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Top 11 Things To Do in Daly Waters, NT Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

01/09/2023
9 mins read
Daly Waters Pub
Source: Tourism NT

Nestled in the heart of the Northern Territory, Daly Waters is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Located about 600 km south of Darwin and 900 km north of Alice Springs, this small town is the perfect base for exploring the region’s diverse landscapes and attractions. From iconic pubs and historic sites to thermal pools and national parks, there’s something for everyone in this captivating corner of Australia.

Join us as we unveil the best things to do in Daly Waters, NT Australia, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting destination. Immerse yourself in the rich history, marvel at the awe-inspiring landscapes, and experience the thrill of adventure as you explore the hidden treasures of Daly Waters.

Things To Do In Daly Waters, NT

1. Daly Waters Pub – A True Outback Experience

Step into the heart of the Australian outback at the iconic Daly Waters Pub, a colorful establishment clad in corrugated iron and draped with bougainvilleas. This historic pub has been serving travelers since 1930 and is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer, delicious meal, and a taste of genuine outback hospitality. Don’t forget to leave your mark by adding to the eclectic collection of memorabilia that adorns the walls, and be sure to tag your photos on Instagram with #dalywaterspub.

The Daly Waters Pub also offers nightly entertainment, creating a lively atmosphere for visitors to mingle and share stories of their adventures. With a range of accommodation options available, including cabins and caravan sites, you can rest easy after a day of exploring the surrounding area.

  • Address: Lot 105 Stuart Highway, Daly Waters, NT 0852, Australia
  • Opening Hours: 7 am to 10 pm daily
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Daly Waters

2. Devils Marbles – A Geological Wonder

Witness the awe-inspiring Devils Marbles, a collection of massive granite boulders that appear to balance precariously on top of one another. Located along the Stuart Highway, this natural wonder is a must-see for anyone traveling through the Northern Territory. The traditional owners of the land, the Warumungu people, believe that the boulders are the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent, a powerful creator being in Aboriginal mythology.

The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve offers walking trails that allow you to explore the area and marvel at the incredible rock formations up close. The best time to visit is during the cooler months of May to September, when the temperatures are more comfortable for exploring. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning landscape, and share your photos on Instagram with #devilsmarbles.

  • Address: Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, Stuart Hwy, Warumungu NT 0862, Australia
  • Best time of the year: May to September, during the cooler months
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Distance from town: Approximately 380 km south of Daly Waters

3. Mataranka Thermal Pool and Rainbow Springs – A Soothing Oasis

Immerse yourself in the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Mataranka Thermal Pool and Rainbow Springs, a natural oasis surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. These thermal pools are fed by natural springs and maintain a constant temperature of around 34°C, providing a soothing and rejuvenating experience for visitors.

The best time to visit Mataranka Thermal Pool and Rainbow Springs is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is more favorable for outdoor activities. The pools are located within the Elsey National Park, which also offers walking trails, picnic areas, and a variety of native flora and fauna to discover.

  • Address: Mataranka NT 0852, Australia
  • Best time of the year: May to September, during the dry season
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Distance from town: Approximately 160 km south of Daly Waters

4. Explore Nearby National Parks – Discover the Northern Territory’s Natural Beauty

Venture beyond Daly Waters to experience the breathtaking landscapes and diverse ecosystems of the Northern Territory’s national parks. Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, and Nitmiluk National Park each offer unique opportunities for outdoor exploration, wildlife encounters, and cultural experiences.

The best time to visit these parks is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is more favorable for outdoor activities. Each park offers a range of walking trails, scenic lookouts, and opportunities to learn about the region’s Aboriginal heritage.

Don’t forget to share your adventures on Instagram using hashtags like #kakadunationalpark, #litchfieldnationalpark, and #nitmiluknationalpark.

  • Best time of the year: May to September, during the dry season

5. Daly Waters Aviation Complex – A Glimpse into Aviation History

Discover the rich history of aviation in the Northern Territory at the Daly Waters Aviation Complex. This fascinating site features the oldest hangar in the region, which was transported to Daly Waters along with the oil store. Wander through the complex and learn about the important role it played in the early days of Australian aviation.

The Aviation Complex is conveniently located near the Daly Waters Pub, making it an easy addition to your itinerary. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the historic structures and immerse yourself in the stories of the pioneers who shaped the region’s aviation industry.

  • Address: Kalala Road, Daly Waters, NT 0852, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Distance from town: Located in Daly Waters, adjacent to the Daly Waters Pub

6. Stuart Tree Historic Site – A Connection to Australia’s Explorers

Visit the Stuart Tree Historic Site, where it is believed that the famous Australian explorer John McDouall Stuart carved an “S” into the tree during his successful journey from Adelaide to Darwin in 1861-62. Although the carving may be difficult to spot, the site offers a unique opportunity to connect with Australia’s exploration history and appreciate the challenges faced by early adventurers.

The historic site is situated near the Daly Waters Pub Caravan Park and the Daly Waters Airfield, making it easily accessible for visitors. Take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey of Stuart and his team as they traversed the vast and unforgiving Australian landscape.

  • Address: Stuart Tree Historic Site, Daly Waters, NT 0852, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Distance from town: Approximately 1.5 km south of Daly Waters

7. Merrepen Arts Centre – A Celebration of Aboriginal Art

Experience the vibrant world of Aboriginal art at the Merrepen Arts Centre, located in the Nauiyu community along the Daly River. This modern arts center showcases the work of local Aboriginal artists, who create stunning pieces using a variety of mediums, including acrylic and silk paintings, screen prints, hand-printed fabric, weaving, and cards.

