Australia’s most northerly city is an exotic mixture of Aboriginal, European and South-East Asian influences. The result is a modern, cosmopolitan and fast-changing tropical outpost which still carries vestiges of its colonial past. While travellers have traditionally transited through Darwin en route to places such as Kakadu, the Kimberley, Litchfield National Park and the Tiwi Island, the city is now viewed as a destination in its own right, with night markets, art galleries, museums, boisterous pubs and a refreshing dining scene. There are many fun things to do in Darwin – from touring the city’s World War 2 defences to sailing on Darwin harbour or relaxing in the popular wave lagoon pool – plus many other attractions on its doorstep.
Who goes there: Coral Expeditions, Seven Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Azamara Cruises, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Cruise & Maritime, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Noble Caledonian.
Cruisers like: Buying exquisite pearls, tucking into a croc burger, wandering through a night market or watching the sun set over the Arafura Sea are just some of the many attractions of Darwin, a city which defies all expectations. Highlights include the Museum and Art Gallery, Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, Adelaide River War Cemetery, Crocodylus Park, Darwin Waterfront and the Territory Wildlife Park. History buffs can learn more about Darwin’s wartime experiences, while wildlife lovers get up close and personal with a deadly predator at Crocosaurus Cove – the very brave can climb into the Cage of Death for a face-to-face encounter with a giant saltwater crocodile.
Best for: Couples, older cruisers, families and anyone who loves the great outdoors and indigenous culture.
Getting around: Darwin Port is adjacent to the city itself. Passengers easily walk into town or hop on a courtesy bus. The centre of Darwin is fairly compact and can be easily explored by foot. Buses and cabs are available.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.