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Cruising Article – 2011-06-07

The natural scenery and colonial history of Darwin, Australia

Australian cruise destinations

Australia's Top End is famous for its gorgeous natural scenery, ranging from scenic beaches to the vast and arid expanses of the Outback. The city of Darwin will serve as your gateway to this incredible destination when you go on a shore excursion during an Australian cruise.

One major attraction near Darwin is Litchfield National Park, a famous reserve known for its massive termite mounds. Once you are done looking at these marvels of the insect world, explore the park's lush monsoon rainforests and check out its gushing waterfalls pouring from the edge of a sandstone plateau.

Another natural feature in the area is the Territory Wildlife Park. This is the perfect attraction if you want to see some of Australia's unique fauna, as it is home to everything from birds of prey and cranes to crocodiles and dingoes. If you would rather check out the Top End's plant life, you will want to pay a visit to the Darwin Botanical Gardens. Here, you can see a wide and diverse array of plants that come from Australia and other countries all over the world, all artfully arranged by skilled landscapers.

To get more in-depth information about the natural setting of Darwin, pay a visit to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. This amazing facility's collection includes 1.2 million specimens, giving you plenty of insight into the region's natural history. In addition to this collection, however, the museum also holds more than 30,000 items relating to art, offering you a glimpse of Darwin's culture as well.

Darwin has several attractions that are ideal for those who want to learn about history. Parliament House is the seat of government for the Northern Territory, and here you can learn about the building's historical site. Meanwhile, the Lyons Cottage once held staff of the British and American Telegraph Company, allowing you to see both colonial architecture and the way in which Australia was linked to the rest of the world in early modern times. The Fanny Bay Gaol Museum offers you information on Darwin's past as a destination for convicts, featuring displays about the area's time as a penal colony.

At the end of your shore excursion, take in the sights on a harbor cruise around Darwin, as this allows you to soak up the amazing ocean scenery of the beautiful Top End.