A must do: a cruise on the Adelaide river!
During your trip you will see some huge saltwater Jumping Crocodiles...
so keep safe as me behind the window and enjoy some refreshment from the onboard bar ;-)
Darwin is very well served by public transport in the form of its bus services called Darwinbus. The various routes service most areas that tourists would wish to get to. The fare system is very cheap and generous, a ticket will get you three hours of unlimited travel, so it is possible to undertake some returns journeys (i.e. go to the place, visit and return) within a single ticket.
Full Fare: Au$2.00
An adult fare entitles passengers to unlimited bus travel for (3) three hours on any scheduled public bus service in Darwin and Alice Springs from the time of purchase. A full fare ticket can be purchased on the bus and at Interchanges.
A concession fare is available to Health Care Card holders. A concession fare ticket operates in the same way as a full fare ticket.
Show & Go Daily: $5.00
A Show&Go daily ticket provides unlimited bus travel on any scheduled public bus service in Darwin and Alice Springs. The ticket is valid from the first scheduled bus service to the last scheduled bus service on the day of purchase. A Show&Go daily can be purchased on the bus and at Interchanges.
Show & Go Weekly: $15.00 (25% discount)
A Show&Go weekly ticket provides unlimited bus travel on scheduled public bus services in Darwin and Alice Springs for seven days from the date of purchase. This ticket can be purchased at the Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston bus interchanges and at the Alice Springs Airport Shuttle Shop, Gregory Terrace in Alice Springs.
Darwin International Airport is pretty near the city, just 13 kms away, barely a half a hour journey.
There is an airport-city shuttle bus which you can take to & fro airport and city and you can purchase it easily through your accommodation.
In 2003, it cost me A$5.50 one way.
The earliest bus takes off at 4.00am for folks who need to take the earliest flights which are at 6.00am. (I know, because I had to catch the 6.00am flight from Darwin to Cairns)
The bus terminal is located very conveniently just behind my hostel, at the Transit Centre along Mitchell Street.
Local freecall: 1800-358945
1 budget airline fly this sector: Jetstar.
The journey takes about 5 hours.
Garuda Indonesia also flies to Darwin but with a stopover in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Australian Airlines has since become defunct and Tiger Airways abandoned this sector.
It’s always a battle for out-of-towners to figure out public transport when visiting a city for the first time – and I did find it quite difficult to navigate the Darwin system although by world standards Darwin is a very small city.
The web site below is the public transport portal for anything to do with transport in the vastness of the Northern Territory. The link shown is for the various bus routes in and around Darwin, suburbs and outer areas. What it really lacks is an overall map showing the areas covered by the buses and the routes – then it would be so much easier to use the drop down list of 33 different routes
We used the Darwin Interchange a few times during our 5 day stay in Darwin and that also lacked an overall map and certainly when entering from Smith Street (cannot comment from the other end). It also lacked an overall guide to the 5 different stops located at the interchange. To find a particular bus route it was necessary to walk along all of the 5 stops to find the correct stop. However there seemed to be plenty of shady seating while waiting in the area which has CCTV surveillance.
We found the buses to be clean, on time (when we’d found the right timetable) and driven by in the main very helpful drivers. Just a pity the indigenous passengers seemed to have an attitude problem.
Good news for those visiting from other parts of Australia and are holders of Seniors Cards/Government Health Care Cards – all public transport in Darwin is free, just show your card when you alight. Check web site for pricing for other bus users.
We did find some of the stops we used in the suburbs to be very poorly lit at night.
About the photos:
1. A Darwin Bus sitting opposite the interchange - and I guess the driver was having a well-earned break.
2. DarwinBus Interchange located in Harry Chan Drive.
For all your Auto requirements visit of of the two Supercheap Auto stores in Darwin.
11 Mile: 1 Olive Place
08 8932 9866
Casuarina: 58 Bradshaw Terrace
Casuarina Shopping Area
08 8927 2888
Other Auto alternatives are Autobahn, Repco and Independent Motormart
Before my trip to the 2010 VT Meet and Survivor Camp in 2010, I decided to fly into Darwin and use the Greyhound Croc Stopover Package to get from Darwin to Alice Springs. At 269 AUD, it was reasonably priced and included coach travel between Darwin and Alice Springs with 2 stops. One stop was optional and the other was an all inclusive stay at the Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge tent village for one night, including the shuttle to and from the Katherine bus station, linen, bedding, pillow, dinner at the poolside kiosk or bistro, and a pancake breakfast. You have up to 14 days to complete the trip but I planned to do it in 4 days. Besides Katherine Gorge, I picked the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort as my other overnight stop.
