Sun’s out, fun’s out: Darwin for kids

The kids will love a tropical holiday in family-friendly Darwin.

Kids and adult run on the sand at Darwin Waterfront. Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught
  • Jetstar
  • August 2021

Darwin is an ideal destination for kids. It’s warm and sunny, and there are beaches and pools to splash the day away in. It’s an easy-going town, where dinner can be some unusual street food from the market and kids can watch a movie under the stars. It’s a wonderland of waterfalls and wildlife parks – the kind of things dream holidays are made of. Here are some of the must-do things for the kids.

Rock with the crocs at Crocosaurus Cove

Come on, you didn’t think you could come to Darwin and not interact with at least one croc, did you? Crocosaurus Cove is right in the centre of Darwin and it gives the kids an amazing, up-close experience with these gnarly characters. There’s also a massive display of fish, turtles, reptiles and the adorable whiprays, with their cute little smiles. You can watch them being fed and see all kinds of fascinating displays. (Sorry, the ‘Cage of Death’, where you can actually swim with a massive saltwater croc, is only for kids over the age of 15.)

Children feeding juvenile saltwater crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught
Crocosaurus Cove is a thrilling adventure for kids visiting Darwin. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught

Ride the waves at the waterfront Wave Lagoon

Darwin’s waterfront precinct is a fantastic area to spend the day in. The big drawcard is the Wave Lagoon – a huge pool with a cycle of wave patterns so the kids can ride the waves on tubes and boogie boards. It’s a crazy amount of fun. There’s a shallow area for the really little kids.

There’s also the Recreation Lagoon nearby, with a sandy beach and saltwater swimming. The waterfront precinct includes grassed areas, perfect for picnics, a playground and a Ferris Wheel. (The waterfront also hosts school holiday activities, so check their website.)

Woman riding a wave on a boogie board at Darwin’s Wave Lagoon. Image credit: Tourism NT/Peter Eve
Darwin’s Wave Lagoon is literally hours of fun for the whole family. Image credit: Tourism NT/Peter Eve

Get to the gallery

Darwin is home to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, a family-friendly, fascinating gallery and museum. There’s an exhibition on Cyclone Tracy, a showcase of the Territory’s flora and fauna, and indigenous artworks. There’s also local celebrity, Sweetheart – a stuffed, 5-metre, 780-kilogram saltie. The Discovery Centre is set aside just for kids, offering supervised arts and crafts activities inspired by the current exhibitions. The gift store sells learning kits, which make for a great souvenir.

Tourists looking at an enormous stuffed crocodile at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught
Everyone loves visiting Sweetheart! Image credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught

Splash in a waterfall at Litchfield National Park

There are some wonderful national parks close to Darwin. Litchfield National Park is 90 minutes away, and if you have impatient mini passengers, Berry Springs Nature Park is just 40 minutes away. Litchfield is full of waterfalls and swimming holes, so take the kids for a memorable childhood adventure. They’ll love Buley Rockhole, a swimming hole fed by waterfalls and surrounded by rainforest. There are barbecues and picnic tables there too. At Berry Springs, swim in clear water pools, and make the most of picnic tables, shady areas, and the walking track.

A group of people swimming at Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park. Image credit: Tourism NT/Lucy Ewing
Buley Rockhole is just one of the amazing spots the kids will love. Image credit: Tourism NT/Lucy Ewing

Meet the critters at Territory Wildlife Park

Just near Berry Springs, you’ll find the Territory Wildlife Park. There’s a whole host of attractions here, all linked by a shuttle train, adding an extra element of fun for the kids and making it easier on little legs. There are all kinds of habitats to explore and animals to meet. There are treetop aviaries, a walk-through aquarium, wallaby musters and whipray feedings. Of course, there’s a giant saltwater croc there too, as well as echidnas, emus, ghost bats and the magical blue-winged kookaburras.

Close-up of wallaby with children in the background at Territory Wildlife Park. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shanna McNaught
Close encounters of the critter kind at Territory Wildlife Park. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shanna McNaught