The 5 best walking and cycling trails in Darwin
- By Ken Teo at Ausinet – 26 November 2020 – Australian Institute of Electrotechnology
Darwin has a number of walking and cycling tracks that lead you to designated nature sanctuaries and reserves. There are decent beachside trails, protected bicycle routes and concrete walkways, which are regularly overlooked. With plenty more trails soon opening in Darwin and throughout the Top End, it is an ideal place to explore and escape the hustle and bustle of the CBD at the same time.
We have chosen the following 5 routes for walking or cycling around Darwin. These routes have public toilets and water fountains at intervals, but remember to bring your own water to keep hydrated during Darwin wet season. Biting bugs will also appear in the late evening so do not forget your insect repellent.
1. Charles Darwin National Park Trails
Created in 1998, this small national park on the outskirts of Darwin Harbour protects extensive stands of ecological diversity as well as Aboriginal and World War II (WWII) history. Within riding distance of the city, it evolved over the years to be a great riding destination all year round. Today, it has a pleasant grassed area with fine views over the harbour and a couple of short walking and cycling trails.
From the trailhead at the central car park, you can start walking and losing yourself in this complex network of handcrafted single track or machine built flow trail. Mountain bike riders on the other hand can enjoy Darwin best network of tracks and access many fire break paths through the bushland.
2. Casuarina Coastal Reserve Trails
Sites of Aboriginal and historical significance are preserved in this stretch of fine and sandy beaches between Rapid Creek and Lee Point. As you approach the trails, there are signs and boards explaining the surrounding and providing all the information you need.
There are several sunset spots right next to the trails. You can stop by one of them (such as Darwin Surf Club and Luigi’s Cafe) and grab an icy beer to re-hydrate. Then join the daily Darwin ritual of hanging out at the beach and watching some of the best sunsets in the world.
3. Holmes Jungle Nature Park Trails
Located right next to Crocodylus Park, you will find Holmes Jungle Nature Park is a beautiful Top End monsoonal rainforest. Holmes Jungle protects a large number of birds, mammals and reptiles that seek refuge in the cool monsoon rainforest.
Besides, there are lookouts, walking and cycling paths, horse-riding tracks, and European history to learn about in the Holmes Jungle. The walking path takes approximately 40 minutes to return which is ideal for those who just want to do a quick workout.
4. Darwin Esplanade
The Esplanade is situated in the south-west edge of Darwin CBD and stretches across the harbour. It is an excellent place for a picnic and stroll with lovely sea breezes. Along the length of roughly 1.6 km paved walkway of the Esplanade, there are benches, large areas shaded by trees, WWII memorials, information signs, and beautiful lookout points.
Therefore, you can walk or bike there while glancing at the interesting displays of Darwin history splashed along the path.
5. Nightcliff Foreshore
Nightcliff Foreshore is a protected cycling and walking path which will take you on a 3 km journey full of magnificent sea views, past the Nightcliff pier, the well-known Foreshore cafe and public pool, and ultimately all the way to the dazzling beaches of Casuarina Coastal Reserve.
If you are yet to visit the laid-back Sunday morning market or one of the local favourite cafes, why don’t you make up your mind and take a stroll there? All along the path in Nightcliff Foreshore are interesting pools, beach fronts, trees and shaded areas to play at and explore.
Extra: Mindil Beach, Fannie Bay and East Point
Mindil Beach is a popular attraction of the adored dry season sunset markets. It is also a fantastic destination to walk, ride and spend the afternoon. Start at the Sky City Casino on the west end of the beach, walk along the sand or bike along the path toward the eastern end.
Keep going along the paved path until you reach the end of the beach. This marks the beginning of Fannie Bay. You will come across Darwin Sailing Club in Fannie Bay before you approach another slight hill. If you continue to the end, the path will take you to the WWII bunkers and museum on East Point Reserve.
Don’t worry too much about losing directions, there are many helpful signs along the path to guide you on the right way. Walking or riding the path from Mindil Beach to East Point Reserve is achievable within one day, however you can break it up at any point and begin a new segment each day.