5 must see stunning around Darwin attractions

Adelaide River Saltwater Crocodile

After seeing 11 best Darwin attractions we decided to go for more exploration, this time around Darwin.

#1 Berry Springs Nature Park

Our next tourist destination around Darwin was Berry Springs Nature Park. The park is located 47 kilometres south of Darwin. We expected to go for a walk in the shade of the trees, maybe even have a swim, but what we found was 100% better.

Kasha and Nell at Berry Springs
Kasha and Nell at Berry Springs

We discovered another amazing hot springs! Three large pools with water flowing into them through a small waterfall. Small tropical fish were swimming with us, what a beauty! Berry Springs also had great shaded picnic and barbeque areas and were surrounded by trees that gave us pleasant shade. Berry Springs is the perfect place to spend a full day. You can bring your lunch or have a barbeque here and swim the whole day. This place is definitely one of the best around Darwin attractions.

#2 Crab Claw Island

After such an enjoyable start of the day, we were starving, and there were no shops or cafes nearby. Berry Springs park was really in a remote location and the closest place that we could find on the map was Crab Claw Island Resort, 40 km away in Bynoe Region. We were hoping to find a restaurant there. We were looking to eat something good, or just ‘something’, because we were really hungry.

Crab Claw Island Entrance
Crab Claw Island Entrance

We made a quick decision, and went on an unplanned trip to the coast. The road was challenging, mostly unsealed road with a very uneven surface called – corrugations. It’s nothing more than a series of ripples where car wheels are bouncing up and down working intensively and everything inside the car shakes and teeth are rattling. We drove through dry riverbeds several times, and a heavy dust cloud was forming behind us.

At one point a small kangaroo jumped on the road and I was lucky enough to catch it in the photo!

Road to Crab Claws Island

When we finally got to the Crab Claws Island Resort, we couldn’t believe how beautiful it was there! This tropical wildness hides a romantic resort – huts on stilts overlooking the azure waters of the bay, a golden beach, and extensive tropical vegetation.

Crab Claw Island Low Tide
Crab Claw Island Low Tide

We regretted that we could not move there even for a few days. We also found a restaurant, our main reason to be there. Unfortunately we were too late for lunch as it was 3 pm already and the cook had already left. 

We were told he will be back for dinner at 6 pm. Unfortunately, we couldn’t wait that long. Instead we ate some ice creams. That was our late lunch. Very delighted with the beach, mangroves and the resort itself, we set off on our way back. Marius wanted to go even further, but the sunset was in less than two hours, and I really wanted to go again to my favorite Mindil Market.

#3 eMDee - the best didgeridoo concert in Australia

We had a chance to be at the Mindil Market again. I should have mentioned it already in my previous post when I wrote about Mindil Market.

eMDee - Mark Hoffmann
eMDee - Mark Hoffmann

There is a group called eMDee that do didgeridoo concerts on every Thursday and Sunday when Mindil Market runs. Mark Hoffmann is the guy who has 4 different size didgeridoos and plays them interchangeably together with his friend playing on the percussion. 

The effect is amazing. Imagine a hot Darwin night, with a literally red sunset on the horizon. You are sitting on the beach looking at the sunset and the aboriginal music is being played in the background. Nights like this don’t come often, I can tell you that!

We decided to buy one of the albums of the band as we really loved it and wanted to keep the memory for longer. I think eMDee is an iconic music group and really should be placed among best Darwin attractions.

Mindil Market food and stunning red sunset

Mindil Market is one of the best Darwin attractions and I always come back to it if I can. This time we tried different food and treated ourselves to Thai cuisine. The grilled satay prawns were fantastic and even Marius couldn’t resist them. The ginger chicken had a super aromatic flavor. We also had to try the local salmon in breadcrumbs. Nell loved it. We washed it all down with coconut milk mixed with vanilla ice cream. 

Everything costed pennies and I am not surprised why food on the market is so popular. It’s delicious and cheap. If I lived in Darwin, I would eat on the market twice a week.

Mindil Market Sunset
Mindil Market Sunset

We also found some time for a wonderful sunset. As usual the sunset was phenomenal and there were many people sitting on the beach and admiring It. Everyone was staring at it with held breath, when a red ball plunged majestically into the depths of the sea. 

Believe it or not, but there was an applause at the end when the sun disappeared behind the horizon! I have stored that particular sunset deep in my memory, as well as the smells coming from nearby food stalls and a live music where a man sang “Save tonight … Come tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll be gone“. 

Next day we decided to repeat our success from yesterday and we visited other hot springs – this time Howard Spring. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed as they were closed and the only swimmers there were turtles and fish. 

What a pity, because we really liked this place. Well, maybe when we show up next time, this place will be teeming with life.

Darwin Eastern suburbs

Then we made a trip to the eastern side of the bay, but it was a very industrial and wild part of Darwin. Nothing but mangroves and in my opinion this area was rather scary. We also saw a dingo hanging around. That was it, we decided to go back. 

#4 Mandorah unspoilt beaches

Next day we decided to go to Mandorah to see Darwin from a distance! 

Mandorah is located on the other side of Fannie Bay on the tip of Cox Peninsula only 6 km on the ferry from Darwin, but 128 km on a sealed road. The traditional owners of the land are Wagait Aboriginal community and Mandorah has only 400 residents.

The ferry trip took us only 20 minutes on the calm, azure waters of Fannie Bay. After a very pleasant ride, we felt very hungry and immediately rushed to the beach to sink our teeth into Portuguese chicken with vegetables and delicious crunchy baguette. We ate while looking at the Darwin panorama.

