The best camping near Darwin, Northern Territory.
Waterfalls, wetlands, and monsoon forests: Explore the diverse landscapes within reach of Darwin.
About an hour east of Darwin, the lush Mary River wetlands is a great place to stop on your way to Kakadu National Park or an easy side trip from the city. You can spot some of the 250 species of birds that flock to the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve in the dry season; see saltwater crocodiles on a cruise on one of the wetlands’ billabongs, and learn about native birds and animals at the Window on the Wetlands Visitor Centre. Within Mary River National Park, Shady Camp and the more basic Couzen’s Lookout are popular camping areas for their proximity to the river, billabongs, and forest.
Farther along the route to Kakadu, Mary River Wilderness Retreat offers accessible wilderness lodgings in powered and unpowered sites, as well as a safari tent glamping experience—the camping area is pet friendly (advise ahead of arrival) and all guests have access to the restaurant (with free wifi), two swimming pools, kitchen, and laundry facilities.
Along the Coast
Around an hour’s drive north of Darwin, Leaders Creek Fishing Base is perfectly positioned for exploring the Vernon Islands, Melville Island, and Cape Hotham and for fishing on the Adelaide River. Travelers can choose between a powered and unpowered site or glamp in one of the site’s large “eco tents,” all with shared amenities including camp kitchen and showers. Pets are welcome with advance notice and you can even hire a boat on site.
An hour and a half southwest of Darwin, Dundee Park Holiday Camp offers pet-friendly powered and unpowered sites, as well as bungalow and cabin accommodation, with access to facilities including a swimming pool, laundry, and gas bbq.
Litchfield National Park
An hour and a half southeast of Darwin, Litchfield National Park offers the chance to camp in a dramatic landscape dotted with teeming waterfalls, natural plunge pools, monsoon forest, and even a field full of giant termite mounds. Campsites including Wangi Falls, Florence Falls, and Walker Creek feature waterfalls and swimming holes that are perfect for cooling down on a hot day, and all are ideally situated for walkers who want to tackle the 24-mile (39-kilometer) Tabletop Track. All sites have toilets, fire pits, and water and Wangi Falls also has hot showers. Weary travelers can find something a little more comfortable at the powered and unpowered sites of Litchfield Safari Camp and Litchfield Tourist Park, both located just outside the park.
When to Go
For the most comfortable conditions, visit during the dry season, which runs from May to October and promises relatively cooler temperatures. This is peak season for the Top End, however, so opt for the shoulder month of April to avoid the crowds. If you visit during the wet season from November through April, you’ll see the waterfalls of Litchfield at their best but roads and entire areas may be closed due to flooding.
Know Before You Go
- When traveling in the Top End pay close attention to crocodile warning signs.
- Be sure to wear protective clothing and bring insect repellent and plenty of water.
- Campers should take note of fire bans and be sure to use the pits provided for campfires.
- Pets are not permitted in national parks.
- Don’t worry if you forgot something, Darwin is home to a number of camping and outdoor supply stores.