Where to stay in Darwin

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  • Post last modified:June 26, 2024
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Discovering the alluring capital of the Northern Territory is easiest with a central base. Stay in walkable Darwin CBD — boasting a contemporary oasis-like waterfront precinct — to reap the benefits of having most city attractions at your fingertips.

Darwin CBD

The noise level — especially as the night unfolds on Fridays and Saturdays — can be high on Mitchell Street, Darwin’s pulsating main drag with a mishmash of eateries and pubs. A quirky sight at the heart of it all, Crocosaurus Cove offers record-breaking reptile encounters, including a storied crocodile dive named the Cage of Death.

Join crowds of partying locals and backpackers, or seek respite from the high-spirited vibe on the parallel Esplanade, where Bicentennial Park provides elevated perspectives of the Timor Sea that leave you speechless. Continue south along the Esplanade to see the stately Darwin Parliament House and Government House.

Best hotels in Darwin CBD

Hilton Garden Inn

On the Esplanade, this breezy hotel features 184 modern rooms, some with brilliant views of Darwin Harbour. When the heat is most intense, cool off in the shaded pool.

Palms City Resort

Immerse yourself in the Tropics at Palms City Resort, hidden among exotic vegetation along the Esplanade. Choose from stylish hotel rooms and more intimate private villas, making you forget this actually is the CBD.

Argus Apartments

Want some extra space? Massive immaculate accommodation with kitchen await at Argus Apartments, perfect for those who travel with family or a bigger group.

Placid blue Darwin Harbour meeting Darwin's vegetated coastline, looking north from Bicentennial Park
Absorb these blue views from Bicentennial Park.

Darwin Waterfront Precinct

Part of the CBD but with its own distinct vibe, Darwin Waterfront Precinct showcases modern Darwin with all the pleasures that make a tropical stay great. Feel the breeze in your hair as you sample restaurants and bars revolving around a recreational saltwater lagoon, fringed by golden sand inviting you to catch some rays and complete with an aqua challenge course for those who want to add some adrenaline.

Gaze out across the water to see Stokes Hill Wharf jutting out into Darwin Harbour. There — a 15-minute walk or short ride away — you find more waterfront dining and entertainment, including a landmark ferris wheel.

Best hotels in Darwin Waterfront Precinct

Vibe Hotel

Embrace Darwin’s waterfront at the Vibe Hotel, with the best rooms facing the lagoon and Stokes Hill Wharf. On-site Curve Cafe has you covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cooling drinks.

Adina Apartment Hotel

This is the sister to the Vibe Hotel, with shared facilities but bigger, better equipped units.

Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites

A high-end collection of self-contained apartments mark the southern end of the lagoon. Recline on your spacious balcony and let the superb water view entertain you.

Leafy Darwin Waterfront Precinct centered around a man-made lagoon during sunset
Kick back in Darwin’s waterfront precinct.

Mindil Beach

A 5-minute drive from the CBD, Mindil Beach on glittering Fannie Bay is the scene of Darwin’s most famous event: The Mindil Beach Sunset Market, running on Thursdays and Sundays during the dry season. Try casual bites — the flavours of Australia and Asia are many — or browse stalls displaying arts and crafts.

Year round, Mindil Beach Casino Resort not only lets you try your luck with a wide range of games but also provides some of the finest luxury accommodation in Darwin.

Best hotels on Mindil Beach

Mindil Beach Casino Resort

Go for a swim in the picture-perfect infinity pool or the man-made lagoon at this sprawling entertainment complex. Then power up at one of several trendy restaurants and bars.

Group of people walking towards Mindil Beach Casino Resort framed by rising palm trees
Try your luck at Mindil Beach Casino Resort, or check in simply for the dreamy pools.

Parap

The sleepy Parap enclave, a 10-minute drive from the CBD, comes to life every Saturday morning (throughout the year), when locals and visitors alike descend on its most famous event. Treat your tastebuds to Parap Village Markets, boasting an array of tropical delights that range from spicy laksa to refreshing smoothie to fresh produce.

A stone’s throw away, 1934 Qantas Hangar has survived both WW2 and Cyclone Trace. Visit to marvel at actual Japanese air-raid damage and the fancy collection of vehicles on display by the Motor Vehicle Enthusiasts Club (MVEC).

Best hotels in Parap

Elsey on Parap

These 28 funky executive apartments put you at Parap’s hottest location, right across the street from Parap Village.

Hudson Parap

Adjacent to the 1934 Qantas Hangar, Hudson Parap presents a modern mix of accommodation spanning from efficient studios to three-bedroom apartments.

Outer suburbs

If you want to stay closer to nature or travel on a budget, consider staying in one of Darwin’s outer suburbs or beyond. With a location south of the city, you cut the day trip distance to swimming-hole-dotted Litchfield National Park.

Best hotels in outer suburbs

Discovery Parks

Bed down in a neat cabin nestled among the palm trees of a cheerful caravan park, a 15-minute drive from the CBD.

Rydges Palmerston

Your hard-earned dollars last longer in Palmerston, within 30 minutes’ drive of the CBD.

Water crashing over the brink of Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park, and down into the refreshing pool below
Cool down in Litchfield, 90 minutes from Darwin CBD.

Kakadu National Park

A vast ancient landscape, Kakadu is one of the bucket-list national parks in Australia, wowing visitors with all from dramatic escarpments and fascinating Aboriginal rock art to billabongs teeming with wildlife and mighty cascading waterfalls.

But do yourself a favour and treat Kakadu — a three-hour-or-so drive from Darwin — as its own experience, where you should spend at least a night. There’s comfy in-park lodging available, allowing you to effortlessly take in those golden sunrise and sunset hours.

Best hotels in Kakadu

Cooinda Lodge

An oasis next to the Yellow Water billabong, lush Cooinda Lodge has tidy guest rooms, elevated glamping tents, a popular eatery serving three meals a day and a shaded swimming pool.

Aurora Kakadu Lodge

In Kakadu’s main settlement Jabiru, Aurora Kakadu Lodge presents a mix of efficient cabins and simple lodge rooms. Soak up the friendly vibe at the laid-back bistro set by a lagoon-style pool.

Boat docked on still Yellow River Billabong in Kakadu National Park
Iconic Yellow Water, neighbouring Cooinda Lodge.

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