Ultimate Guide to the Best Darwin Tours & Darwin to Kakadu Tours

Ultimate Guide to the Best Darwin Tours & Darwin to Kakadu Tours


Darwin is the buzzing capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. It is centrally located at the northern tip of Australia and offers a tropical climate. It is the ancestral home of Larrakia people and close to multiple national parks; most notably Kakadu, which is two hours east of the city. With so much to learn and see nearby, this article will help you discover the best Darwin tours and the Darwin to Kakadu tours offered.

Darwin is Australia’s gateway to Southeast Asia and has long held trading routes, helping shape the vibrant culture this capital holds. It has beautiful beaches to explore and weekly markets offering food and merchandise. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the Larrakia people and other indigenous people at the various art galleries and museums in the city. 

Try some of the numerous delicious restaurants in the city and stroll through the gorgeous George Brown Darwin Botanical Gardens. With ferries running to Mandorah and the Tiwi Islands the excitement continues on day trips from Darwin to the neighbouring edges. If the city isn’t your scene, there are amazing parks to discover within arms reach, including the extraordinary Kakadu National Park.

Filled with the mighty saltwater crocs, stunning birdlife and breath taking wetlands there really is no place quite like Kakadu. Enjoy endless hikes and see the magnificent indigenous rock art first-hand. Get lost in the beauty of waterfalls as you swim in the pools below. There are so many options for traversing Kakadu. You can go on thrilling 4WD tours, cruise down the rivers or take in the scenes from above. However you choose to explore, there are Kakadu National Park tours to fit your style.

Darwin and Kakadu have lovely people, a tropical climate to bask in the sun, and a strong appreciation for the NT environment, making it the perfect place for your next holiday in Australia.

Best Darwin tours and Darwin to Kakadu tours
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Day trips from Darwin

Darwin Sights

See all the city has to offer with this Darwin City tour. This half-day tour starts at the Mantra on the Esplanade Hotel at 8:30am. Once all settled in the air conditioned coach, the experienced driver guide will begin the exciting tour filled with art and history. You are returned to the same hotel as the departure around 1pm. 

There are multiple stops planned throughout the Northern Territory capital city, sure to hit all the must-see lists. Stops include; the Darwin Aviation Museum, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the Darwin City Botanic Gardens. The tour is filled with history, wild-life and art. Be sure to dress for the weather and don’t forget your water, so you enjoy your morning exploring Darwin, Australia

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Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise

Best Darwin tours

Cap-off a tremendous day in Darwin City with a lovely evening cruise through the city’s bay areas. This two and a half hour cruise is for all ages, and includes a three course buffet-style dinner service, featuring delicious Australian seafood and carefully picked local produce. The boat features a stunning sun deck, as well as an air-conditioned main deck. Throughout the journey, there is commentary detailing the route and the city.

The cruise departs promptly at 17:30pm from Dock 3, Stokes Hill Wharf. Ensure to arrive thirty minutes prior to departure as crew members begin boarding under the large white umbrellas. Unfortunately, this tour of Darwin is not wheelchair accessible. 

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Crocosaurus Cove Ticket

best Darwin tours

The home for all things Australian reptiles. Open from 9am to 6pm daily, this attraction is for all-ages. The Cove features a 200,000 litre freshwater aquarium, over seventy Australian reptiles on display, and ten educational shows. 

Be sure to get the schedule beforehand because you don’t want to miss out on the Big Croc Feed show or any other interactive segments. Pack your swimsuit if you are interested in taking a swim with the baby crocs or in the Cage of Death with the world’s largest reptile. A truly Australian experience you need to visit this Darwin gem!

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Darwin Big Bus Open Top Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Who doesn’t love a double-decker bus tour in Australia? Navigating Darwin is a breeze with the flexibility provided by the Big Bus Open Top Tour. Be entertained by the commentary as you traverse the Northern Territory capital and learn about the history and indigenous art throughout. 

The red route takes you all over the city stopping at museums, Crocosaurus Cove, the Botanic Gardens, wharfs and local markets. In the afternoon, there is a blue route segment that branches off the standard route to include the Military Museum on the tour. 

Purchase tickets valid for either one day or two and enjoy choosing where you’d like to spend your time with the hop-on-hop-off function. The first bus departs from the Tourist Info Centre (corner of Smith and Bennett) at 9am and runs in 35 minute intervals. The afternoon buses begin at 12:30pm and run in 45 minute intervals, with the last bus departing at 4:15pm. Children under the age of five are free. 

