Top things to do in the “Top End” Northern Territory
The “Top End” Northern Territory is where the tropics meets the outback. Visit the Northern Territory’s capitol city Darwin, World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, the Katherine region and remote Arnhem Land.
Darwin and Surrounds
We visited the Top End during the pandemic and while we had a great run through the surrounding area, unfortunately the pandemic caught up with us and we spent our scheduled time in Darwin mostly in lockdown. Darwin is a beautiful, coastal city, with stunning street art, fantastic cafes we were thankfully able to try prior to lockdown, and plenty of activities to do in the city and surrounds. There are so many things to do in the Top End Northern Territory, allow a good 10 days or so to see as much as you can.
Mindil Beach Sunset & Markets
Sunsets at the Top End must be experienced over the beach – there are few so famous for their sunsets than Mindil Beach. During the dry season (May-Oct) the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are the place to be on Thursdays and Sundays. Try food from 60 stalls and eat on the beach while watching the sun go down.
See crocs up close at Crocosaurus Cove, right in the heart of Darwin. watch crocs being fed, wander through the reptile enclosure, hold a baby croc and other reptiles and, if you’re feeling brave, “swim” with a croc in the “Cage of Death”.
Darwin Waterfront Precinct
Stroll around the waterfront through the lush parklands overlooking the ocean and Darwin’s most popular attraction, the Wave Lagoon.
The Wave Lagoon at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct includes a huge pool with an artificial swell for riding boogie boards on and shallow water play areas for littlies, too.
The free, patrolled Recreation Lagoon in the same area has a sandy beach and safe swimming in salt water.
Kids can also hand feed fish at Doctors Gully where, at high tide, hundreds of mullet, stingrays, barramundi and plate-shaped moonfish swim in to let tourists feed them bread from their hands.
There are also playgrounds dotted around the water front area that kids will love.
Darwin Street Art
Darwin features a stunning collection of vibrant street art. International, national and local artists have contributed to this open-air gallery adorning the city’s walls.
Download the Darwin Street Art Festival app for insight into the artists and their works and bring the murals to life using augmented reality.
Where to stay in Darwin
In Darwin we stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton. I couldn’t fault the hotel, even when the entire city was placed on lockdown. The included breakfast we experienced prior to lockdown was fantastic.
Kakadu and Surrounds
Spot wildlife, swim in waterfalls and see ancient Aboriginal rock art. There are so many incredible things to do in Kakadu National Park. Three hours’ drive from Darwin, Kakadu is Australia’s biggest national park. Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park is World Heritage listed for both its cultural and natural values.
Read more about things to see and do in Kakadu National Park.
No trip to the Top End is complete without seeing crocodiles. A highlight of our trip was the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River, an hour out of Darwin, between Darwin and Kakadu.
Read more about taking a Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River.
Katherine and Surrounds
Plan to spend several days at the remarkable Katherine, a big country town located three hours drive south of Darwin on the Katherine River.
Swim in waterfalls, get an authentic Aboriginal experience, relax in hot springs and go underground at Cutta Cutta Caves.
Read about about the best five things to do in Katherine.
Litchfield National Park
Located just 90 minutes from Darwin, Litchfield National Park is the perfect Top End day trip with waterfalls, swimming holes, walking trails and termite mounds to see.
Read more about things to see and do in Litchfield National Park.
When we visited the Top End during the pandemic, Arnhem Land was closed to the public. It has since re-opened, and is a place to immerse yourself in an ancient landscape stretching over 97,000 square kilometres, filled with Aboriginal culture, stunning scenery and rare wildlife.
Read more about things to do in Arnhem Land.
Read about more things to do in the Top End.
Read more about visiting Litchfield National Park.
Take a dip in Katherine Hot Springs.
Visit Cutta Cutta Caves.
Get information on visiting Maguk Falls.
Visit Jim Jim Falls.
See the Spectacular Jumping Crocodiles.
See some of the world’s oldest rock art at Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock.
Stay at the Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel.
Spot wildlife on a Yellow Water Billabong Cruise.
Find things to do in Kakadu National Park.
Take a dip at Edith Falls.
Experience a tranquil Katherine Gorge Cruise Tour.
Check out things to do in one day at Litchfield National Park.
Find the 5 best things to do in Katherine.