Darwin’s WW2 Bucket List – Allow 2 days!
On the 19th of February 1942 an event occurred which changed Australia forever, the Bombing of Darwin. Many died and many were injured in the first and subsequent attacks on Australia’s north coast over a 21-month period. It was a defining moment in our history, one that highlighted the tenacity and Australian spirit of those living in Darwin. And now there is recognition of that event, with a surge of interest in that defining day and of Darwin’s place in WW2. For this visitor to the Top End, this means that there is a bucket list of war history sites that should be ticked off. We’ve done the research for you, and put this list together as a leisurely paced itinerary that will enable you to see and experience the complete Darwin WW2 package:
Day 1: Prepare yourself for an early start with Sea Darwin’s Australia’s Frontline WW2 Tour. With a hotel pick up just before 8am with a drop off around 12.30pm, this half day tour will orientate you to Darwin’s WW2 history and give you an overview in airconditioned comfort, as well as a visit to significant sites.
- Darwin City WW2 sites
- Charles Darwin National Park Bunker Exhibit
- Defence of Darwin
- East Point Military Precinct and Museum
- Bombing of Darwin Cruise
After being dropped back to your hotel, enjoy a leisurely lunch and a brief siesta before heading down for a walk from the city to Survivor’s Lookout and the Darwin Waterfront via the Esplanade steps, where you will find the entrance to the tunnels. The WWII Tunnels will give you a first hand insight to WW2 infrastructure as well as photographic display of Darwin during the war.
- Survivor’s Lookout
- Oil Storage Tunnels
After experiencing the confinement and coolness of the tunnels, an enjoyable 700 metre walk through the Darwin Waterfront Precinct and along the sea wall will take you out to historic Stokes Hill Wharf and the Royal Flying Doctor Tourist Facility. This facility houses the award-winning Bombing of Darwin virtual reality display. The last admission for this facility is 4pm.
- RFDS Bombing of Darwin virtual reality exhibit
- Stokes Hill Wharf interpretative signage
As the day draws to a close and while you are still on Stokes Hill Wharf, be tempted by experiencing a sunset harbour cruise, a very relaxing way to end a Top End day.
Day 2: Wake Early and put those walking shoes on for a leisurely stroll around Darwin City with Walk Darwin’s WW2 Reflections Walk. This 2-hour guided walk takes you close up to the historic quarter of Darwin city. Hear stories of that fateful day as you meander past historic buildings of the time, that have been re-built to provide lasting memories of life in the north during the War. This tour departs on a Thursday only, in memory of that fateful day in 1942. On other days, Walk Darwin’s Darwin Heritage Walk is available to provide an introduction to Darwin past and present.
- Admiralty House (now Char Restaurant)
- Darwin Court House and Police station on the Esplanade - Now the Administrators offices
- BAT office (Lyons Cottage)
- Gun From USS Peary DD-226
- Monument to Robert J Buel USAAF
- Survivor’s Lookout
To round up your Darwin WW2 Bucket list a visit to the Darwin Aviation Museum is an absolute must. Located 8km from the Darwin CBD, you will need to taxi, uber, self-drive or take Bus 5 or 8, to this display. Allow a few hours to see a huge B52 Bomber, the only one of its kind displayed in the Southern Hemisphere, a Japanese Zero fighter and the remains of a RAAF Mirage jet. The display also houses interesting stories about Darwin’s aviation history and wartime experience with an additional 19 aircraft on display, 21 engines and a rare amateur footage of the first air-raid in Darwin.
- The Aviation Museum
TOP TIP: When booking your Australia’s Frontline WW2 half day tour with Sea Darwin, choose the optional extra of discounted admission to the RFDS Tourist Facility.