Saturday, March 16, 2013

Darwin Australia Marks Growth as Popular Port of Call

Capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is fast becoming a popular port of call for cruises heading to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Located adjacent to Darwin’s Central Business District, the Fort Hill Wharf terminal welcomed more than 42,000 passengers in the 2011-12 season, representing annual growth of nearly 6 percent. Forty-three ships passed through Darwin last year, including many of the major cruise lines such as Holland America, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, Seaborne, Silversea, Cunard, and Royal Caribbean. The growing and vibrant international city of Darwin is a key regional port for ships whose passengers want to explore more remote areas to fully experience all of the Territory’s offerings from indigenous art and culture to its amazing wild and marine life.

If you go, here are some of Darwin’s main attractions:
Crocodile Country -- This is Australia after all, and Darwin is an ideal place to take a cruise to see jumping crocs, dive with them in the “Cage of Death, or get up close to stuffed ones as large as 16-foot “Sweetheart” at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Tours with local guides -- For an authentic tour of the region, a traditional Larrakia guide takes visitors on an excursion to Darwin’s enormous Harbor along the Esplanade pointing out sites of cultural significance along the way. Below the Esplanade, through a pocket of rainforest is Lameroo Beach where visitors learn of the various marine animal totems of the indigenous Larrakia people.

Defence of Darwin -- The Defence of Darwin Experience is the first facility in Australia to provide visitors with an immersive, interactive, multimedia experience that is dedicated to the period 1932 to 1945, a very important time in Territory history. The commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin and provides an opportunity for visitors to understand the impact of the war on Darwin and its inhabitants, both civilian and military.
Beyond Darwin, popular tour destinations include:
KAKADU & LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARKS -- There are two world-class national parks in the Top End of the Territory that are ideal for exploring the region’s natural beauty. Litchfield National Park offers waterfalls, waterholes, bushwalks, four wheel drive tracks as well as bird and wildlife. Listed as a World Heritage site for its cultural and natural values, Kakadu is accessible by road and air with a range of tours from one day or longer.

KATHERINE -- As the gateway to nature and adventure, the Katherine region extends from the Gulf of Carpentaria near the Queensland border towards the Kimberley in the west. One of the most popular activities here is to cruise, canoe, bushwalk or fly over the magnificent Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park or soak in Mataranka’s thermal pools. Katherine can be explored on tours from Darwin, as a whistle-stop tour on The Ghan train journey, or as a self-drive destination.

ARNHEM LAND & TIWI ISLANDS -- From Darwin, visitors can take day trips to experience the Polynesian-influenced Tiwi people and the indigenous people of Arnhem Land just across the water. Both the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land are particularly appealing for blue water fishing enthusiats. Arnhem Land also offers the opportunity to visit indigenous art centers or take tours with local guides to learn about the indigenous culture while exploring the beaches of white sand and azure waters.

ALICE SPRINGS -- Australia’s most famous outback town, Alice Springs offers the opportunity to explore historic sites and see the work of local artists in Aboriginal art galleries. Visitors can also tour the Royal Flying Doctor Service facilities, the world renowned aero-medical service that brings first class health care to people in the most remote areas of the bush.

AYERS ROCK/ULURU -- This is the heart of the Red Centre and is an iconic destination for anyone visiting Australia. In addition to the significant physical and archeological presence this sandstone formation represents, it also holds great cultural significance to its traditional Aboriginal owners. Uluru/Ayers Rock can be experienced from several different vantage points and touring options. Adventure seekers can choose to walk the base, ride a camel or even tour Uluru on the back of a motorcycle. Those who seek an aerial view can do so by various helicopter tours.
Triple the size of California, Australia’s Northern Territory encompasses almost one sixth of the country’s total land mass and is home to the legendary Outback with its diverse Aboriginal culture, incredible natural landscapes, and unique wildlife. From the awe-inspiring Red Centre icons of Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon to the Top End’s adventure and wildlife destinations of Katherine Gorge and Kakadu National Park, Australia’s Northern Territory is a dramatic, beautiful cultural destination. For more information on travel to Australia’s Northern Territory, visit

Image Courtesy of Australia’s Northern Territory


Ella rich said...

Uluru has a number of shallow caves, generally called wind caves as they are only a few metres deep. Some of these contain Aboriginal paintings. These used to be on show, but I'm unsure of the situation now. The rock itself is completely solid, no deep caves or underground areas, so nothing inside except rock.
I have climbed the Rock 3 times and have been inside the caves - when they were open to the public. .You can still walk around it, take photos, get up close but its rare these days that you can actually climb it.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

It sounds very interesting, Ella. Thanks for sharing.

Best, Linda