The best things to do around Darwin revolve around enjoying the glorious outdoors. You don’t have to head out of town to the awe-inspiring Litchfield National Park, or a weekend camping trip to Kakadu to experience the natural wonders. Within a hop, skip and a jump away from the CBD, there are tons of options. These are three of my favourite kid-friendly spots to explore that are close to town where you’ll feel like you are miles away from it all.
By Libby Larsen
Easy Hikes for Little Explorers
Darwin families love East Point Reserve. It’s conveniently located within a cooee away from the CBD. It has sweeping views over the harbour to the city, an excellent network of walking and cycling tracks as well as a kids playground, a museum, shady picnic areas, a lake, and to top it off one of Darwin’s finest Troppo Architect award winning restaurants. There’s also a large expanse of native bushland which is home to a huge range of our native critters. Keep your eyes peeled for the resident wallabies!
There are some lovely little walks in the reserve. Our favourite is the Mangrove Walk. The last bit of the walk is the highlight – a raised platform takes you through the middle of the mangroves and out to the harbour. On a high tide the water laps at your feet just below the platform. It’s pretty cool.
East Point Reserve Mangrove Walk
Mangrove Walk at East Point Reserve in Darwin
East Point Reserve Mangrove Walk
Mangroves at East Point Reserve, Darwin
Fogg Dam, anyone? This is somewhere we take our interstate visitors who don’t have the time to get out to see the wetlands and birdlife at Kakadu National Park. Every time we go, I always leave saying we should visit more often because it’s so close to Darwin, being around 40 minutes drive and it’s one of those places that is beautiful all year round.
I’m always impressed with how many birds we see. It’s pure heaven for twitchers. So bring your binoculars. There are a couple of really nice walking tracks – the Monsoon Forest Walk and the and the Woodlands to Waterlily Walk, which are totally under rated in my book. They are both easy being around 2km return. Make sure you check out the Pandanus Look Out as well.
Fogg Dam Walk
Walk at Fogg Dam, Northern Territory
Fogg Dam, Northern Territory
And then there’s Howard Springs, which is under 30km from Darwin. A little stroll through the rainforest to the springs that feed the waterhole is well worth it. I’ve read that you can hand feed the barra and turtles, but have never done that. The Howard Creek Walk, like the name suggests, meanders along Howard Creek. Try and spot the Water Monitors lurking around the waterhole. Combine these little walks with some time at the nature-based playground that has a cool flying fox that my boys love and a splash in the shady man-made rock pools which are ideal for toddlers and you’ll have a winning, family friendly outing.
Howard Springs Nature Park walk
Howard Springs Nature Park, Northern Territory
Down the road from the water sliding action at the Leanyer Recreation Park you’ll find Holmes Jungle – a tranquil Top End monsoonal rainforest refuge that’s home to loads of local critters, plus a couple of easy walks. Being around 30 to 40 minutes return, they are ideal for mini hikers and their parents.
Holmes Jungle, Darwin
Walking tracks at Holmes Jungle, Darwin, Northern Territory
Holmes Jungle Walks
Woodlands Walk at Holmes Jungle, Darwin, Northern Territory
So, pack the scroggin and happy hiking!
Libby Larsen – Growing up Troppo
Growing up Troppo provides honest travel advice tips and inspiration from parents about special and unique places to stay, play and eat with kids that parents love too! Travel is and has always been, Libby’s passion and she believes this shouldn’t stop when you have kids. Libby has published in Holidays With Kids Magazine and writes a monthly column for Off The Leash – the Darwin Entertainment Guide and is the Northern Territory “Experience Expert” for Experience Oz + NZ.