Visiting Darwin during wet season should be on the bucket list for all Aussies. There are so many Darwin things to see and do.
The Northern Territory is home to some of the natural wonders of Australia, including Kakadu and magnetic termite hills that have to be seen to be believed.
Like many parts of the top end of Australia, Darwin has two very distinct seasons — wet and dry — with wet season falling in the warmer months and dry in the cooler. During wet season, mornings are clear and sunny, followed by occasional thunderstorms in the evening. The average temperatures hover between the mid 20s and 30s. Sounds like lovely weather to access some of the country’s most popular sights right?
Data from the Tourism NT shows visitor numbers actually tend to drop during the wet season meaning prices are normally cheaper and popular attractions less crowded. Dry or wet season, Darwin is one part of Australia you simply cannot miss!
10 Things to do in Darwin this Wet Season
1. Visit Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu National Park, while beautiful year round, is a sight to behold during the wet season. Heavy rain brings once barren waterfalls to life, but can mean some remote areas of the park you may only be able to access in the cooler months. Keep an eye on the local council website or Tourism NT for more info about closures.
For those staying in Darwin, the trip to the Kakadu National Park by car is around 90 minutes. However, you will have to time your visit to ensure you don’t get stuck in some bad weather on the way home. It is for this reason wet season tours are very popular.
If you do want to stay closer and perhaps see one of the stunning lightening shows for yourself, there is accommodation available in the park with easy access. You can camp, stay in and lodge or even a resort depending on your preference. It is important to note, access to the park can change regularly so it’s always best to check travel information before you embark on your trip.
2. Explore Darwin City.
There is plenty to see and do in the heart of Darwin. From cafés and restaurants to speciality stores, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this spectacular city. Take a stroll along Smith Street and browse the outdoor malls, then stop for lunch at Raintree Park, one of the region’s oldest. In the afternoon, visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and marvel at some of the historic Aboriginal art from the region.
After that, head to the water front and take a dip in the lagoon or Nightcliff Pool. Both are open till dusk with access to the public.
For evening entertainment, there is no better place than Mitchell Street. Just one street over from Smith Street this area is known to locals as the entertainment precinct of Darwin. From cinemas and live shows to pubs and clubs it’s a great place to end your day exploring all the city has to offer.
If you’re after a quieter option, the Trailer Boat Club, Darwin’s oldest seaside club, has won multiple awards for their delicious food. Head there on the weekend and they may even have some local live music for you to enjoy.
3. Visit East Point Reserve.
Only 12 minutes by car from the CBD, East Point Reserve is a must-do for those visiting the Top End. Once the site of naval and anti-aircraft guns during World War II, the reserve is now Darwin’s largest park, with plenty to keep the whole family entertained for hours.
You can swim year-round in Lake Alexander, learn about Australian history, walk or ride some of the many trails or simply enjoy the sunset from Dudley Point. Did we mention the recreation area is full of playgrounds with access to shaded picnic spots so you can escape the heat?
4. Relax at a Darwin Waterfront Precinct.
Before 2009, now Darwin Waterfront Precinct area was nothing more than a building site. In 2009, Darwin began opening up the area, hoping it would soon become the tourism, dining and business hub of the city — and it did.
Now, more than 10 years on the area is home to some of Darwin’s greatest man-made attractions. There is a wave lagoon, recreational lagoon, parklands and so many more tourism experiences available, including year-round fishing off Stokes Hill Wharf.
The fun doesn’t stop come night either. Head to Hill Wharf and enjoy an alfresco dinning experience like no other while watching a beautiful sunset over Darwin Harbour. Alternatively, give one of the local traditions a try, watching one of the region’s famous lightning storms roll in over the ocean from one of the many waterfront restaurants at the precinct.
5. Browse Rapid Creek Markets.
Rapid Creek Markets are Darwin’s longest running markets, running every Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7am to 2pm, in the dry season and wet season. Located in Northern Darwin, with access from Trower Road, just 20 minutes from the CBD, these markets are filled with everything from fresh produce to international cuisine.
Don’t have a car? No problem! The Rapid Creek Markets are right on the bus line, so you’ll have no problem trying to access the markets using public transport.
6. Embark on a river cruise.
A river cruise is a must do if you really want to experience Darwin. The wet season is the best time to visit many of the Northern Territory’s national parks as the monsoonal rains bring the parks to life, with the best way to experience and access this from the water.