Everything would have been fine except that the bus departed Darwin at 13:40 instead of noon on 5 Aug 2010 because it was stuck behind another bus with mechanical problems at the maintenance facility. When I asked Clare, the Greyhound lady in Darwin, she thought that the Nitmiluk shuttle would wait for me. We arrived in Katherine at 17:40 instead of 16:10. The station was closed and no one was there from Nitmiluk Tours to pick me up. When I called them, they refused to pick me up in Katherine since the bus arrived 40 minutes after my scheduled pick up time, which was 17:00. The Nitmiluk Tours lady said that the late bus was a Greyhound problem and would have to be fixed by them. This was even after I had called Nitmiluk Tours from the USA before I left on my trip to confirm my stay with them. When I asked the bus driver, Wayne, what to do, he said to call the Brisbane Greyhound office. That was no help, so I decided to stay on the bus and go to Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort a day early. Fortunately they had plenty of vacancies and I got a room with no problem. All is well that ends well. The Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort turned out to be a very nice place to visit. I was glad to have an extra day there.
Darwin's Greyhound Australia bus station is located in the back of the Transit Center in the Mitchell Street Tourist Precinct. The Transit Center has places to eat and shops (e.g. Chilli's Backpackers Travel Shop and Internet Cafe). The restrooms are in the Mantra on the Esplanade Hotel across the street from the bus station.
Besides hailing a cab from the side of the road try the taxi rank out front of the old Woolworths on Knuckey Street. Also located the Bennett Street end of the Mall and Mitchell Street opposite Shennanigans irish Pub.
Needing a tranfer to the Airport from your hotel ?.. So easy to organise a pickup from your hostel/hotel as I did by booking a pickup time at the Bus transfer station .The Station is located at the Transit Centre top end of Mitchell St. Darwin.. They also hold your luggage for you.
A lot of flights leaving Darwin leave at dreadful hours most around midnight or later so these transfer busses are just the shot...Luggage was no problem and they are on time..The pickup was directly from my hostel at 12.30.am.
These transfer costs are a lot cheaper than a Taxi..make sure though you book early in the day for that night flight.
I see these guys around alot in Perth and have viewed their site and continue to recommend them.
So it was exciting to see the Western Xposure bus at Adelaide River on our way to Darwin from the long trip over the top end from Cairns. .....Wonder where they were off to?.. :o)
Anyway, if you are planning on doing a trip from Darwin... then may I suggest you check out the Western Xposure web site below. I don't think you can go wrong!
Tip duplicated on my Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide pages.
The Ghan is one of the Australian legendary journeys that I have been reading about since I was a kid and then as I grew up – although there are some who’d say that never did happen – another story for another day perhaps.
The Ghan run by Great Southern Railways (GSR) is number 29 on the impressive list of the Wikipedia article ‘Longest Rail Services’ and the train is well known for its luxury form of travel that has appealed to the more senior citizens – the ‘youngies’ would not put up with a 2,979 train journey from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory that takes 3 days when they could hop on an aircraft and be there in say 4 hours. Oldies, like Lady Gaw and myself, are more content to sit back and watch the scenery, enjoy the great meals and all that is part of the Great Southern Railways service.
I have put together a long travelogue ‘The Ghan for beginners’ on our journey that we really enjoyed in July 2012 when we travelled from Darwin all those kilometers to south to Adelaide. There are 2 so called ‘Whistle stops’ in Katherine and Alice Springs for 4 hours each, however the train does stop at other locations depending on your needs – check with GSR
Some may consider a trip on The Ghan to be expensive – OK compared to cattle class crammed into a tiny seat on an aircraft with a budget carrier, perhaps it is. However a better way of comparison would be comparing business class airfares (about $A1, 500 each) and adding the cost of 2 nights accommodation (difficult to compare accom in a cramped train twin bunk compartment plus a phone box sized all included bathroom with a hotel, but say $50 each x 2 nights), then add the value of the 1 lunch, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 1 morning tea (guessing $A225 each but probably more). I would think the overall price for the other-than-train way would be $A3,650 against The Ghan listed price for 2 in Gold Class at 2 X $A2,116 = $A4,232 or Child/Pensioner/CSHC 2 X $A1,464 = $A2,928. Lady Gaw and I are in the latter category (Pensioner), so not considering the amazing savings we enjoyed of ‘buy one get one free’ The Ghan is a cheaper way of ‘travel’ and has the added bonus of the scenery, Whistle Stop options, fellow crazy travelers and great on board crew.
There are 3 classes of travel – Red is economy and there are sit up all the way seats, however that class does have twin share cabins without private facilities – walk to the end of the carriage. Next is Gold Class and all have sleeper cabins either ‘roomette’ (single) of doubles with own on-suite (very small) facilities – there is also a Gold Class Superior Cabin with extras and off course more expensive than ‘basic’ Gold. Last is Platinum which is luxury cabins, with very high price tags. Gold and Platinum include all on-board meals, which are a very high standard served up by great staff.
I would strongly suggest signing up with the GSR ‘All Aboard Club’ for regular e newsletters which do contain special prices – see web site for details on The Ghan. The trains run once a week in both directions all year and twice a week both directions in the peak winter season
About the photos:
1. Just one of the 29 carriages
2. Katherine Station and note there is no raised platform. A set of steps awaits at each door position.
3. Queen Adelaide restaurant carriage for Gold and Platinum class.
4. Explorers Lounge carriage - bar and gift shop
5. Was that sun rise or set?
The airport - city shuttle bus is great. It's a fast trip into town and much cheaper than a taxi and the depot is right in town.