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Big Croc Feed Experience and Tour

This experience offers you a more in-depth adventure at Crocosaurus Cove. With this premium ticket you receive a professional guide, VIP access to various exhibits and even get to participate in the adult crocodile feeding. Also included is a photo-op with a baby croc and a souvenir water bottle. 

It is advised to bring a change of clothes as feedings and pictures can include splashes! Children ages four to ten must wear life jackets and harnesses while participating in feedings and certain exhibits. Ensure to meet at each VIP location ten minutes before each experience. The Crocosaurus Cove is open 9am – 6pm each day in the heart of Darwin City

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Jumping Crocs and Nature Tour

Best Darwin tours Australia

Take a ride down the Adelaide River on this half-day tour that includes round-trip transportation from the Mantra on the Esplanade Hotel in Darwin City NT. Departing at 1:30pm, you’ll relax on the air-conditioned coach for a scenic drive for just short of an hour. Informational commentary is provided along the route and soon you reach the destination where your boat awaits to take you on an exciting expedition down the Adelaide River home to over 1600 crocs. 

Your wildlife expert provides fantastic educational content on the biology of the crocodiles and surrounding wetlands. You’ll have a front row seat to watch a crew member feed the crocs, attracting huge reptiles and guaranteeing great photo opportunities. Be sure to dress for the weather as the bus returns to the same hotel around 6:30pm.

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Cage of Death Ticket

The ultimate upgrade to your Crocosaurus Cove trip, and, what will probably be the highlight of your time in Darwin, Australia. Yourself and one lucky partner will descend in a cylindrical tube, offering you a 360 degree view of the saltwater tank housing some of the deadliest reptiles. 

Fear not, you are completely safe in this transparent tube and are able to stand up to put your head above water. You’ll spend 15 minutes in the tank observing the great Australian Saltwater Croc, even witnessing it’s snack-time as the professional handlers feed the reptile. 

While you may only have been swimming with the croc for 15 minutes, you’ll have photos to last a lifetime. The ticket includes a souvenir picture of your time with the massive croc. You will be supplied goggles for the swim, however pack your own swimsuit and towel for the dip.

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Return Ferry from Darwin to Mandorah

A perfect switch-up from the city scene, take a short excursion from Cullen Bay Ferry Terminal to the sandy shores of Mandorah. This beautiful small town is the perfect escape from the city-scapes of Darwin City. Spend the day on the beach relaxing or casting a line, you won’t regret it.

After your time in the sunshine, catch the return ferry and stretch out for the short 15 minute crossing to Darwin. Remember to pack for the weather, and keep an eye on the 20kg baggage weight limit. 

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Best Darwin to Kakadu Tours

Kakadu and East Alligator River


A thrilling two day expedition that takes you from Darwin City Australia to the neighbouring National Park, Kakadu. It is an early departure on the first day, leaving Darwin at 6:30am before hitting the road towards Kakadu. Along the way you’ll learn about the beautiful landscapes, wildlife and indigenous rock art, as well as, a visit to the Warradjan Cultural Centre. 

From there you’ll hop on the Yellow Water Billabong Cruise led by your local guide, guaranteed to see a croc. Lunch is included on both days, so you don’t have to worry about packing one with you. After the cruise, you’ll retire to the lovely Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, cost of which is included in the tour price. 

On the second day, you’ll visit the World Heritage Area of Ubirr. Climb up through indigenous rock art, that is 20,000 years old and enjoy the view of the wetlands from above. Next, is the Guluyambi Cruise on the East Alligator river. Learn about the river ecosystem and local mythology surrounding this stunning river. During the cruise, you’ll make a stop at the Arnhem Land, permission to visit is granted to this tour group. 

As you drive back to the NT capital city, there will be a visit to the Marrawuddi Art Gallery. After this, sit back, relax and perhaps take a nap after the whirlwind of the last couple days. This tour includes Kakadu National Park admission fees, hotel and two lunches. 

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Kakadu and Arnhem Land


A stellar tour to explore the protected Arnhem Land. The two day trip includes Kakadu National park admission, a night at the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel and two lunches. After departing Darwin, you’ll start the 257km journey East towards Kakadu. 

