Darwin: Get There & Stay Where?

Updated: December 2021

OVERVIEW

Darwin has it's own airport close to the city centre. Just be aware of the vast distances involved to get there - Darwin is actually further away from some of the east coast cities than New Zealand.

The tourism industry in Darwin is well developed, so there should be no problems finding a hotel to suit your needs - in the city centre, by the water, or out of town if you want to get out and about in a hire car.

Take a look below for all the different ways you can get to Darwin and some information on the best locations to look for a hotel and the different types of accommodation available.

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How To Get To Darwin

 

Flights To Darwin

 

Darwin International Airport dominates the city geographically and is located north east of the city centre, just 10km away. It has direct flights to all the major cities in Australia.

 

Major domestic Airlines flying into Darwin include Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar. There are also several smaller airlines flying to regional areas.

Note: The following is an indication of flights at the time of writing. Due to snap border restrictions, this information may be incorrect. Similarly, if restrictions are eased, expect the number of flights to increase.

From Sydney

Currently Virgin and Qantas have just one direct flight per day.

4hr30min flight time.

Virgin and Qantas also have one flight per day from Melbourne with Jetstar proving one additional direct option from Tullamarine airport.

4hr20min flight time.

From Brisbane

One direct flight per day is scheduled with Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin.

4hr10min flight time.

From Gold Coast

There are no direct flights from Gold Coast Airport. Go from Brisbane instead.

From Adelaide

Virgin have 2 direct flights per day with Jetstar providing one more. 

3hr40min flight time.

From Perth

Qantas and Virgin have one flight per day scheduled for next year.

3hr40min flight time.

From Canberra

There are no direct flights currently scheduled. The shortest route is likely to be via Sydney.

From Hobart

There are no direct flights from Hobart either. Try looking at connections via Melbourne for the shortest route.

From Regional Towns

Flights are often scheduled from the following regional centres through Airnorth: -

Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns, Katherine, and Townsville.

Ready to check Flight rates and availability?

Virgin Australia are up there with Qantas in terms of quality of service and they have an extensive number of routes across Australia. Click the image to see what options they have for you to experience an exemplary start to your trip.

If you want to check up on Jetstar, it is best to book through their site directly at jetstar.com as this gives you the best price and full availability. Just remember that checked luggage costs extra.

For flights with Qantas, try looking at auntbetty.com which is operated by Flight Centre. It's an easy to use flight search website that gives you the true price (unlike others, that show dodgy prices) and back-up support from your local Flight Centre store.

Travel Unpacked is supported financially by affiliate links. This means that, should you click on a link to a hotel or airline website, for example, we receive a small commission. The price that you pay is not affected by this. Find out more about this on our About page.

"These links are recommended because I use them myself. They are easy to use sites, offer excellent service, and are sites that I would suggest to my friends and family if they asked."

Christopher Jubb, Travel Unpacked Founder

Getting from the Airport to the city

To get to Darwin centre from the airport takes around 15min by car which might cost around $30 in a taxi or rideshare.

Shuttle bus operators are also available and take a similar time and cost around $15 per person.

A public bus stops near the entrance to the airport but the routes are really inconvenient and it could take over 1 hour to get to the city centre.

All the major car hire companies are located at Darwin airport, so if there are a few of you and you plan to use the car to take some day trips out of the city, this can be a good option.

For more information about getting to and from Darwin airport, take a look at the airports information page here - darwinairport.com.au/transport-options

Sustainability Tip

Offset your carbon emissions from your flight to reduce the impact of your trip.

Read our 'How to travel sustainably' guide for more tips and information.

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The Ghan Train © Tourism NT

Train To Darwin

Darwin has an interstate train station but this only serves the privately run The Ghan train, a luxury train journey that travels from Adelaide via Alice Springs and takes several days and costs a fair amount.

The journey is an incredible trip, and one to aspire to take one day - it's an absolute classic of world renown - but due to the expense it's not really a viable option simply as a way to get to Darwin.

Coach To Darwin

 

Darwin is served by a few coach routes that go into the Northern Territory on one of the only four sealed roads that actually enter the state.

From Western Australia, there is usually a coach scheduled from Perth to Broome by Integrity Coach Lines and then a further route from Broome to Darwin is run by Greyhound.

Heading north from South Australia there is a route via Alice Springs, also by Greyhound.

East is Queensland and you can catch a coach to the NT with Greyhound from Cairns, Brisbane, or anywhere along the coastline, to Darwin via Tennent Creek.

All of these routes are 2 or 3 thousand kilometres plus and therefore take at least a couple of days to make the journey through the incredible landscape.

