Top 6 Free Things To Do in Darwin

There are plenty of great free things to do in Darwin! Here's six of the best free experiences the city has to offer.

Darwin, free events

A trip to Darwin doesn't have to break the bank - there are lots of free attractions and things to do in Darwin. 


Surrounded by National Parks on one side and the ocean on the other, Darwin is a great place to experience the diverse natural landscapes of the Northern Territory. Located at in Australia's Top End, the influence of Darwin's promiximity to Asia is seen in the many of the local eateries. Whether you're looking to browse the local markets, discover art and culture at the museum, or cool off with a swim, there's something for every kind of traveller in Darwin.


In this guide we're sharing the best free things to do in Darwin so you can make the most of your visit.

1. Free Markets in Darwin

There are so many markets in Darwin that showcase local produce, indigenous arts and crafts, live music and delicious food. It's a great way to mix with the locals and doesn't have to cost you a cent unless you want to grab lunch or dinner - even then, the food is relatively cheap and very tasty.


Some great markets to visit in Darwin include the popular Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (Thursday 4-9pm and Sunday 4-9pm, late April to late October), Parap Village Markets (Saturday 8am-2pm) and Rapid Creek Market (Saturday and Sunday 7am-2pm). 

2. George Brown Botanic Gardens

Before it gets too hot, spend a morning wandering through the George Brown Botanic Gardens. Over 130 years old, the gardens have survived cyclones, bushfires and World War II, and contain 450 species of native and tropical plants. Walk through mangroves, woodlands and dunes, and check out the rainforest gully, which has its own waterfall and ponds. 


If you do fancy a quick coffee, visit Eva's Cafe near the entrance to the gardens, housed in a heritage-listed Wesleyan Church - there are plenty of freshly baked treats available and is pet friendly, so be sure to bring along your furry friend for a wholesome bite to eat.

3. Darwin Waterfront

Down by Stoke's Hill Wharf is Darwin's waterfront precinct, a hub for locals and visitors alike. Take a dip at Recreation Lagoon, a safe swimming spot that has a sandy beach perfect for building castles or sunbaking. There's cycle paths and walkways throughout the whole park for you to enjoy.


Being such a local hotspot means there's always free activities happening - tai chi classes, films under the stars, or if you're visiting during school holidays, kids activities like origami making workshops and archery lessons. 


The whole precinct is surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants, so if you do feel like grabbing lunch or dinner, you can easily find a place to suit your budget. Otherwise, pack your own picnic and take advantage of the shady palm trees.

4. Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory

Looking for your dose of culture? Check out the wonderful collection at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory (MAGNT). It's been carefully curated to include the best of both Australian and international travelling exhibits, as well as a permanent collection of art, natural history and science specimens.


The museum is devoted to expanding its large collection of Indigenous art, and is also home to the Cyclone Tracy exhibit, which first opened 40 years ago. The museum is open daily and entry is free.

5. Beaches and Waterways

A day by the water is always a good idea, especially when visiting Darwin where temperatures can be quite warm and humid. There are plenty of swimming spots to choose from, like local favourite Casuarina Beach. A long stretch of sand makes it perfect for a stroll, and it's a great place to watch the sunset. Swimming is fine too, but check the signs - jellyfish and stingers will make an appearance during the wet season. 


Nightcliff Foreshore is another popular area to swim, walk or cycle. There's 7kms of activity along the pathway, from parks, BBQ and picnic areas, excercise stations, historical World War II sites and the lovely Nightcliff Jetty. You've got the beach in front and the mangroves behind.


One of safest spots to swim in Darwin is man-made Lake Alexander, which is free from any stinging sea-life all year round. There's plenty of shade for a picnic, and you're right next door to Fannie Bay, another pretty beach that offers white sand for miles and beautiful sunset views.

6. Child-Friendly Free Things To Do in Darwin

Darwin is a destination that beckons the young and the young-at-heart alike. If you're travelling with your little adventurers, rest assured that there is plenty of free things to do in Darwin with kids.


Begin your family's journey at Leanyer Recreation Park, a water park that promises a splashing good time for kids. With water slides, a splash pad, and a sizeable swimming pool, your children are bound to have a day filled with laughter and excitement. Best of all, entry is absolutely free!


Visit the Territory Wildlife Park where children can enjoy the rich biodiversity of the Northern Territory. Although there is an entry fee for adults and children five and over, children under four years of age can visit at no cost, making this an affordable option for families with younger children.


Finally, round off your day by stargazing at the Darwin Waterfront. As night falls, the sky comes alive with a dazzling display of stars - a magical spectacle that will undoubtedly captivate your little ones. This is not just a journey, but a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences that make for a fun and budget-friendly family holiday in Darwin.

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