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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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Seven Seas Explorer
Seven Seas Explorer

18 Night
South Pacific CruiseDetails

227 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jan 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Viking Orion
Viking Orion (Photo: Cruise Critic)

30 Night
Australia,new Zealand & IndonesiaDetails

474 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

60 Night
World CruiseDetails

1,247 Reviews
Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Solstice
Celebrity Solstice (Photo: Celebrity)

15 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

2,136 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

21 Night
Far East CruiseDetails

1,705 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Apr 6, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

91 Night
Grand Pacific ExplorerDetails

474 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Sep 17, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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63 Night
World CruiseDetails

227 Reviews
Leaving:Tokyo
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Oct 18, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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55 Night
World CruiseDetails

1,173 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 19, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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94 Night
Grand Australia & New Zealand VoyageDetails

561 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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35 Night
World CruiseDetails

383 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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150 Night
150 Night World CruiseDetails

365 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jan 7, 2025
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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117 Night
117 Night World CruiseDetails

1,247 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Australia CruiseDetails

383 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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30 Night
New Zealand Great Barrier Reef & Indonesian Holid...Details

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Dec 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Great Barrier Reef & IndonesiaDetails

1,067 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2023
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
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
Ship docked so experience getting off the ship and walking around Darwin was excellent.Read More
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Sonexxx
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
Took the shuttle bus into town and then jumped on the local HoHo which I thought was excellent.Read More
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ubu62

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