With a booming tourism industry, the accommodation options available in Darwin are on par with some of Australia's largest capital cities. So whether you prefer a luxurious feather-topped king-size bed or to roll a swag out under the stars, there is something for everyone's taste and budget.
All Venture North Tours start and end in Darwin, so we often get asked where the best place to stay is. With so many excellent properties, there are plenty of choices. When choosing a place to stay in Darwin, it's good to know about the city's layout and various neighbourhoods. Each with its own offerings and distinctive atmosphere. Here is our run down.
It's in the heart of the Darwin city centre that you'll find hip cafes, modern restaurants, and one of Darwin's oldest pubs, The Victoria Hotel. Visit Smith Street Mall, an outdoor pedestrian mall where locals and visitors can shop for Aboriginal art, locally made jewellery and tropical clothing. You can also enjoy the relaxed vibe at one of the many alfresco cafes shaded by the giant rain trees at the northern end of the mall. Many prominent tourist attractions are centred in the CBD, including WWII heritage sites, Crocosaurus Cove (cage of death), museums and art galleries. Being the city centre, you'll find Darwin's most extensive accommodation options, including backpackers, hotels, shared accommodation, serviced apartments, resorts, homestays, bed and breakfasts, and boutique luxury stays.
Home to the wave pool and a safe swimming lagoon, The Waterfront Precinct is still considered part of the CBD; however, it could be a hub on its own. Only five minutes' walk from Smith Street Mall, the precinct has over 20 places to eat and drink, hosts year-round events, and has several green open spaces and sporting and recreational facilities. Wander to Stokes Hill Wharf, a favourite fishing spot amongst the locals and the ideal starting point for a harbour cruise where you can experience the iconic Darwin Sunset from the water. Many properties are available here, ranging from resort-style accommodations to self-contained apartments.
Less than 2km from the Darwin CBD is Cullen Bay. A relaxed waterfront marina with something for everyone. Loved as much by locals as by visitors, its unique location has a marina on one side and the beach on the other. Enjoy a cool drink and a plate of tapas with uninterrupted views of million-dollar mansions and their matching sailing boats. Walk along the marina boardwalk as the sun sets and choose from many bars and restaurants with several different cuisines. If you are after something more relaxed, there's also a huge, grassed area where you can grab fish and chips. There are several types of accommodation styles to choose from here. Cullen Bay is also conveniently located within walking distance of the world-famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
This inner city suburb (only 4km from the CBD) hosts the popular Parap Village Markets. These markets run every Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm, rain, hail or shine. Try a famous Laksa, satay prawns or mango lassie here. Browse through local produce stalls, delicious Asian cuisines, nutritious acai bowls, smoothies and delicious crepes. Enjoy live entertainment as you easily spend a few hours here. The Village is a great place to shop and a favourite amongst locals and visitors. Boutique homewares & fashion shops, newsagent, gourmet food provisions & deli and restaurants. Being only a short stop out of the city and with loads of accommodation options, Parap is an excellent spot to spend a night or two.
This coastal suburb revolves around soaking up the atmosphere at the cliff-front esplanade and parklands. With a path running the entire foreshore length, you can make the most of the balmy evenings and spectacular sunsets. During the dry season, an army of food trucks lines the Nightcliff Foreshore, where you can grab takeaway fare ranging from laksas, tacos, baked potatoes and pizzas. Nightcliff also boasts its community markets on Sunday mornings. With loads of short-stay holiday accommodation in this area, you can immerse yourself in the local way of living.
Here is a list of popular hotels in Darwin according to Trip Advisor
There are some excellent holiday parks located just outside of the city. All with topical landscaped gardens, a pool and all the usual holiday park amenities. Ranging from Holiday Cabins to unpowered camp sites, these parks are alternative for those who prefer to stay out of the city or maybe a little more budget conscious.
Most parks and reserves in the NT have grounds set aside for camping that you can use at any time - unless they are closed due to seasonal weather. Find out where you can camp. Campgrounds have a range of facilities and fees and can be booked and paid online. If you like star gazing and open-air camping is more your style, it’s best to do that between May and September when it’s cooler and least likely to rain.
Holiday & Camping Parks
We recommend staying in the CBD or Waterfront Precinct due to the attractions and location, especially if you don’t have a car and are short on time. However, Venture North will collect you from any address in Darwin for your Top End Safari. Another tip from us is to book early. Especially if you are planning to come up during Darwin's busiest months between June-August. Accommodation can book out very quickly!