Darwin, the Northern Territory’s chilled out tropical capital city, is the ideal gateway to northern Australia’s most incredible travel destinations. Being a small but vibrant city, it also has loads to offer as a travel destination in its own right, particularly in the accommodation department. When choosing a place to stay in Darwin, you’ll need to know about the city’s different neighbourhoods, each offering their own distinctive vibe and selection of places to stay. Read on below about places to stay in Darwin, the perfect base to start and end your tours to Kakadu, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, Arnhem Land and the Kimberley region.
Darwin City (CBD)
It’s in the heart of the Darwin city centre that you’ll find hip cafes, modern restaurants, alternative shopping boutiques and sweeping green parklands. This is also where prominent tourist attractions are centred, including WWII heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and the Darwin Waterfront Precinct – home to the wave pool and lagoon, retail outlets, restaurants and cafes. Being the city centre, this is where you’ll find Darwin’s biggest and broadest range of accommodation options, including backpackers, hotels, shared accommodation, serviced apartments, resorts, homestays, bed and breakfasts, and boutique luxury stays.
A short cab ride from the Darwin CBD is Cullen Bay – home to Darwin’s wealthiest folk. Along the marina’s boardwalks are nestled bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy a cool drink and a plate of tapas with uninterrupted views of million-dollar mansions and their matching sailing boats. There’s also a huge grassed area where you can enjoy fish and chips while watching one of the world’s best sunsets before you retire to your serviced apartment or AirBnB-style accommodation. Cullen Bay is also conveniently located within walking distance to the world-famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
Local life in this coastal suburb revolves around soaking up the atmosphere at the cliff-front esplanade and parklands. Here, the main forms of transportation are bikes, rollerblades and skateboards. During the dry season, an army of food trucks line the Nightcliff Foreshore, where you can grab takeaway fare ranging from laksas, tacos, baked potatoes and pizzas. Nightcliff also boasts its own community markets on Sunday mornings, so try to nab AirBnB-style accommodation within walking distance so you don’t have to lug your shopping haul too far.
Darwin’s northern suburbs are the heart and soul of local family life, with accommodation options in this part of town limited to AirBnB-style digs. But what’s great about the northern suburbs is that many of the Asian-style markets are based here in suburbs like Malak, Rapid Creek and Parap.
If you are here for only a short amount of time or don't have a vehicle then staying in Darwin City somewhere makes the most sense. We like the Waterfront area as well the CBD and find TripAdvisor a good indication of quality and value for money.
Venture North Safaris can pick you up from anywhere in Darwin to join your Top End safari. Give us a call (08 89275500) to discuss your next trip to Australia’s magical north and we’d be happy to create a package for you. Or take a look at our most popular tour below!