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Any suggestions on what to do / see their? and is there anything you would recommend??
This is what I would suggest.....Hire a car for the day. Darwin is the easiest place to drive around, believe me. I would head out along the Stuart Hwy, turn off left towards Kakadu (Arnhem Hwy), drop in and take a look at Fogg Dam (also on left), back to the road to Kadadu and do the Jumping Crockodile Tours (on the righthand side of the highway further in towards Kakadu/Mary River....can't miss it). I have done this tour by myself 3 times now. Luv the rush!! Then head straight back into Darwin (couple of nice real aussie pubs on the way....very unique). Once back in Darwin, you could see the museum. Fab exhibit re cyclone Tracey, and also great cheap eating opposite at the Sailing Club. Fannie Bay has the old gaol, worth a quick visit. Other ideas are to catch a ferry over to Mandurah and back. Have a walk around Cullen Bay and the marina and shops/eateries.
If you are in Darwin on a Sunday, strongly suggest you book a local tour if you are too chicken to drive It is a sleepy place on a Sunday.
Other ideas are to do a quick drive down to Litchfield, but you will not have the time to see it in its glory re getting back to the ship. Or walk around the foreshore near the docks. Darwin has lots of WW11 bits, including bunkers/tunnels you can walk through near the docks.
Keep in mind the time of year you are travelling in. ie if it is cyclone season, the wet will close roads esp out to the Mary River area and beyond. The car rental places will know. No need for a 4wd for areas I suggest. Always take water with you.....it is hot and humid. Dec/Jan/Feb is tricky even walking around re the heat. We love Darwin, and were lucky to have visited several times when son was living there. Make the most of your day there, and enjoy the top end. Others will have more ideas for you...lots to do/see in vacinity.
Here's the info I gave to another poster with this same question:
I have been to Darwin twice and based on your stated interests, here are some places I would recommend that you see:
1. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory--excellent museum with art and history of the area. Free admission.
2. Australian Aviation Heritage Center--if your interest in history extends to aviation.
3. Aquascene--hand-feed the fish. It's a lot of fun! (Open times are based on the tides. You can check times online before you go.)
4. Fannie Bay Gaol--Operated from 1883 to 1979. A good look at convict history in Australia for almost 100 years. Free admission.
5. Territory Wildlife Park and Berry Springs Park--These places (adjacent to each other) are about a 45 minute drive from Darwin. There are a lot of native animals here and an aquarium of sea animals as well. Berry Springs Park has natural pools and picnic areas. (The pools are great for swimming, but they are likely to be closed for swimming in February).
You'll want to base your choices on the amount of time you have in port and your tolerance for heat and humidity because there will be an abundance of that in February. If your time is limited and the heat/humidity are oppressive, you might want to just do Aquascene (it's in water) and the Museum (it's air-conditioned.) I know there is a bus that goes to the museum and I imagine there is a bus that goes to or near Aquascene. Then you would not need to rely on a tour or rent a car.
Also, while my favorite stop around Darwin is Litchfield National Park, unless you have a full day in Darwin, then you don't have time to drive out there and see it properly.
If your ship offers it as an excursion, think about flightseeing into Kakadu National Park from Darwin. It was a big splurge, but it was worth it. We landed at Cooinda, had a boat ride (we did see a few crocs), had a nice lunch at the resort there, and flew back to Darwin. The pilots did a great job of flying us by waterfalls and telling us all about the park. Our pilot even did a loop past the port so we could see our ship.
Kathy The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder 28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries 6 QM2 - 4TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia 1 Caronia - Baltic 1 Princess 2 RCCL 5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP) 6 HAL 1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills) 1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers
In 2010 we to did a ships tour to Litchfield. We were totally amazed by the huge termite mounds and the beautiful waterfalls. We loved this area
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Wildlife parks - how do we choose?
parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au lists so many parks in the Darwin area that I'm overwhelmed. Which ones would you all recommend that are practical to do in one day in early April by rental car? Our ship is scheduled to dock at 8 AM and sail again at 5 PM.
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Without knowing your interests, it's hard to recommend a park. Just look for a place that is no more than an hour from Darwin (which eliminates my favorite park, Litchfield NP.)
Of the parks on the website which are within an hour of Darwin, I might choose Territory Wildlife Park and Berry Springs Park. They are right next to each other. We spent several hours walking around Territory Wildlife Park and I'd recommend going early to see the animals before it gets too hot. It's spread out, but they do have a shuttle bus that runs around if the walk gets to be too much.
Berry Springs is a nice place for a walk, a picnic and a swim, although the natural pools may still be closed in April.
If you still have time after this excursion, you might head to the Botanical Gardens. I did not visit there on either of my 2 trips to Darwin (little interest from my spouse and kids), but I heard they are very nice.