Top 5 Fun and Free Things to do in Darwin.
Darwin, the beautiful capital city of the Northern Territory is filled with history and charm and although modern and bustling is easy to manouvre around. It is well worth a visit, if nothing else for it’s stunning natural scenery and coastline but also because it is crawling with fun and free activities!! Here are our top five recommendations for the frugal adventurers out there.
5. Parliament House
Geek out about the stunning architecture – even if that’s normally your thing! It is a beautiful building outside and in. It was opened in 1994 and cost around $170 million dollars to build including carparks and landscaping. It feels like a magical ballroom walking in (Once you get through security checks!), complete with a courtyard fountain and beach view!! Too beautiful for words. We enjoyed the viewing gallery of the legislative assembly chamber and the kids learnt a few things too – go figure! We took our time walking through the halls featuring large portraits of former chief ministers and speakers of the N.T., We loved it and would highly recommend it. We took a self-guided tour but free guided tours are offered on Sat 9-11am February-November and also on Wednesday at 10:30am from May to September.
4. Recreation Lagoon
There is a terrific man-made beach in the middle of the city where nets are placed to protect from marine stingers and provide an all year round swimming experience. It was fully life-guarded and just 50m down the road from an awesome and affordable wave pool (but we won’t dwell on it’s awesomeness as this is about FREE activities!) . To get there we took a fantastic skywalk and went down to the water’s edge in a glass elevator – and for these country bumpkins, that counts as exciting! The lagoon itself offers great swimming, sandy edges and great picnic spots.
3.George Brown Botanic Gardens.
We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at the sprawling Botanic Gardens, named after Darwin’s largest serving Lord Mayor. As curator he was instrumental in re-establishing the gardens after 80% of it’s trees were destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in December 1974. The gardens were so expansive that we couldn’t possibly take it all in, in one afternoon. We did enjoy the beautiful fountain and hanging art; the terraces filled with fruit trees and bushes, the sensory garden and Frangipani Hill – which both were alive with magical floral aromas. It was the outstanding natural playground that brought us here and it was unquestionably our family’s favourite! It featured an amazing metal 3-story treehouse, lots of quirky paths and new found playground equipment behind living walls, a flowing creek and sand areas – it was fun filled!! Be warned though – all mozzies have moved right here to this section of the garden!
2. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
We are massive fans of Art galleries and Museums – especially as they are usually free and fantastic! This one was no exception, offereing a huge variety of displays from Territory history (cyclone Tracy and WWII bombings), birds / butterflies and beetles of the Territory, rocks and minerals of the Territory and megafauna / dinosaurs of the past. Including some pretty amazing skeletal representations that are awesome viewing pleasure for young and old alike. A large section is dedicated, quite rightly to the aboriginal culture of the area and their long rich history; this is also reflected in the art gallery upstairs which featured award winning indigenous artworks and sculptures which we personally loved!! One of our favourite sections was a little corner that demonstrated once again how aboriginal culture is the longest living culture in the world, something all Australians should be proud of; we certainly are. Also their was a fascinating display dedicated to “sweetheart”, a large saltwater crocodile that terrorised boats on Darwin’s Harbour from 1974 to 1979. The Museum and Art Gallery is but a short walk from the beach, so make sure you slot in a quick stroll along Vestey’s Beach!
1.Leanyer Recreation Park
Entry is free to this water wonderland where there is something for everyone. Not only is there a fantastic waterpark which contains a huge swimming area, 3 massive waterslides and a water playground. The park is fully lifeguarded, but it also has a huge shaded playground, paths to ride bikes, a large skateboard bowl area and basketball courts! It also has shaded BBQ’s and expansive areas of green grass for a picnic. Whether you are 6 or 60, this is a great safe and relaxed place to come and cool off from the inescapable Darwin heat. Our children loved the water playground especially, which featured a showering mushroom, 3 mini-waterslides, a huge self-tipping bucket and so much more! A tip though, lather yourself in mosquito repellent like you never have before – unprecedented mozzie activity!
That’s the Roaming Rowes top 5 Free and Fun things to do in Darwin, but there is so much more. Here is some other Free activities to consider when in Darwin.
- Qantas Hangar and Car Club
- Palmerston Water Park
- Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
- Fannie Bay Gaol
- Charles Darwin Nation Park
- Lake Alexander
- East Point Reserve
- Many Beach and Jetty Strolls to be had too.
Have fun and enjoy Darwin, we sure did!