Mandorah Ferry - Nell was promissed ice cream
Mandorah Ferry - Nell was promissed ice cream

The beach was very nice, but we stayed far from the water as we were told that crocodiles show up there very often. Sometimes when I look at such idyllic places, you know – palm trees, beautiful beaches, azure water, I don’t want to believe that salties are hiding there, but that’s the truth. They hide below the water level and we can’t forget it. 

Mandorah has this little secret of unspoilt beaches like Inmaluk Beach or Wagait Beach that are worth visiting. Also a must see is the historic Charles Point Lighthouse as well as monsoonal vine forest.

We sat and admired this beautiful city view with great pleasure. Then we had a short return to the other side of the bay. We came back relaxed and refreshed. On the way home we went to a fishing shop and bought a fishing rod for Dad! If he doesn’t swim, we let him fish. 

Mandorah can be listed under unique Darwin attraction if you want to see unspoiled beaches and Aboriginal people.

Mandorah Ferry
Mandorah Ferry

#5 Adelaide River cruise

Today we were not even a bit disappointed. This time we went on the Adelaide River cruise. We were at the meeting point at the very last minute, eh – as always. The sky was covered with clouds, but we were in a good mood. 

Small bus picked us up at Humpty Doo. On the way, we passed orchards covered with green mangoes. It looked amazing. The trip we have chosen is our favorite type – a small family company, only a few participants, and a personal approach to each person. Today we got it all.

Adelaide River - saltwater crocodiles everywhere

Together with other 9 people we were packed into a small, but very fast boat and dashed 30 km up the Adelaide River. We got on board when the tide was low and the riverbanks were covered with mud, but we had the perfect opportunity to watch dozens of crocodiles basking on the banks. The smallest was about 20 cm, the biggest over 6 meters.

Adelaide River - Saltwater Crocodile
Adelaide River - Saltwater Crocodile

This means it was longer than our boat. At the beginning, every crocodile we saw made us excited as we did not have a chance to see big salties from a short distance yet in our trip. Then we stopped getting excited because we saw crocodiles everywhere on both banks, water and logs.

White-bellied eagle live performance

There were many birds around us, too. We were fascinated by the white-bellied sea eagle who was taking pieces of meat thrown by Harry (our host) from the surface of the water. Harry simply set a low gear and waited when the eagle approached the boat from the above. Then, he threw the meat up and the eagle caught it with grace. Amazing performance! Harry must have been training this bird for a while.

Adeliaide River - white-bellied eagle
Adeliaide River - white-bellied eagle

In the middle of the trip we stopped for lunch. Harry prepared it in a small campsite close to river banks where we could sit and eat a mouth-watering barbecue. Yum, it was delicious. 

Adelaide River - lunch
Adelaide River - lunch

Harry was only worried when Marius went towards the boat by himself. He quickly ran after him and stopped my husband in his tracks. Apparently two weeks ago they had a close encounter there, when a crocodile nearly dragged another tourist into the water. 

We were told that crocodiles learn human behavior and if they see someone show up in the same place for a few days they will wait there and try to hunt the prey.

Goat Island

At the end of our trip we went to Goat Island that was created in the middle of the river. 

On the arrival we met a guy with his two dogs. He was a real true blue spirit of this area. He lives by himself on the island that is flooded for 6 months in the wet season. During the wet he needs to move to the attic in order not to be taken by the water.

Darwin Attractions - Goat Island
Darwin Attractions - Goat Island

He survives there without electricity or ‘running’ water (I hope you get the joke). I forgot to mention one important detail, he feeds the crocodiles in the evenings. He throws them buffalo meat in front of his front door, and they crawl out of the water and feast there. 

Tourists in Goat Island are treated with all honors and I was puzzled why dogs are so happy to see us. It turned out that if someone buys a beer from the owner of the island, the price also includes a concert for a singing dog named ‘hot-dog’ and a harmonica. Well… interesting experience. I will say nothing more.

Crocodile nest destroyed by iguana
Crocodile nest destroyed by iguana

Heading back Adelaide River

We also went to see a crocodile’s nest where iguana had sneaked in and ate the eggs in the absence of the female. One of the crocodiles also showed an unhealthy interest in our boat and made a brisk move to say ‘hello’. 

Harry just barked at us to keep the arms and the rest of the body in the boat, and then he pushed the throttle giving a boat a little bit more speed. 

I felt uncomfortable when my eye was about one meter from the crocodile eye at one point. Nell was very brave all day long and everyone was delighted with her. She even helped Harry clean after lunch and called him ‘Mr Captain’. 

We were coming back tired, but thrilled after a wonderful day on the water. It was really good day spent in company of very nice people. This cruise was definitely one of the best Darwin attractions so far. Tomorrow we are going to Kakadu National Park and I’m sure we will see many more crocodiles there.

Stunning around Darwin attractions - summary

Darwin attractions are really amazing. In this and previous post I listed 16 amazing Darwin attractions to visit. I think Darwin offers a lot and everybody can find something interesting. We will definitely come back again in the future as Darwin become our favorite place to relax.

Have you visited Darwin, what attractions can you recommend? Please feel free to drop a comment and engage in discussion. We would love to hear your stories.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

It is definitely possible to explore Darwin in the wet season. Obviously you cannot go to the national parks as they are flooded. Also, the problem is to get to Darwin as there are torrential rains that can happen any day and the roads can be flooded too. I would not recommend to drive to Darwin in the wet. I would rather take a flight to be safe. We were told that the storms are really spectacular in the wet season.

Darwin in the wet season is very empty. The town population drops significantly as the main attractions like Kakadu or Litchfield National Parks are closed. Thus, there are not many tourists at all. One awesome option in the wet season is to hire a helicopter and fly over Kakadu Park as the famous falls like Jim Jim or Twin falls flow immensely and the views are magnificent.

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