Whoever said you can't swim in Darwin couldn't have been more wrong. On top of four public swimming pools and four dry-season patrolled beaches within 15 minutes of the CBD, Darwin and the surrounding area offers plenty of excellent – and some quite unique – swimming opportunities.
Start at the chic Darwin Waterfront, where you can grab a boogie board and ride the swell in the Wave Pool or hit the man-made beach at the Recreation Lagoon, where nets protect swimmers from marine stingers.
Families should make a beeline for Lake Alexander in the beautiful East Point Reserve. Filled with filtered seawater, the lake provides safe swimming in natural surroundings with picnic areas and playgrounds.
Kids of all ages love splashing about at Leanyer or Palmerston Water Parks, with huge waterslides, swimming pools and fantastic water playground with fountains, canons and a huge bucket that slowly fills and douses the playground when it overflows.
Pack your bathers when you visit Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin city. After learning all about crocodiles above water level you can eyeball one below it in the famous Cage of Death, a Perspex box that's lowered into the monstrous reptile's pool.
Pack a picnic or some meat to barbecue and head to Berry Springs Nature Park, a hugely popular day trip an hour from Darwin. Swim from one pool to the next via a pretty pandanus-lined creek and take your goggles to spot small fish and other aquatic life that live in the clear pools.
Spend a day experiencing this region's best-known natural swimming pools at Litchfield National Park, an hour and a half from Darwin. Glide through the clear pools of Wangi and Florence Falls to thundering double waterfalls, soak in the tired cascades at Buley Rockhole or jump in a four-wheel drive to experience the lesser-known Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek).