Darwin is the capital of the sparsely populated Northern Territory in Australia. The city is small compared to others in the world, but it’s still incredibly diverse and multicultural. It’s also the gateway to some of the most popular attractions in Australia, including the famous Kakadu National Park. And the best areas to stay in Darwin will offer you easy access to this amazing landscape.
For a relatively small city, Darwin has a lot to offer. First and foremost is its diverse range of adventure activities from hiking to climbing and abseiling. But if you enjoy a more relaxed holiday, then you can just sunbathe at the beach and enjoy the outdoor markets.
Darwin was also a vital part of Australia’s WWII defense, and this history can be seen all over the city. And best of all, you’ll find a huge range of Darwin accommodation options when you decide to travel there, from budget to high-end.
So, if you’re struggling to find the best places to stay in Darwin, then look no further. This Darwin neighborhood guide will help you find the most convenient and comfortable places that won’t break your budget.
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Darwin.
Best Airbnb in Darwin: Private Self-Contained Villa close to CBD
This is easily one of the coolest places to stay in Darwin. It offers a self-contained apartment with a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning, and a pool. The apartment is located close to the markets and the beach as well as to the Trailer Boat Club.
So, it’s a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Darwin for nightlife. And as an added bonus, you’ll have the entire guesthouse to yourself during your stay.
Best Hostel in Darwin: Down Under Hostel
This hostel in Darwin is perfectly positioned so that you can explore the city. The owners have recently renovated the common areas, so you can enjoy some time with your fellow travelers in comfort. And the hostel offers free breakfasts, Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities as well as a range of room sizes to suit every travel group.
Best Hotel in Darwin: Rydges Darwin Central
This hotel is in the best area in Darwin to stay in for shopping, eating, and easy access everywhere. It’s close to several popular attractions like the Charles Darwin National Park and Skycity Darwin and offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and private parking. The rooms are comfortable, air-conditioned, and have a seating area, private bathroom, and desk.
Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Darwin for families or with friends, the Central Business District (CBD) is the best choice. It’s right in the heart of the city and close to everything.
If you don’t want to stay in the city center, then look for Darwin accommodation in Larrakeyah. This suburb is west of the city and it was named after the aboriginal group that once lived in this area.
The gardens is located northwest of the City Center and is named after the Botanical Gardens. This neighborhood is on the coast and includes Mindil beach, which is very popular amongst tourists and visitors alike.
Darwin is an ideal place to visit if you enjoy warm weather. There isn’t really a winter in this part of the country, just a wet and dry season with small variations in the temperature. For a capital city, it’s relatively small, with only around 150,000 people living there. And because it’s so small, you’ll be able to explore everything with a minimum of trouble.
But the real attraction of Darwin is the outback. This city gives you access to famous sites like the Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park’s Lost City, or Katherine Gorge. So, the best places in Darwin to stay should offer easy access to tours and transport to these amazing landmarks. Backpacking Darwin is a really unique experience that most people tend to overlook. If you’re a nature lover, then the city is pretty much made for you.
The CBD is the best neighborhood in Darwin to stay in if you want to be close to everything. It offers the best public transport and accommodation options, but it’s not the most attractive part of the city as it’s mostly government buildings and other official structures.
Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Darwin with kids or with friends, the local neighborhood of Larrakeyah is a great choice. It’s closer to the beach and offers a quiet oasis away from the business focus of the center.
The final area to consider is The Gardens. This is a famously green area on the beach with each access to the marina. It’s well connected to other parts of the city and popular amongst tourists. This means you should find it easy to grab transport or a tour into the Australian outback.
Darwin’s 3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Here are some of the best places to stay in Darwin no matter your budget, travel style, or what you want to do and see while you’re in the city.
Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Darwin for families or with friends, the Central Business District (CBD) is the best choice. It’s right in the heart of the city and close to everything. It also contains the best restaurants, shops, and cafes as well as landmark buildings like the Parliament and the House of Government.
But the city center isn’t all concrete jungle. In fact, Darwin is intensely tropical and even the center of the city is almost impossibly green. You’ll find a huge range of parks in the CBD from local neighborhood parks to Botanical Gardens and the beautiful Bicentennial Park.
In fact, Darwin’s CBD is actually one of its least densely populated parts of the city because of the commercial and governmental buildings. But you’ll still find most of the coolest places to stay in Darwin in this area, no matter what your budget is.
Best Airbnb in the CBD: A Stylish, Tropical Room in the Treetops
You don’t have to go out of the city to enjoy nature in Darwin, instead, you can just stay at this apartment. It’s an ideal choice whether you’re deciding where to stay in Darwin for your first time or on a return trip. You’ll enjoy your own private room in the apartment, which is perched above the Park Golf Links for stunning views. It’s also close to bars and shops so you can enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Best Hostel in the CBD: Chilli’s Backpackers
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Darwin on a budget, this is a great choice. It’s located right in the city center and offers dorm, double, and private rooms, suitable for all travel group sizes. The hostel has a sun deck, two spas, and beautiful hanging gardens so you can hang out with your fellow travelers and enjoy the outdoors.
