WWII Tourism

During World War Two (WWII), Darwin became the first mainland site in Australia to come under direct attack from the enemy when it was the target of more than 64 Japanese air raids, causing huge devastation and many civilian casualties. The Top End played a key strategic role in the defence of Northern Australia and much of its unique military heritage is well preserved. Gun emplacements, oil storage tunnels, bunkers, military airstrips and lookout posts are scattered in and around the city. Most are easily accessible and many are free of charge. Visitors are encouraged to explore this fascinating and often overlooked chapter in Australia’s history. 

A national day of observance, now officially named Bombing of Darwin Day, is commemorated annually with a City of Darwin community event at the Darwin Cenotaph on the 19th of February. Many additional commemorative services take place across the Top End on or around this day, attracting visitors and locals who wish to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who lost their lives, and the courage of all who served in the defence of the Top End.

CoD BOD 75thAnniversary Logo CMYK tourism

 

   Click here for all the public events running over the Bombing of Darwin Day.

   On this page you will find information on WWII Attractions, Tours and History.   

 

 

Must do:

Take a journey back in time on a specialised WWII tour with Bombing of Darwin WWII Heritage Tour,  the Tour Tub, AAT Kings, Sea Darwin, Darwin Explorer, The Darwin History and Wartime Experience and Walk Darwin.

Visit Darwin Military Museum and Defence of Darwin Experience and Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility for an immersive, interactive, multimedia experience.

Follow the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels deep under Darwin city.

 

East Point Military Reserve

Originally established as Darwin’s main defence point to protect precious oil stores at Stokes Hill Wharf, 9.2 inch gun emplacements, an anti-submarine boom net, ammunition magazines, lookout towers, communication rooms, searchlight emplacements and command posts still stand in East Point Reserve, just eight kilometres from Darwin CBD along East Point Road.

 

Darwin Military Museum and Defence of Darwin Experience

Featuring a unique display of WWII memorabilia and wartime stories, the museum boasts fantastic relics, an extensive photograph collection, displays of war instruments and even restored guns constructed for use during the conflict. This is also the site of the amazing new Defence of Darwin Experience which provides visitors with an immersive, interactive, multimedia experience of the story of Darwin’s role in WWII. The museum is located within East Point Reserve and entry fees apply.

 

Charles Darwin National Park

This area was part of the network of military sites established during the development of Darwin as Australia’s northern defence line during WWII. The site has been restored to include an interactive display outlining Darwin’s role in the Pacific War. Charles Darwin National Park is approximately seven kilometres from Darwin along Tiger Brennan Drive. Gates are open from 8am-7pm.

 

WWII Oil Storage Tunnels

The WWII tunnels were constructed in 1943 to protect Darwin’s oil supplies. Photographic displays pay tribute to the men and women who served in Darwin during WWII. Self-guided tours are conducted daily. Please note the tunnels are closed December 1-27 and New Years Day. Entry fees apply.

 

Adelaide River War Cemetery

The only war cemetery in the Top End, this is the resting place for 434 service men and women and 63 civilians, all who died during the Japanese air raids. Situated on the north east banks of the Adelaide River approximately 120 kilometres south of Darwin, this special site is beautifully maintained amidst tranquil gardens.

 

Strauss Airstrip

The site, approximately 45 kilometres south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway, includes an information shelter and life-size cut-out plane images, and was an important landing strip used by American, British and Australian pilots involved in combat over Darwin and Fenton.

 

Australian Aviation Heritage Museum

From the WWII Spitfire to the B52 Bomber, the museum boasts an impressive presentation of aircraft and graphic displays depicting the Northern Territory’s long-standing involvement in aviation history.  Entry fees apply.

 

USS Peary Memorial/USAAF Memorial

Overlooking Darwin Harbour at Bicentennial Park on The Esplanade, the memorial is dedicated to the officers and crew of the USS Peary, which was attacked and sunk during the first Japanese air raid on Darwin. One of the guns later salvaged from the vessel now serves as a memorial to those lost in action. Also honoured here is Lieutenant Robert Buel, a United States Army Airforce pilot who lost his life on 16 February 1942 in an heroic attack on Japanese aircraft on a bombing raid over Darwin.

 

The Cenotaph/War Memorial

Overlooking Darwin Harbour in Bicentennial Park, the Cenotaph is Darwin’s memorial to those members of the armed services, rescue services, and civilian personnel who gave their lives in the service of their country in time of conflict. Flanking the Cenotaph, memorial plaques include dedications to the many who perished, as a consequence of the air raids on Darwin during WWII.

 

Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility

Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility - Two Iconic Territory Stories in One Iconic Location. Enjoy the heroic tales of the birth and growth of the RFDS and relive the drama of the Bombing of Darwin Harbour that rocked Australia in 1942.

 

Want to know more?

The Frontline Australia website has further detailed information about the history of the bombing of Darwin in 1942.

The Darwin History and Wartime Experience

The Darwin History and Wartime Experience

Locality: Darwin Region NT

Join us on a journey back through time in a genuine WW2 army truck to Relive Darwin's exciting and historic past!

Darwin Military Museum

Darwin Military Museum

Locality: Darwin Region NT

From the 1st November 2016 to 30th April 2017 the The Darwin Military Museum will open at 10am and will close at 3:30pm. Located at picturesque East Point R...

Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility

Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility

Locality: Darwin Region NT

Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility - Two Iconic Territory Stories in One Iconic Location. Enjoy the heroic tales of the birth and gr...

WW11 4RSU Tour at Pell Airstrip

WW11 4RSU Tour at Pell Airstrip

Locality: Adelaide River NT

Visit an actual WWII site - 4RSU. The Pell wartime airstrip is a significant and interesting landmark. It was named after Major Floyd Pell who was killed when t...

Darwin RSL

Darwin RSL

Locality: Darwin CBD NT

Bunkers Bistro at the darwins RSL in the heart of the CBD offers an extensive bistro-style menu at affordable prices. Come along and enjoy a meal in relaxed and...

AAT Kings Tours

AAT Kings Tours

Locality: Darwin Region NT

At AAT Kings we strive to represent the very best that Australia and New Zealand have to offer. Our people are warm, friendly, engaged and enthusiastic. We lo...

Bombing Of Darwin WWII Heritage Tours

Bombing Of Darwin WWII Heritage Tours

Locality: Darwin CBD NT

Darwin was devastated and Australia seriously threatened by the Japanese bombings in WW11. Journey back in time with this unique , personalised morning tour. S...

Darwin Explorer

Darwin Explorer

Locality: Darwin CBD NT

Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Double Decker Bus

WWII Oil Storage Tunnels

WWII Oil Storage Tunnels

Locality: Darwin CBD NT

Unique Darwin tourist attraction featuring World War II history. A must to visit.

Australian Aviation Heritage Centre

Australian Aviation Heritage Centre

Locality: Darwin Region NT

From Spitfire to B52 Bomber - an exciting experience in NT Aviation History!

Batchelor Museum

Batchelor Museum

Locality: Batchelor NT

The Batchelor Museum is predominately an interpretive museum. The displays cover Aboriginal history, Batchelor Farm, World War 11 and the Rum Jungle Uranium mi...

Tour Tub

Tour Tub

Locality: Darwin Region NT

Darwin's most comprehensive guided city sights tour. Travel on a locally owned and operated tour with guides who love Darwin and want to show you what it has t...