Weekend trips from Darwin: 4 unique ideas

Whether you’re a true Darwin local or a visitor on holiday to the Top End, it’s always a great idea to get away from the city for a couple of days. Explore the lush national parks – including Kakadu and Litchfield – go camping and relax in the bush or take a hiking trip through the stunning nature. The Northern Territory’s quirky capital is blessed with lots of opportunity for weekend getaways – you just have to know where to go. In this article, we offer four great ideas for unique weekend trips from Darwin. 

landscape view of darwin in the NT

East Point Reserve is Darwin’s largest park area.

Time for a weekend escape from Darwin

Beautiful Darwin has got it all. Shining bright with its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, the city boasts plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and relaxation.

But regardless of how lovable and liveable the city really is, sometimes it’s just time to escape. Whether you’re a Darwin local or a visitor looking to explore the region, if you don’t get out once in a while and explore the Northern Territory, you’re totally missing out.

The Northern Territory is one of the most ethereal and awe-inspiring places in the world. Plus, dubbed the ‘real Australia’ by many, it shines with a true Australian spirit, whilst boasting some of the oldest cultures in the world.

Home to some world-class national parks where bright orange rocks sizzle under the hot Aussie sun, and where winding rivers are packed with crocodiles, the great Northern Territory awaits all kinds of travellers.

4 weekend trips from Darwin

Already been to Litchfield National Park? Love Kakadu National Park, but looking for some place new to visit? Read on to discover four unique weekend trips from Darwin.

Katherine 2 hours from Darwin

Experience true Outback life in Katherine

Located just a little over three hours from Darwin, Katherine is best recognised as the quaint and friendly entrance to Nitmiluk National Park. A small town known for its remote natural landscapes and opportunity for outdoor activities, Katherine is a fantastic place to witness true Aussie Outback life.

Spend a morning in the town, where you can discover the Katherine Museum; an enchanting historical treasure housed in an authentic World War II air terminal. A vast and diverse array of Aboriginal artifacts, photographs, pioneer memorabilia, maps, tools, and furniture are preserved inside. View the pioneering aviator’s De Havilland Gypsy Moth plane, flown by Dr Clyde Fenton, the first flying doctor to come to Australia’s remote regions in the 1930s.

Seeking a more relaxing weekend trip form Darwin? Spend a morning at Bitter Springs in Elsey National Park where you’ll feel truly at one with nature. These spring-fed thermal pools, amidst palms and tropical woodlands, provide a perfect opportunity to take a dip and unwind.

Most popular within the Katherine region is Nitmiluk National Park. With its towering sandstone cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and rich plant life, Nitmiluk is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. Explore the hidden gems of this park for the day and admire the stunning Butterfly Gorge and Nitmiluk Gorge.

Check in to K Town Hotel and enjoy modern rooms in a central location.

weekend spent in Lake Bennett

Enjoy a weekend trip to Lake Bennett

Located just a short drive from Darwin, Lake Bennett is a tranquil destination nestled amongst the beautifully secluded landscapes of the Northern Territory, making it a peaceful weekend escape option from Darwin.

Lake Bennett is surrounded by lush greenery and is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and picnicking. Visitors also have the option of taking a leisurely stroll along the lake’s shoreline where walking trails guide the way.

Stay for longer at Lake Bennett with the help and hospitality of De Lago Resort. The relaxing hotel includes newly-renovated apartments with lake-views, as well as caravan and camping facilities. Situated here, you’ll only be moments from popular attractions such as Litchfield Park, Berry Springs and the Adelaide River. Plus, a swimming pool directly looking over the clear lake and its isolated surroundings will place you right in heaven!

To book your room at De Lago Resort, click here. 

Tiwi islands near darwin

Pic credit: Tourism NT/Tourism Australia

Learn about Aboriginal culture in the Tiwi Islands

The third of our favourite weekend trips from Darwin is the Tiwi Islands. Perhaps one of the most fascinating places you’ll ever visit in your life, the Tiwi Islands have deep cultural roots, with most of the island residents of Aboriginal descent. Luscious and green, the Tiwi Islands are a far-flung sanctuary which has stayed relatively under the radar when it comes to tourism.

For those who love the outdoors, the Tiwi Islands offer some incredible fishing opportunities. From barramundi to rock cod, you can catch a wide range of fish on these islands. You can join a fishing tour or hire a local fishing guide to get the best experience. Then there’s the beaches. The Tiwi Islands boast some of the best beaches in Australia where soft sand, and crystal-clear waters create magical scenes.

If you’re interested in Aboriginal culture, the Tiwi Islands are a great place to learn about it. The traditional owners of the land are the Tiwi people, who have lived on the islands for thousands of years. You can take guided tours to learn more about the art, customs, and beliefs of the Tiwi people.

For sports enthusiasts, football is a popular sport on the Tiwi Islands. The Tiwi Islands Football League (TIFL) is a local football competition that features some of the best players in the region. You can even catch a game if you’re lucky!

Escape to a remote natural paradise at Tiwi Island Retreat and learn about Aboriginal culture at a pristine marine sanctuary.

Bitter Springs in Mataranka

Enjoy a weekend in beautiful Mataranka

Spend a weekend in beautiful Mataranka, a four hour drive from Darwin. Here’ you’ll discover a quaint and serene town which actually gained worldwide recognition through the novel ‘We of the Never Never’, written about nearby Elsey Station by Jeannie Gunn.

Offering its visitors a sweet little town to explore, as well as a natural, sandy-bottomed thermal pool, Mataranka is a great spot for those hoping to truly escape the city. Inside Mataranka itself, drop into the Stockyard Gallery where an exhibit of local Aboriginal art will help you uncover the history of the region. Pick up an iced coffee and a scone afterwards in the cafe garden.

One of the main highlights of Mataranka is Bitter Springs, located only 2km outside of the town. Nestled within swaying palms  in the beautiful Elsey National Park, Bitter Springs thermal pools are fed by natural springs. Visitors and locals alike adore the idyllic ambiance following a long drive.

More weekend ideas in Darwin

Check out this Ultimate Guide to learn about all the things Darwin has to offer. Browse the guide to get some great inspiration for more weekend trips from Darwin.