This is not a huge city so there are few traffic delays so you don't need to waste your money on a taxi. They run frequently meeting international and domestic flights
This is actually a tip for leaving Darwin, rather than going to. Many people are keen to travel between Europe and Australia overland only, or at least using no airplanes. There are no ferries that operate between Australia and Indonesia, so this is a significant gap in that trip.
Once a year around July 22nd, however, there is a sailing rally from Darwin to Indonesia, first port of call, Kupang, (West) Timor. Many yachts continue on across Indonesia and up to Thailand. Occasionally they need extra crew for this trip and may take you on if you have sailing experience. The trip to Kupang can take approximately 3 to 5 days, depending on wind, of course. You would be expected to do an equal share of crew duties and watches through the nights, including meal preparation and cleanup. You will probably be expected to pay for your share of the food, and you may need to have your own foul weather gear. It differs from boat to boat. I think it would be very hard for couples to get positions on the same boat. If they need a crew, they probably only need and want one.
I have extensive offshore sailing and racing experience, so I tried this in 2007. I failed. I still think it's possible, but you need to spend some real time in Darwin, at least three weeks beforehand, to secure a crew position. I could only spare over a week. The first stop is to check out the rally web site at www.sailindonesia.net. If you dig, you will find a "Crew Positions" page which will not list crew-available positions, but will list crew-wanted positions. It will also give you some further tips on looking for a boat.
About six months before the race. I dug into that web site and copied down the list of every yacht sailing that year. Then I searched each yacht name in Google and noted down any that had their own web pages, or otherwise found e-mail contact details. I was able to find an e-mail address for at least half the yachts. I e-mailed them all, citing my sailing CV and asking if they had crew positions. I got a few replies, but no hits. When sending e-mail, keep it as plain text, very short, and do not add attachments. Often they receive e-mail at sea via radio and it is very slow. If they spend half an hour waiting for your e-mail to download, they will be very irritated indeed. If you secure a crew position this way, then your life is much easier; it's all settled beforehand.
The main hangout for the sailors before the race is the Darwin Sailing Club. I contacted them ahead of time and arranged for a temporary membership. I forget the cost; it was either free or something cheap like $25. I think you can get a per-visit permit for free each time you go there without a membership, but my temporary permit made my life easier in that regard. The club is very nice, down to earth, and relaxed. It has good meals and you can sit outside and watch the spectacular sunsets.
The club is out past Mindel Beach a fair way from central Darwin. There is a bus that runs out there every half hour or so, but it stops running at maybe 23:30. I rented a motor scooter the whole time I was there, which made it a 10 minute drive each way.
I spent 8 evenings at that club schmoozing the rally folk. I paid a $10 fee and placed a quarter- page advert on their bulletin board, and I also placed that advert at various yacht clubs and marinas all around Darwin. I even placed an ad in the local newspaper. I even crashed the rally pre-departure party. In the end, I got no offers from that group.
Lesson learned: the Indonesia cruising permit is very restrictive. The skippers must list each crew by name and submit it many weeks before entering Indonesia. For this reason, they are reluctant to take on last-minute crew unless they are desparate (perhaps their slated crew could not make it). I've heard that it's still possible to immigrate Indonesia in spite of this (maybe with some special "fees" to officials), but it would certainly slow down the immigration process on arrival, which already takes from half a day to a day.
Near the end, I did find a guy looking for crew. He was not sailing with the rally, but was going to follow along with them. We were all set to go, but then he lost a critical piece of hardware over the side of the boat as he was repairing it, and couldn't get a replacement for another week. I simply couldn't wait that long, so unfortunately I had to bail.
So aside from the rally, the "season" that sailors leave from Darwin is July/August. If you plan to do this, you really need to prepare and you need to spend some serious time in Darwin.
Darwin International Airport (DRW) is probably the smallest of Australia's International Airports. It is however a nice little place for a layover believe it or not.
I prefer to fly with oneWorld Carriers (AA, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay), so I had the privledge of checking out the Qantas Club lounge while waiting for a 1am! flight back to Sydney!
If you do not have status on the OW airlines, then I would wait until the last possible second to enter the Darwin Airport as there really is not much else to the place. You walk through security and are immediately at your gate, which is nice, but also tedious for longer amounts of time. There are a couple little places to eat, but as you can imagine, no grandeous fine dining locations or gift shops here.
If you are travelling with a partner/friend you can hire a car and drive yourself to Litchfield, Berry Springs, Territory Wildlife Park, Jumping Crocodiles etc. and save a considerable amount over doing these via tours. We did a tour to Kakadu because of how far it was.
Most of the hire cars only include 100km per day as part of their rate. Avis however included 150km. If you are doing all the sites via car, you will definately exceed the 100km/day and most probably the 150km/day allowances. Avis offered additional km for AU$0.27/km. I would suggest working out how many km you expect to use and considering whether you want to hire the car for additional days for use around Darwin to get extra km. After taking into account the extra 150km we got, it only cost us an extra AU$15 to get the car for an extra day. This was less than the taxi fare to the sites around Darwin we visited that day.