Along route, stops include the Warradjan Cultural Centre and the rock art gallery at Nourlangie. The main event of the day is the Yellow Water Billabong cruise. As you check into the hotel, you’ll reflect on a day filled with information about indigenous traditions, birdlife and saltwater crocs. 

Rise and shine for day two. Jump into your four wheel drive for the day and head into Arnhem Land and Mikinj Valley. Be stunned by the sandstone outcrops, escarpments forests and floodplains. Your indigenous guide will dispense commentary on traditional land ownership, art and bush skills. From one thrilling ride, to the next… the bus ride home. While less stimulating than the adventures of the last two days, it’s a great chance to catch up on some much needed rest time. You’ll be back in Darwin City around 7:30pm. 

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Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets

This five day expedition goes beyond a Kakadu tour and includes Katherine, and Nitmiluk and Litchfield National Parks. Four nights of accommodation, all meals and entry tickets to three national parks are included in the tour. 

Day one departs Darwin City and heads towards Mary River. Here, you’ll enjoy a four wheel drive journey to Litchfield National Park, stopping to swim at Florence and Wangi falls. Absorb the beauty of the rainforest before leaving to start your journey across the Marrakai track to arrive at your evenings lodging. Day two has you leaving Mary River and going to Kakadu, to enjoy a Yellow Water Billabong cruise and see some crocs in the wild. 

Day three takes you to Katherine where you’ll be staying for two nights in Nitmiluk National Park. Wake up on day four with a special didgeridoo performance before trying your hand at rarrk painting. Spend your evening on a peaceful Katherine River cruise. You’ll be in awe of the red gorges and wildlife as you enjoy your candlelit, three course meal aboard the boat. 

Day five has you leaving Katherine and heading back to the city. You’ll stop along route for a dip in Edith Falls, and to visit the Adelaide River War Cemetery to learn about its role in WWII. Your epic five day tour ends here, having you back to Darwin NT by 8pm. 

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Kakadu and Tiwi Islands Explorer


A jam-packed three day tour filled with various cruises. The tour departs early from Darwin City Australia to drive to Kakadu National Park. Commentary throughout the drive will keep you informed about all the gorgeous landscapes, wildlife and rock art you see. After a stop at the Warradjan Cultural Centre, you’ll head towards your awaiting, locally guided, cruise along the Yellow Water Billabong.

Day two offers a visit to the World Heritage Area of Ubirr. With your guide, you will walk through indigenous rock art that’s thousands of years old and enjoy the perfect lookout over the wetlands below. For the second boat of your trip, hop on the Guluyambi Cruise along the East Alligator river. Learn about the river ecosystem, local mythology and make a special stop at Arnhem Land. The tour returns to Darwin for the hotel accommodation.

On the third and final day, you have the third and final cruise. This two and a half hour cruise takes you from Darwin City to one of the Tiwi Islands, Bathurst Island. This is a great opportunity to learn some indigenous history and enjoy the culture. Stroll through the community of Wurrumiyanga, check out the museum and take part in weaving and painting with the local women. You’ll observe totem dances, a smoking ceremony and try some billy tea.

After a day in the community, board the returning cruise at 3:15pm, to return to Darwin by 5:45pm. National Park admission fees, two nights accommodation and two lunches are included in the price. 

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Kakadu National Park Explorer

This full day tour is crammed with lots of great activities, sure to get the most out of your time. Leaving at the crack of dawn, cruise along the Arnhem highway soaking in the beauty of the Marrakai Plains. Detour to the Warradjan Cultural Centre before heading to the river cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong. Your local guide will educate you on all the crocs, and wildlife around you.

Lunch is served at Cooinda Lodge, and with full stomachs you’ll head to Nourlangie to see the incredible indigenous rock art, dated to up to 50,000 years ago. Now this is where the thrills really start if you opt in to the 50 minute scenic flight over the Kakadu escarpment. Touring the National Park from above is an experience you’ll remember forever. From the skies, back to the highway, it’s time to return to Darwin with all the new memories. 

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Tropical End (May-Oct) and (Nov-April)

Gear up for four days and three national parks full of adventure. On day one, you’ll depart Darwin City to catch the jumping crocodile cruise along the Adelaide River. Get up close and personal as the crew feeds the crocs, issuing a few jumps from the dangerous reptiles. Spend the night in Kakadu.