Drive To Darwin

 

The distances across Australia to get to Darwin are massive, so you would only choose this option if you were planning on making a road trip out of it - and what a roadtrip it would be. From Adelaide, Perth or Queensland, allow at least a week before arriving in Darwin, and a couple of days more from Melbourne or Sydney.

See out 'Where Next?' section on the Essential Info part of our guide for more info.

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Cruise ship docked in Darwin © Tourism NT

Cruise Ship

 

Cruise ships do stop in Darwin and in a very convenient spot, as you can see in the image - a short walk through the Waterfront Precinct to the CBD. As with any transport option however, the distances involved are vast, so expect it to take up to a week to get to Darwin from a departure point such as Perth or Queensland.

The most common types of cruises to visit Darwin are ones that stop off on the Western Australian coastline, including in the Kimberley. However, due to Darwin's proximity to Indonesia, you can often find cruises that make a stop there too.

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Where To Stay In Darwin

Hotels In Darwin

 

Choosing where to stay in Darwin comes down to what kind of trip you are making. Most would be coming for a break to take in the attractions and do some tours. If this is the case for you, there is no better place to stay than in the city centre. This is where the most amount of accommodation is found and gives you quick access to everything you could need - restaurants, shops, attractions, and convenient pick-up spots for tours - and the prices in Darwin are pretty attractive.

If you want to stay close to the city but want something a little more special, look at the hotels in the Waterfront precinct or along the esplanade, so you might get a bit of a view.

For a more relaxing trip, try one of the resort style hotels. These can be found in the city centre and a little further out. You can also find some fantastic and unique options outside of Darwin, such as resorts on the Tiwi islands or glamping in Kakadu National Park.

Take a look at this short guide with a search function to find your preferred type of accommodation - northernterritory.com/darwin-and-surrounds/accommodation

Darwin hotel

Mindil Beach Casino Resort, Darwin © Tourism NT

Ready to check Hotel rates and availability?

Booking.com is one of the most popular hotel booking websites, they have a wide range of accommodation types and they often have free cancellation, so you can always book and lock in your room with the option to cancel it later. Click the image to see what amazing hotel you could be staying at soon.

We also like Hotels.com who offer an excellent user friendly website, good service, and a good loyalty program where you get a free night for every 10 nights you book through them.

Travel Unpacked is supported financially by affiliate links. This means that, should you click on a link to a hotel or airline website, for example, we receive a small commission. The price that you pay is not affected by this. Find out more about this on our About page.

"These links are recommended because I use them myself. They are easy to use sites, offer excellent service, and are sites that I would suggest to my friends and family if they asked."

Christopher Jubb, Travel Unpacked Founder

Air BnB

 

There are quite a few options on Air BnB, so it's worth checking what they have available, especially if you are after a self-contained apartment, which can be convenient for an extended stay or if you have a large party to cater for.

Backpackers in Darwin

 

There are up to a dozen hostel accommodation options in Darwin with everything from a cheap and simple room in a dorm to a place with a party atmosphere, and many located in the city centre.

Take a look at this list for a guide to all the options: -hostelz.com/hostels/Australia/Northern-Territory/Darwin

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Caravan Park, Darwin © Tourism NT

Caravan Parks in Darwin

 

Many people like to bring their caravan or tent with them whilst traveling across Australia and through the Northern Territory. If you are planning on joining them, there are many options. None are located close to the city centre, but with your car, this lack of access on foot won't be a problem - parking in the city centre or at attractions is straight forward.

Camping in areas around Darwin, such as in National Parks, is a must do experience. This link will give you a lot of answers to questions around any type of camping or caravan parks near Darwin: -

northernterritory.com/darwin-and-surrounds/see-and-do/outdoor-activities/camping

Caravan parks near Darwin include the following options, in order by distance from Darwin city centre: -

  • Discovery Parks Darwin has a selection of cabin options in addition to powered sites. This park is simple, clean and tidy.

  • Hidden Valley Holiday Park also has a selection of cabins, villas and powered sites. Plenty of greenery and shape on this site.

  • Darwin FreeSpirit Resort is large site with cabins and powered sites. This one is also clean, tidy and with a decent pool.

  • Big4 Howard Springs is a little out of town, but it has the usual level of facilities you would expect from a Big4, including a splash pool and excellent swimming pool.

  • Oasis Tourist Park is a smaller and quieter option with cabins, powered and unpowered sites available in a lush and green landscape.

Need the detailed information? Go to the third page of our guide for all the 'Essential info' like getting around, food, shopping, and much more.

Or go back to page 1 to discover all the 'Things to do'.

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AUTHORED BY

Christopher Jubb, Founder of Travel Unpacked

More information available on our About page

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