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Cruises to Darwin

Darwin (Photo:Emma Jones/Shutterstock)

About Darwin

Darwin is a departure point for visits to Australia's Kakadu and Nitmiluk national parks but this modern city in the Northern Territory also has plenty of attractions for the one-day cruise visitor.

Its streets are lined with Aboriginal art and craft galleries, boutiques selling locally cultured pearls, and restaurants and cafes where the ethnically diverse cuisine highlights Australia's bountiful produce and seafood.

From feeding crocodiles in the central business district (CBD) to historic World War 2 oil storage tunnels and a lively waterfront wave pool, Darwin offers an enjoyable day out for travellers with a variety of interests.

The city was named after naturalist Charles Darwin, who stopped there aboard HMS Beagle in 1839. As home to a growing population of 132,000, it is the smallest Australian capital city. Closer to the capitals of five countries in Asia than it is to Canberra, the capital of Australia, Darwin is a modern mix of Aussie and Asian culture -- at least in its food options. Many buildings also look relatively new as the city was rebuilt after it was largely levelled by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve in 1974.

Kakadu is too distant to reach on a shore excursion, but if you're looking for natural beauty, you should have enough time to squeeze in a day trip to Litchfield National Park. Just a 90-minute drive from Darwin, this delightful park is noted for its waterfalls cascading into swimmable pools as well as trails through lush tropical forests and giant termite mounds, many two metres (6.5 feet) high or taller.

  • Why go to Darwin?

  • Darwin Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

14 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

2,026 Reviews
Leaving:Bali
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 9, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Island Princess
Island Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

111 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Noordam
Noordam

35 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 12, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Noordam
Noordam

69 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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111 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 5, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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102 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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92 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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74 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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101 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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116 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

325 Reviews
Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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117 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

17 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Perth
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

602 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Nov 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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116 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Genoa
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 5, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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38 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 27, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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105 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Hamburg
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 9, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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33 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Mar 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

15 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Perth
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Hong Kong
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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60 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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97 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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26 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Hong Kong
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 23, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Cruise to DarwinDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Nov 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Darwin?

Pros:

A lively tropical city with a great mix of cultures and food

Cons:

It's very hot and humid during the wet season

Bottom Line:

Darwin's colourful character makes it well worth exploring

Darwin Cruise Port Facilities?

Cruise ships dock close to the main town centre in an area called the Wharf Precinct -- a drinking and dining hub with a modern convention centre.

The Darwin Cruise Ship Terminal waterfront precinct has seaside walkways and shady parklands. Visitors can swim in the wave pool or a swimming lagoon with a floating children's play zone. The area is lined with outdoor restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.

A 750-metre path links the terminal to the Smith Street Mall and Visitor Information Centre. Don't miss the glass observation lift, which offers panoramic views of the whole precinct and Stokes Hill Wharf while connecting you to a gently climbing walkway.

Good to Know?

December through to March is known as 'The Wet' and it pours buckets late in the afternoon and at night. Temperatures top 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity reaches extremely high levels. The land turns green, but it could also flood, and some trips to outlying areas will be washed out by impassable roads. Air-conditioned venues, such as Darwin's shops and museums, then become the most sensible destinations.

Getting Around?

By Foot: The walk to town takes about 15 minutes. Once there, the centre is walkable in about 25 minutes, from end to end.

By Taxi: Taxis will be available at the pier.

By Ride Share: Uber is available in Darwin but some of the newer rideshare options have limited drivers.

By Bus: A shuttle service operates from the Darwin Cruise Ship Terminal to the Visitor Information Centre in the CBD. The Darwin Bus Interchange is located on Harry Chan Place, off Smith Street, at the end of the main shopping street, near the port. Timetables are available, and drivers do give change. The Darwin Airport Shuttle meets all flights and provides direct transfers to all hotels.

By Car: Car rental agencies give good value for three to five people. Try Hertz (Mitchell Centre, 55 to 59 Mitchell Street), Europcar (77 Cavenagh Street) and Budget (corner of Smith and McLachlan streets).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the Australian dollar. Money can be exchanged at banks and bureaus, and ATMs are found all over the city. Credit cards are widely accepted in Darwin except at local markets (such as the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets) where cash is often preferred. Outside Darwin, in remote areas, there are limited banking or credit card facilities.

Language?

English is spoken with a variety of Australian accents and often with lots of abbreviations and colloquial expressions. When it comes to ordering a beer, a "stubbie" is a small beer, while a "Darwin stubbie" is a very, very large beer.


Darwin Cruise Reviews
Ship docked so experience getting off the ship and walking around Darwin was excellent.Read More
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Sonexxx
First time in Darwin and found it to be a lovely city . The locals were friendly and it looked very safe and well looked after .Read More
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best day ever
We did our own walk around the town, but was too hot to stay in Darwin for to longRead More
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shellz37
Having lived in Darwin for many years we simply took the opportunity to revisit places we knew well. IOt was far more enjoyable - and much cheaper - than booking a ship based tour.,Read More
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notahappytraveller

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