Exploring Darwin via the seaside walkways and protected bike paths is an often overlooked way to get away from the hubbub of the CBD and enjoy the waterfront of the Top End. Below are the three best routes for walking or riding around Darwin and surrounding suburbs.
These paths have public toilets and water fountains at intervals, but remember to bring your own water to keep hydrated in the Darwin heat!
The Esplanade runs along the south-western edge of Darwin CBD and is an ideal place for a stroll. All along the length of the 1.6km paved walkway, are benches, large areas shaded by trees, memorials, informational signs, and beautiful look-out points.
Take a break to look at the Darwin Centopath (commemorative of the ANZAC contribution), or stop simply stop off anywhere along the path, as it snakes through many grassy lawns and shaded areas.
You will also be able to stop, look, and learn about different points of interest in Darwin Harbour including the nearby Navy Base.
Mindil Beach, Fannie Bay and East Point
Aside from being home of the beloved dry-season sunset markets, Mindil beach is an incredible place to walk, ride and spend the afternoon.
Start at the Sky City Casino on the west end of the beach and walk along the sand or bike along the path toward the eastern end. Keep going along the paved path when you reach the end of the beach and let it guide you up a hill to the amazing look-out point where, to the left, you can see the whole expanse of the beach, and to the right, the beginning of Fannie Bay.
As you continue along, you and the family might be starting to get a bit hungry- and perfect timing! You will be coming up to the NT Museum cafe, the Darwin Ski Club, and eventually the Darwin Sailing and Trailer Boat clubs. Grab a bite with a view before continuing along!
After you pass the Darwin Sailing Club, about 2-3kms from the beginning of Mindil Beach, you will be coming up to a another slight hill. Manage to get to the top of this one, and you will be pleasantly surprised to see you have arrived on a protected biking and walking path. When followed to the end, the path will deliver you to the interesting WWII bunkers and museum on East Point Reserve. Don’t worry too much about directions from this point onwards, there are many helpful signs to guide you the right way!
Before you reach East Point Reserve, be sure to stop at Lake Alexander; it’s a protected lagoon, that when open, is perfect for swimming, wading along the shore or even having a BBQ at one of the many public pits.
To walk or ride the whole route from Mindil Beach to East Point Reserve is doable in one day, but keep in mind you can break-up the walk at any point and start along the path later on!
Outside of the city in the northern suburbs area, is the magical little town of Nightcliff. When you are not at the Sunday morning market or visiting one of the local favourite cafes, take a stroll along the water and beach fronts in Nightcliff.
Another protected bike and walking path will take you along about 3kms of spectacular water views, past the Nightcliff pier, the beloved Foreshore cafe and Nightcliff public pool, and eventually all the way to the empty and beautiful beaches of the Casuarina Coastal Reserve.
All along the path in Nightcliff are interesting trees and shaded areas to sit and relax.
Now, in order to get to/from the paths when staying in Darwin CBD, consider using the DarwinBus. A $3 ticket allows passengers access to all busses for 3 hours!