I am very fortunate in my role as School Mum to get to experience different places to holiday with the family so we can tell y’all what we think and whether it is somewhere worth visiting.
Two years ago my best friend moved to Darwin for a job. I was very sad and even more sad when I realised she had fallen in love with the place and was not planning to return home to where I live.
She has done a good job of posting all of the interesting things on Facebook she gets up to in Darwin so hubby and I thought for a bit of fun we might take the kids up to Darwin during the September school holidays to experience it and see my friend. Below is one of my fav photos of us at her 40th Birthday … if you are reading this Lisa PLEASSE come back haha.
We flew our family of 5 up to Darwin using some Virgin Frequent Flyer points we earned last year when we changed our home loan. I have become quite savvy when it comes to frequent flyer points and travel as it can be an expensive exercise flying a family of 5 around. The great thing is you use the same amount of points during school holiday periods or outside of them as it is based on distance not time of year. If you are super organised you can book flights during holiday periods for as many as 5 people which is what I did. I think I booked them about 9 months in advance.
Once we had our flights booked I started looking around to find a holiday apartment in Darwin that was good for families. We knew we wanted a good pool and an air conditioned self contained apartment that slept 5 of us. We ended up being hosted by Oaks Elan Darwin during our stay and it was fantastic. I think my favourite thing was not only did we have a self contained apartment where we could prepare food for the kids ourselves but they also have a fabulous restaurant that offered room service for a $5 fee and it was the actual bestest. Oaks have really great family holiday apartment options at their resorts across Australia and are worth checking out.
We stayed in one of their 2 bedroom apartments which had a foldout bed from the couch which also doubled as a great holiday place for the kids to snuggle during our down time from all the things we got up to during the day. As you can see from my photos below we certainly made ourselves at home in the apartment for the week and found it a great space for a family.
What I loved the most about Darwin was how easy it was to get around. There was never any traffic and everywhere seemed to be between 5-15 minutes away. We were able to walk to so many different places from the hotel which was fantastic! The other great things I noticed was there was so much free or really affordable activities to do for families. And most of the places that charged a small fee had packages for 2 adults and 3 kids which was great for our family of 5.
Below I am going to list out the main things we got up to during our week long family holiday in Darwin and I really mean it when I say it was one of our most relaxed and easy family holidays we have ever done.
If you can’t be bothered reading about it all below then feel free to watch this 1 minute video I put together of all of the highlights.
This was a highlight and so much better than I was expecting. We took the kids to Aquascene and spent the morning feeding wild fish swimming around our feet. This activity went for about 2 hours and cost $43 for 2 adults and 3 children. Both the adults and kids really enjoyed feeding the fish in the wild and I would absolutely take my kids back here again.
Darwin Waterfront and Wave Lagoon
They have a fantastic precinct on the Darwin waterfront which includes a free beach area that they guarantee to be croc and stinger free. There is an inflatable waterpark you can purchase tickets for (per hour sessions) and a wave lagoon you also need to pay to access but it’s only $18 for the entire day for a family of 2 adults and 3 children. The wave lagoon was a highlight for our family and we found ourselves there on a number of occasions. It was also walking distance from our apartment.
Berry Springs was about a 45 minute drive from our hotel and was the closest national park springs to the city centre. It is heavily monitored by the park rangers to make sure it is croc free so you will find people swimming there on most days. This was another highlight of our trip and we had such a fabulous morning swimming in the springs. It really is worth a visit and doesn’t cost a thing.
If you were to ask my 10 and 7 year old daughters they would tell you this waterpark was their favourite thing we visited in Darwin. I should also mention it is completely free for everybody which I thought was amazing. It has water facilities there for babies up to adults and all 3 of our kids didn’t want to leave. It was about a 15 minute drive from our hotel in the city centre.
You can’t go to the NT and not get up close and personal with a croc at some point and Crocosaurus Cove gave us the chance to do just that. Mr 3 loves all things crocodiles so he was in his element. We got to hold snakes, pat baby crocodiles and watch some other brave souls swim in the cage of death with them haha. For a family of 2 adults and 3 children you will pay $132 for all day entry.
Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory
We had a lovely afternoon visiting the NT Museum and Art gallery. There was some amazing indigenous art in the gallery and it was great to get a chance to looks through the history with the kids. They also had some animals on display that Mr 3 loved and there was a free craft activity for kids in the early afternoon. It didn’t cost a thing to visit the gallery and is definitely worth putting on the list.
Markets are a bit of a thing in Darwin and are a fantastic way to find some yummy food on a budget. The Mindil Beach markets are one of the most famous markets in Darwin and draw a crowd of thousands of people to indulge in yummy food while watching the sunset over the beach.
Another great thing to do with the kiddos is get along to the outdoor deckchair cinema. It only runs at certain times during the year as it gets a bit hot over the summer period but we were lucky enough to take the kids along one evening to see Cars 3. It’s a very unique Darwin experience and was a lot of fun for the kids. It cost us $43 for 2 adults and 3 children to go and see the movie.
And I just want to say a final thanks to Oaks Elan Darwin for hosting our food and accomodation while we were in Darwin. We had a fantastic time and it was one of our most relaxed and enjoyable family holidays.