A river tour is the only way to access some of the off limits parts of the region, not to mention it’s one of the only ways to see a crocodile safely in wild. Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise is the only Aboriginal-owned cruise on the Adelaide River, so you’ll gain insight into the history of the region like never before.
7. Katherine Gorge.
Katherine Gorge is one of the natural wonders of the top end. Try to avoid the gorge in January as it is typically the wettest month of the season and the area has been known to flood. Sometimes this does hinder access to the park, so it is recommended to travel with one of the many tours operating during the season. Keep any eye on the latest news for more information on park closures and possible access restrictions.
If you do head to Katherine Gorge, taking a look at Twin Falls is a must! Access to the falls is via a shuttle boat only, followed by a short walk. On the way you’ll encounter plenty of gorgeous wildlife, including rare plant and animal species native to the Katherine River region.
8. Visit the magnetic termite mounds.
The magnetic termite mounds at Litchfield National Park are a spectacular sight only seen in the northern parts of Australia. These mounds are up to 100 years old and seem to defy gravity with some standing over 4m tall!
Litchfield National Park is 120km south of Darwin CBD and can be easily accessed by car. However, due to the nature of the weather in the wet season, it is recommended you plan ahead.
For those without access to a car, jump on a tour bus. There are a plethora of tours exploring the national parks in Northern Territory, with many of them including Litchfield.
9. Tour national parks by air.
There is nothing more magical than seeing the Northern Territory after heavy rains from the air.
From the comfort of a helicopter or small plane, get a birds-eye view of some of the region’s most spectacular waterfalls, including Twin Falls and Edith Falls. The best part is, you’ll get a closer look at some of the Top End’s natural waterholes, which you can not access via foot.
A scenic flight really is a must-do in the wet season in the Northern Territory.
10. Go fishing.
Arguably one of the best parts of wet season is the fishing. The swollen rivers and billabongs begin to thrive, bringing an abundance of fish to the region. According to locals, mangrove creeks in Darwin Harbour are one of the top spots to access and catch fresh barramundi.
Another great place to fish is off Hill Wharf. The best part is, even if you don’t catch a fish, you can grab some food from the wharf’s own restaurant and watch the sunset over Darwin Harbour. Darwin gives you access to some of the best fishing spots in Australia.
Frequently Asked Questions About Darwin’s Wet Season
When is wet season in Darwin?
Wet season runs in Darwin from November to April. However, the wettest months are traditionally January to March each year.
What is wet season?
Darwin has very distinct seasons known as wet season and dry season. During wet season, most of the year’s rain will fall, so much so that flooding is not uncommon. Whereas dry season often sees little to no rain with beautiful sunny days and cool nights.
What is closed during the wet season in the Northern Territory?
Some parks and attractions in the Northern Territory may experience temporary or intermittent closures between the months of November and April. These closures are largely caused by flooding and impact access to remote areas of the Top End.
Sometimes, access to natural attractions like Katherine Gorge may also be impacted. For these reasons it is recommended tourists travel with touring groups during the wet season.
Some other attractions, like Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, are also closed during the wet season. However, there are still plenty of things to see and do in the Top End of Australia between November and April.
How hot does it get in Darwin?
Temperatures in the Darwin, Australia do not differ too greatly between the dry and wet season. During the wet season, average temperatures range between 25°C and 35°C with high humidity. Similarly in dry season, temperatures normally range between 20°C and 33°C with less humidity.
Where can you fish in Darwin?
Darwin is home to some of the greatest fishing spots in Australia. However, fishing is not permitted everywhere. Here are some places you can fish in Darwin:
Cullen Bay Pontoon. Note there is strictly no fishing inside the bay.
What should I pack for wet season in Darwin?
If you’re looking to travel to the Top End during the wet season, you’ll need to pack accordingly. We’d recommend taking summer clothes, a light rain coat and rain boots, plus plenty of sun protection.
Can you drive from Darwin to Kakadu National park?
Yes, you can access Kakadu National Park via car. To travel from Darwin CBD to the entrance of the national park is roughly 90 minutes. From there, it is another 60 minutes to the main township of Jabiru.
Use Localsearch.com.au to find the fastest access to a cold beer after your Darwin wet season tour!