4 Quintessentially Aussie Things You Can Only Do in Darwin

crocodile w/mouth open, half out of water, crocodilius park, darwin,aust
••• Graham Monro/gm photographics/ Getty Images

Sure, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge always make the cut. Melbourne's restaurants, shopping, and cultural icons are very popular. The sparkling beaches of the Gold Coast are sought out year-round. But visiting Australia's vast Top End isn’t always at the top of every vacationer’s hit list. While you’re in the country, it’s definitely worth considering a few days in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. Here, you’ll find a modern, cosmopolitan city characterized by the locals’ laid-back charm, with plenty of unique attractions that can only be experienced in this part of the world.

  • 01 of 04

    Enjoy Perennial Sunshine

    Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk National Park
    ••• Artie Photography (Artie Ng) / Getty Images

    The first thing you need to know about Darwin’s climate: It is hot, hot, hot all year-round. During the Australian autumn and winter period, a unique dry season blesses residents with vibrant blue skies and warm, sunny days. But in the tropical summer season, which stretches from October through April, the weather is completely different. While it is perennially warm during these months, the skies often light up with spectacular lightning storms, and the landscapes become drenched in tropical rains.

  • 02 of 04

    Encounter a Crocodile

    Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) lounging in pool at Crocosaurus Cove.
    ••• David Wall Photo / Getty Images

    Yes, you can see these giant creatures in zoos and animals parks in different parts of the world, but in Darwin, you can actually visit Crocosaurus Cove, which gets you up close and personal—about as safely close as you’d want to get—to the territory’s most famous local citizens.

    Croc Cove, located right in the middle of Mitchell Street, is an enormous reptile house that offers loads of opportunities to meet the reptilian locals. You can even swim in a pool separated by a thin strip of glass from a crew of baby crocs—the bravest can opt to swim with the larger crocodiles in the scarily named ​Cage of Death.

  • 03 of 04

    Have an Authentic Aboriginal Experience

    If you’re interested in digging beneath the surface to explore Australia’s true history and culture, then take the opportunity to learn the enthralling culture of the local Pudakul people.

    Embark on a tour for an authentic, nature-based experience where you’ll learn about bush tucker and traditional medicine; try your hand—and mouth—at blowing a didgeridoo; throw a spear; observe basket- and dilly-bag-making demonstrations.

    You’ll also delve into Australia’s indigenous history. Discover the significance of Dreamtime and Djukbinj, the Rainbow Serpent, while enjoying delicious damper (bush bread) and billy tea. 

  • 04 of 04

    See Crocodiles in Their Home Habitats

    crocodile w/mouth open, half out of water, crocodilius park, darwin,aust
    ••• Graham Monro/gm photographics/ Getty Images

    If you’re keen on a more thrilling crocodile encounter—one that involves interacting with crocodiles in their natural habitat—don’t attempt this on your own. Crocodile attacks are infrequent, but they do happen in northern Australia. Most often, the victims are people who have failed to heed warning signs and wandered into crocodile habitations that are unsafe for humans.

    With this in mind, book a crocodile tour if you want an authentic Australian outback experience with these ancient animals. Rather than attempting a croc hunt on your own, there are many different adventures you can choose from, such as the Adelaide River Jumping Crocodile cruise, which was voted one of the best wildlife cruises in Australia.