Visitors to the Merrepen Arts Centre can watch artists at work, learn about the stories and traditions that inspire their creations, and even purchase unique pieces to take home as a reminder of their visit. The center is open Monday to Friday, making it a perfect addition to your Daly Waters itinerary.

  • Address: Nauiyu Community, Daly River NT 0822, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 270 km northwest of Daly Waters

8. Katherine Hot Springs Reserve – A Relaxing Retreat

Unwind in the soothing waters of the Katherine Hot Springs Reserve, a series of natural thermal pools nestled among lush greenery. The pools are fed by warm springs and provide a tranquil setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

The best time to visit the Katherine Hot Springs Reserve is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is more favorable for outdoor activities. The reserve also features walking trails, picnic areas, and a variety of native flora and fauna to discover.

  • Address: Riverbank Dr, Katherine NT 0850, Australia
  • Best time of the year: May to September, during the dry season
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Distance from town: Approximately 280 km south of Daly Waters

9. Territory Wildlife Park – Encounter the Top End’s Unique Wildlife

Meet the fascinating animals of the Top End at the Territory Wildlife Park, a sprawling wildlife sanctuary that showcases the region’s diverse ecosystems. The park features a nocturnal house, aquarium, and bird shows, providing visitors with an up-close encounter with the Northern Territory’s unique wildlife.

The Territory Wildlife Park is open daily from 8:30 am to 4 pm, making it an ideal destination for a day trip from Daly Waters. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the incredible variety of animals, and share your experiences on Instagram using #territorywildlifepark.

  • Address: Cox Peninsula Rd, Berry Springs NT 0838, Australia
  • Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 4 pm daily
  • Distance from town: Approximately 600 km north of Daly Waters

10. Outdoor Activities Around Darwin – Adventure Awaits

Experience the thrill of adventure travel with a variety of outdoor activities in and around Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory. From crocodile jumping tours and helicopter rides to 4WD exploration, there’s something for every thrill-seeker.

The best time to enjoy these activities is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is more favorable for outdoor adventures. Whether you’re exploring the rugged landscapes of Litchfield National Park or getting up close and personal with crocodiles in their natural habitat, these experiences are sure to create lasting memories. Share your adventures on Instagram using hashtags like #darwinadventures and #topendtourism.

  • Best time of the year: May to September, during the dry season
  • Distance from town: Approximately 600 km north of Daly Waters

11. Hiking in Daly Rivers Esplanade Conservation Area – Explore the Great Outdoors

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Daly Rivers Esplanade Conservation Area, a protected region that offers some of the best hikes and trails in the area. The Arches Walk and Crystal Falls are two popular trails that showcase the region’s stunning landscapes and provide opportunities for wildlife encounters.

Daly River
Source: Tourism NT/Peter Eve

The best time to hike in the Daly Rivers Esplanade Conservation Area is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is more favorable for outdoor activities. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery, and share your hiking adventures on Instagram using #dalyriverhiking.

  • Address: Daly River NT 0822, Australia
  • Best time of the year: May to September, during the dry season
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Distance from town: Approximately 270 km northwest of Daly Waters

Towns Nearby Daly Waters, NT

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Daly Waters, NT, Australia, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Daly Waters, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Mataranka, NT (160 km south of Daly Waters): Known for its soothing Mataranka Thermal Pool and Rainbow Springs, this town is a perfect destination for relaxation and rejuvenation. The Elsey National Park also offers walking trails, picnic areas, and native flora and fauna to explore.
  2. Larrimah, NT (120 km south of Daly Waters): A small town with a unique history, Larrimah is home to the quirky Larrimah Museum and the Pink Panther Hotel, which offers a memorable outback experience.
  3. Katherine, NT (280 km north of Daly Waters): A regional hub with a range of attractions, including the stunning Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, the Katherine Hot Springs Reserve, and the fascinating Katherine School of the Air.
  4. Pine Creek, NT (400 km north of Daly Waters): A historic gold mining town, Pine Creek offers a glimpse into the region’s past with attractions such as the Pine Creek Railway Station, the Miners Park, and the Pine Creek Goldfields.
  5. Adelaide River, NT (500 km north of Daly Waters): A small town with a rich military history, Adelaide River is home to the Adelaide River War Cemetery and the Adelaide River Railway Heritage Precinct.
  6. Daly River, NT (270 km northwest of Daly Waters): Located near Litchfield National Park, Daly River offers a range of outdoor activities, including thermal springs, gorges, walking trails, and incredible fishing opportunities.
  7. Barunga, NT (380 km north of Daly Waters): A small Aboriginal community known for its annual Barunga Festival, which celebrates Indigenous culture through music, sport, and traditional arts.

Getting To Daly Waters, NT

To get to Daly Waters, NT Australia from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Darwin:

  • By bus: Greyhound Australia operates a bus service from Darwin to Daly Waters. The journey takes approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes.
  • By car: Drive south on the Stuart Highway for about 590 km. The drive takes approximately 6 hours and 3 minutes.

From Alice Springs:

  • By bus: Greyhound Australia operates a bus service from Alice Springs to Daly Waters. The journey takes approximately 13 hours and 10 minutes.
  • By car: Drive north on the Stuart Highway for about 915 km. The drive takes approximately 9 hours and 11 minutes.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Northern Territory Government’s public transport website (https://nt.gov.au/driving/public-transport-cycling) to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

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