Chasing the Sunset with Darwin Harbour Cruises

Without a doubt one of the most impressive and beautiful things about Darwin is it’s sunsets.

Every night the sun sets over the ocean, creating the most beautiful pallet of colours in the sky. Even on days when we’ve thought it might be a little bit cloudy during the day, the clouds seem to magically disappear a couple of hours before the sun sets, giving you a beautiful clear sky and an incredible natural light show.

There are lots of different ways to check out the sunset in Darwin, from all different places around the city, but one of our favourites was onboard Darwin Harbour Cruises, with a nice slow cruise around the harbour. Setting off from Stokes Hill Wharf, this is a great way to spend the evening in Darwin.

darwin harbour cruises

The Charles Darwin Sunset Cruise

We boarded the cruise at 5:30pm and were shown to our table on the top deck. It was the perfect spot for sunset viewing. To reserve yourself a table you need to pre-order a platter from the sharing menu before the cruise. If you don’t have a platter reserved you’re directed to the middle Bridge Deck to begin the cruise, where you can also find the bar and some air-conditioning, a welcome relief when Darwin is really bringing the humidity.

We would definitely recommend organising a share platter in advance, as it gives you a guaranteed table in the best sunset viewing area on the boat (in our opinion). There is quite a big selection of platters to choose from, with all kinds of options including antipasto, cheese platters and seafood platters to try. If you choose not to order anything you can still head up to the top deck when the sun is setting.

darwin harbour cruises

As we departed the dock we were treated to some great commentary and insights into Darwin and it’s history, particularly everything it went through during World War II. There is some insane history in Darwin, it was attacked more than 60 times and hundreds of people were killed in the bombings during the war. It was the largest attack Australia has ever endured and it completely left the city of Darwin in ruins.

Our commentator was so entertaining, and he pointed out lots of different places around the harbour telling us their stories and significance. It’s a great perspective to see Darwin from that you usually wouldn’t get to see. We floated out to the horizon where we watched the sun slowly set, changing the colours of the sky into a beautiful array of orange, pink and yellow. Every sunset is special, but there is just something so incredible about the ones in Darwin, they don’t get any better.

Once the sun had set we slowly took our time drifting back to the wharf under the fairy lights of the boat. The bar is open all night while you’re on the boat, so you can enjoy a couple more cheeky beers or wines after the sun has set. If you didn’t order anything before the cruise you can still order one or some nibbles once you’re on board, so there are lots of options if you get a bit hungry.

darwin harbour cruises

The Buffet Dinner

To really make the most of the sunset cruise, you can also choose the sunset dinner option on board the Charles Darwin, where you are treated to a delicious Territory style dinner during the cruise, with Australian seafood and local produce. The dinner is served on the Captain’s Deck, the ground level of the ship, with some lucky guests able to sit outside right at the front of the boat.

The buffet offers a really delicious spread, with everything from oysters and Northern Territory reef fish, to seared beef, mango chicken and a whole range of salads. After dinner there is also a delicious desert of tropical fresh fruit, cakes and crumbles and ice-cream to really top off the night.

If you choose the dinner option you’re still also able to access the top Sun Deck of the catamaran, so you can see the sunset with unobstructed views as it goes down. The dinner option definitely makes the most of your time in the harbour and is just such a lovely evening.

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darwin harbour cruises

Darwin Harbour Cruises Booking Information

When: The Charles Darwin sunset cruise is currently running on Saturday nights, from 6pm until 8:30pm each week. Check out their website to see if any other dates have been added.

Price: Tickets start from $64 per adult for the sunset cruise or $110 per adult for the sunset dinner cruise.

For more information head to the Darwin Harbour Cruises website.

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We joined the Darwin Harbour Cruise as guests of Journey Beyond. All opinions are, as always, our own.

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Emma is a travel writer, photographer and blogger, chasing the sun around Australia. Travelling in her recently renovated vintage Viscount caravan, along with her husband Thom and daughter Macey, she's sharing the very best experiences from around her beloved sunburnt country.

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