Best Hotel in the CBD: DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin
This hotel in Darwin is perfectly positioned for a short or long trip, close to everything in the city center and to public transport too. It offers a swimming pool, sauna, outdoor pool, and lovely gardens. With each room, you’ll enjoy a minibar, fridge, Wi-Fi, and movies-on-demand as well as comfortable surroundings. And breakfast is served each morning at the hotel as well as at the cafes and restaurants in the immediate area.
Things to See and Do in CBD
- Eat at one of the many outdoor restaurants and enjoy a great meal under the stars.
- Explore some of the most important and oldest buildings like the Parliament, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, and the House of Government.
- Learn more about Darwin’s tropical environment at the George Brown Darwin Botanical Gardens.
- Head out of the city for adventure sports or to see some of the famous wildlife.
- Spend a day on Mindil Beach for sunbathing and watersports.
- Grab your mates and head out to explore the local nightlife.
If you don’t want to stay in the city center, then look for Darwin accommodation in Larrakeyah. This suburb is west of the city and it was named after the Aboriginal Group that once lived in this area. This is a more residential area than the center of the city, so you’ll get a good taste of what everyday life is like in Darwin. It’s also the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Darwin on a budget.
The northern part of Larrakeyah is close to Mendil Beach, which means it contains plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The southern part of the neighborhood is quieter and is mostly for locals.
You’ll also find Cullen Bay close to this neighborhood, which is where the marina is as well as the ferry port. This combination makes Larrakeyah the best neighborhood to stay in Darwin if you want a combination of quiet surroundings and easy access to fun things to do.
Best Airbnb in Larrakeyah: Inner City Darwin Bed and Breakfast
Located in the heart of Larrakeyah, one of Darwin’s best neighborhoods, this B&B is ideal if you want to experience local life. It’s the only traditional B&B in the city and offers all the comforts of home with 3 private rooms of varying sizes. There’s a common verandah, swimming pool, and tropical garden for shared use and the furnishings are comfortable and homey.
Best Hotel in Larrakeyah: Marina View Apartments Darwin
Located in one of Darwin’s best neighborhoods, this accommodation is a real find. The apartments include en suite bathrooms, kitchenettes, microwaves, and fridges with comfortable, modern furnishings. The building is close to several top attractions in the city and lots of bars and restaurants and it has an outdoor pool you can use.
Best Luxury Hotel in Larrakeyah: Cullen Bay Resorts by Vivo
This hotel in Darwin offers everything you could want for a short or long stay. It’s a modern property with old-world charm and includes a shopping mall, kids’ pool, BBQ area, and an outdoor pool. The cozy rooms are air-conditioned and include a private balcony, telephone, cable channels, and a DVD player.
Things to See and Do in Larrakeyah
- Explore the local shops and cafes and do as the locals do.
- Head into Mendil Beach for great nightlife and restaurants.
- Watch the sun go down from the marina.
- Take the ferry to explore other areas like Wurrumiyanga or Mandorah.
- Spend a day relaxing on the beach or trying water activities.
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The Gardens is located northwest of the city center and is named after the Botanical Gardens. This neighborhood is on the coast and includes Mindil Beach, which is very popular amongst tourists and visitors alike. Despite the popularity of this area, it still retains much of its unique feel and is also famous for the flea markets that seem to spring up all over the neighborhood.
If you’re looking for the best places in Darwin to stay for shopping and beach activities, this is where you should be. It does get crowded during peak travel times though, so expect to have to push through the crowds, particularly when you visit the local markets! The Gardens also offers easy access to the CBD if you want to explore attractions in that neighborhood.
Best Airbnb in The Gardens: Spectacular Marina Views Apartment
Sometimes, you just must go for the apartment with the stunning views, and that’s what this apartment offers. It’s also a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Darwin for nightlife, as it’s close to all the best restaurants and bars as well as the Casino. The apartment has a balcony, fans, and air conditioning and is suitable for up to 4 guests.
Best Hotel in The Gardens: Signatures on Salonika
Located in one of the best areas to stay in Darwin for easy access to everything, this hotel has an outdoor pool and comfortable, fully equipped rooms. There’s also a garden and lift on-site and it’s within walking distance of landmarks like the Northern Territory Museum.
Best Luxury Hotel in The Gardens: Mindil Beach Casino Resort
Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Darwin for one night or for a longer visit, this hotel is a great choice. It offers a huge range of amenities like an infinity pool, sauna, free Wi-Fi, private beach, and a gum. There’s also an in-house casino and bar to keep you entertained at all hours. All the rooms have private balconies and offer clean, comfortable furnishings.
Things to See and Do in The Gardens
- Explore the Charles Darwin National Park.
- Head down for a day on Mindil Beach.
- If you’re visiting between May and October, make sure you visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
- Relax in nature at the Botanical Gardens.
- Get some culture into your visit at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
- Visit the local flea markets for great souvenirs of your trip.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Darwin
Darwin is the best way to access all the charms and dangers of the Australian outback. You can pet a koala, feed a kangaroo, and examine cave paintings that are thousands of years old. So, don’t miss out on visiting Darwin just because you don’t know which is the best area in Darwin to stay in. This Darwin neighborhood guide will help you make the best choice. And then you can just enjoy the unique and ancient land that Darwin introduces you to.
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