If you enjoy adventure, nature, and a destination rich in history, then it’s time to dive into Darwin, says Eliza Philips.
The Northern Territory is peppered with the beautiful beaches Australia is famous for, unique and fascinating wildlife, striking desert scenery, a rich history and stacks of kids’ activities. So what we can’t figure out is, why isn’t this the national family travel destination of choice?
That whole ‘off the beaten track’ thing
Part of the appeal of the Northern Territory is it has that ‘off the beaten track’ kind of charm, and this is perhaps why it isn’t at the top of many Aussie families’ to-do list, but it’s exactly why it should be.
Darwin is an excellent choice for families looking for an active getaway, or those looking for the quiet reflection that is so often prompted by wide-open spaces. There are so many great things for kids to get involved in here, and one we can highly recommend is the Territory Wildlife Park. This is not your average zoo. Here kids can see dingoes, bilbies, saltwater crocodiles and many more fascinating native animals in a rugged and intimate setting.
Being such a wildlife hub, Darwin has a lot of animal-related attractions and activities. Something the whole family can enjoy is the thrill of hand-feeding the fish at Aquascene, which is just a short walk from the Darwin CBD.
Crocodiles can go several months without a meal; to make sure you’re not its next, stay out of rivers and swimming holes and unpatrolled beaches
Another great animal adventure awaits you and your kids if you take part in the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River, which is just a 45-minute drive from Darwin. Seeing the enormous crocodiles leap from the water to take the bait is an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Apart from being a fantastic travel destination in itself, Darwin is also the gateway to fabulous Kakadu, Katherine and Uluru.
The Northern Territory is a great backdrop for a family road trip, and there is so much outdoor fun for kids to have among its sprawling red desert and dramatic rockscapes that is sure to leave cherished memories for years to come.
Why Darwin? We sent our tiniest reporter to find out!
Darwin is ideal for those who want lasting family memories from a vacation, without spending a ridiculous amount of money. This is exactly what the O’Briens found when they recently journeyed to Darwin with their six-year-old, Joshua.
Josh had a great time exploring the play equipment at East Point Park, playing with some very impressive big boys’ toys at the Darwin Military Museum and spending lots of quality time with his extended family… but when I asked him what his favourite part of the holiday was, the resounding answer was “the crocodiles!”
The family spent the day at Crocosaurus Cove, and as Josh tells it, it’s a kid’s dream come true! Here you can see these fascinating creatures at all stages of development, and Josh explained to me that there was an opportunity to feed the young crocodiles, and even hold them. When asked if he thought they were cute, Josh replied; “No way! They’re funny though, and not scary… I got to hold a little one and we fed them fish too. There were so many different crocodiles, but I wasn’t allowed to touch the big ones…”
We think that’s probably for the best! Josh can’t wait to go back to Darwin and visit his crocs, and we’re confident you’ll feel the same way once you explore this unique city.