Best top end tours Darwin to Kakadu, Darwin to Litchfield

Day two begins with a visit to stunning rock art sites and the Warradjan Cultural Centre before boarding the cruise along the Yellow Water Billabong. Another perfect opportunity to spot some crocs, and native birds. The second day ends with a bus journey to Katherine, the rest spot for the night. Day three kicks off in the Nitmiluk National Park with a cruise through the stellar red rocks of Katherine Gorge. From there, venture to Edith Falls and take a dip in this serene place. You’ll drive back to Darwin this evening and prepare for the final day of the tour.

On day four, head to the third and final National Park, Litchfield. Enjoy walking through the breath-taking monsoon forest, and stopping at the coveted Florence and Wangi Falls. As the tour winds down, there is one stop left at Howard Springs Nature Park. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to feed barramundi and turtles. All national park tickets and accommodations are included in the tour price.

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Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks

best Darwin to Kakadu tours

A three day short break full of wildlife, stunning landscapes and indigenous culture. Day one is off to an early start, leaving Darwin at 6:30am. Take in the peaceful wetlands on the drive before your first stop at the Warradjan Cultural Centre. Afterwards you’ll head to the Yellow Water Billabong where you’ll cruise along with the crocs before heading to the evening’s Kakadu National Park accommodation.

On day two, you’ll learn about indigenous art, mythology and culture as you hike and experience the Guluyambi Cruise along East Alligator River. You’ll head back to Darwin at the end of the day and leave the next morning for Litchfield National Park. Day three brings a splendor of waterfalls. Be sure to bring your swimsuit as you’ll have the opportunity to swim in the rock pools of nature’s awe-inspiring falls. One last stop to feed barramundi and turtles at Howard Springs Nature park and then your adventure tour comes to a close as your drive back to Darwin NT

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Kakadu, Arnhem Land, Gunlom Falls

Take an in depth tour of Kakadu National Park on this four day tour. Rise and shine, hope you’re ready for day one. First up, is a stop at the Warradjan Cultural Centre onroute to Kakadu. Then hop aboard for the Yellow Water Billabong cruise and keep your eyes out for the saltwater crocs. Day two is spent driving around on a 4WD through the Arnhem Lands. Your private guide will teach you about ancient rock art, indigenous land ownership and bush skills.

On day three you ride in another 4WD and head towards the legendary Gunlom Falls. Here you can take a dip and soak in the incredible sights and sounds that surround you. You’ll even get a chance to swim in the Ikoymarrwa Rock Pool. The day ends with drinks on a private billabong. The final day of your tour includes one last cruise on the East Alligator River and hiking through rock art in Ubirr. You will return to Darwin City by 7:30pm. 

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Top End Highlights

Kakadu tours

This six day guided vacation explores Australia’s NT with built in free time for your own leisure. Day one is all about exploring Darwin City Australia. Spend the day perusing the city and venture to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. The next couple days are spent in Katherine. Take in the beauty of the Florence Falls as you swim below and cruise through the gorges as you learn about Jawoyn culture. 

Day four has you heading to the gem of the Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park. Take a dip below Edith Falls. Get lost in the wildlife on the Yellow Water Billabong cruise and spot the saltwater crocodiles in the river. The next morning there is an optional flight over the scenic Kakadu wetlands, before heading to the Ubirr rock art galleries. Enjoy a hike before the farewell dinner, as you return to Darwin the next morning. 

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More Northern Territory Tours

Untamed Kimberley

This 11-day guided vacation takes you from Darwin through Halls Creek to Broome. You’ll enjoy this scenic tour of NT Australia by boat, bus and plane.

Wonders of the Kimberley

The sister journey of the tour above, Wonders of the Kimberley offers travellers an 11-day guided vacation starting in Broome ending in Darwin, via Halls Creek. Get lost in the beauty of the Northern Territory on this ultimate adventure.

Outback Adventure

Straight through the heart of Australia, this 15-day tour will take you from Adelaide to Darwin hitting all the jaw-dropping spots along the way.

Outback Safari

Travel the Stuart Highway over the course of 11-days, heading from Ulur̲u to Darwin. Explore the depths of Northern Territory on this unforgettable guided trip.

Outback Tracks

This 19-day tour is full of Australian discovery. Drive up through the centre of the country, heading from Adelaide to Darwin. Your return journey will keep you on your toes, as you ride in style onboard the Ghan Exhibition. 


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