Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and is often a starting point for visiting the nearby national parks and reserves in the region. We told you all about Things to Do in Darwin in our last blog post and now we are going to feature some of the more remote holiday spots near Darwin and the Top End. In previous posts, we featured three of the largest national parks that are located near Darwin: Nitmiluk National Park , Litchfield National park, and Kakadu National Park. This post will feature some of the top outdoor holiday spots in the Top end including Charles Darwin National Park, Djukbinj National Park, Howard Springs Hunting Reserve, Howard Springs Nature Park, and Mary River National Park.

Sunset - Mount Bundy Station

Sunset at Mount Bundy Station Photo Credit: TourismTopEnd.com.au

Mary River Boating

Boating on the Mary River Photo Credit: MaryRiverPark.com.au

Darwin Map

Map of Darwin Surrounds Photo Credit: Google Maps

Hiring a Car in Darwin, Northern Territory

Darwin Car Hire Map

Darwin Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

Darwin Google Maps

Darwin Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

There are two places you can hire a car in Darwin. You can rent a 4WD vehicle at the Darwin Airport, or hire an all-terrain vehicle in Darwin City. Since the Northern Territory is so rugged and remote, we have some rules in place for your safety so it is important to plan your trip after dawn or well before dusk because driving outside the Darwin city limits is not allowed between dusk and dawn. Consult with your car rental agent about your travel plans so that we can help you make the most out of your Top End holiday. Use the convenient quote tool to get a great low rate quote for renting a car in Darwin.

Places to Visit near Darwin for the Great Outdoors

Berry Springs

Berry Springs Photo Credit: TourismTopEnd.com.au

Rufous Owl

Rufous Owl Photo Credit: MaryRiverPark.com.au

Australia’s Top End is the far north section of the Northern Territory. It is rugged and remote and filled with prime vacation spots if you love the great outdoors. This post will feature some of the top outdoor holiday locations in the Top End of Australia. Our post today features: Charles Darwin National Park, Djukbinj National Park, Howard Springs Hunting Reserve, Howard Springs Nature Park, and Mary River National Park.

Charles Darwin National Park

Charles Darwin National Park

Charles Darwin National Park Lookout Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Charles Darwin National Park Map

Charles Darwin National Park Map Photo Credit: TravelNT.com

Just 4 kilometres south of Darwin is Charles Darwin National Park. It is home to a seemingly strange mix because it protects one of the most significant wetland areas in Australia and important woodlands. It is also rich with history for both local indigenous people and WWII relics. During WWII, this area was one of Australia’s defence strongholds. The ammunition and storage bunkers build in 1944 still stand today and are filled with memorabilia and information so that you can learn how important Darwin was during the Pacific War. One of the bunkers is a welcome centre. Long before becoming a WWII base, this region was home to the indigenous people. Evidence of them living here dates back for thousands of years. The park is situated on Frances Bay and overlooks the city of Darwin and Darwin Harbour. There are many walking and biking trails throughout the park. One of the most popular activities is having a picnic lunch overlooking the view of the city and the harbour.

Djukbinj National Park

Djukbinj National Park

Djukbinj National Park Photo Credit: TravelNT.com

kangaroos

Kangaroos in Djukbinj National Park Photo Credit: TravelNT.com

Djukbinj National Park is a little over an hour drive from Darwin, it is 59 kilometres east along the Arnhem Highway. It is part of the Marrakai floodplains as the park contains part of the catchment from the Adelaide River. It is an interesting place to visit because it is one of the few areas that has an abundance of water all year long, even in the dry season. The water attracts waterbirds, magpie geese, egrets, and brolgas as well as other animals that you can see when visiting the park.

Howard Springs Hunting Reserve and Howard Springs Nature Park

Howard Springs

Howard Springs Nature Park Photo Credit: ParksandWildlife.nt.gov.au

Howard Springs Nature Park

Howard Springs Nature Park Photo Credit: ParksandWildlife.nt.gov.au

Howard Springs Nature Park is 283 hectares and is just a short drive from Darwin adjacent to Darwin’s sister city, Palmerston. The nature park is a great escape to the peaceful outdoors where you can walk the trails, relax, and experience being close to the wildlife that inhabits the park like the turtles and the barramundi fish. Bring a picnic lunch or have a barbeque in the park to make your visit. Next to Howard Springs Nature Park is Howard Springs Hunting Reserve. The reserve protects a large area around the Howard River. The Larrakia people speak for this land and it is an area of cultural significance for their people. The reserve status protects their land as well as the forest and woodlands in the park. During the hunting season, the hunting of ducks and magpie geese is allowed.

Mary River National Park

Mary River Nature Park

Mary River from Couzens Lookout Photo Credit: ParksandWildlife.nt.gov.au

Mary River Crocodile

Crocodile on the Mary River Photo Credit: ParksandWildlife.nt.gov.au

Mary River Fishing

Fishing on the Mary River Photo Credit: ParksandWildlife.nt.gov.au

Mary River National Park is about 100 kilometres east of Darwin. It is one of the most popular destinations for holiday goers visiting Darwin and surrounds or the Top End. Visitors to the park like to go fishing, hiking, bush walking or partake in wildlife watching or photography. The park is made up of 13 different areas:

  • Alligator Lagoon Conservation Area
  • Annaburroo Delta Block Conservation Area
  • Boggy Springs Conservation Area
  • Jimmy’s Creek Conservation Area
  • Mary River Conservation Reserve
  • Mary River Crossing Conservation Area
  • McKinlay River Conservation Area
  • Opium Creek Conservation Area
  • Point Stuart Coastal Reserve
  • Shady Camp Conservation Area
  • Stuarts Tree Historical Reserve
  • Swim Creek Conservation Area
  • Wildman River Conservation Area

If you want to stay in Mary River National Park, there are several different accommodation options from resorts to camping. You don’t have to go it alone either, wildlife-spotting cruises, fishing charters, bird watching tours, four-wheel drive tours, and camping adventures are all available. In addition to the Mary River, the park has freshwater billabongs, a paperbark forest, and a monsoon forest. The park is accessible all year-round.