers, Monkeys, Meerkats, Cassowary, Emu, Ostrich etc.
Crocosaurus Cove - in the city - good array of reptiles - but you would see them at the Wildlife Park.
Aviation Museum - B52 being the main exhibit.

I noticed someone suggested going to Mandorah - used to be great but with the pub gone, you can no longer grab lunch and a drink.

Regards,
Helen

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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Oct 08, 2015 at 00:41

Thursday, Oct 08, 2015 at 00:41
Derm - Here's the official NT travel website. It's fairly comprehensive and informative about the major attractions in the NT.

TravelNT

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 591338

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