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Commemorate the anniversary of the Darwin Bombing (Feb 2023)

Uncover Darwin's military history and attend the anniversary memorial service
On 19 February 1942, World War II was brought to the shores of Australia. This poignant and fascinating tour will retrace key locations in the attack, important military history sites, and bring new life to the city that was lost that day. We'll also join the people of Darwin for the anniversary memorial event.
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4 nights
  • hotelAccommodation
  • restaurantSelected meals
  • local_activitySelected entry fees
  • free_breakfastDaily breakfast

About this holiday

Slide 1 of 3
The Darwin Military Museum is just one of the this tour's fascinating and emotional experiences.

On 19 February 1942, World War II was brought to the shores of Australia when the Japanese dropped bombs over Darwin. On this day 235 people, both armed forces personnel and civilians, lost their lives. Eleven ships were sunk and 30 aircraft destroyed. A section of the wharf was destroyed, killing 22 waterside workers. Over the next 21 months, Darwin, Adelaide River, Katherine and Milingimbi in Arnhem Land were bombed 77 times.

This tour will give you a whole new appreciation of this turbulent moment in history. Read on for the full day-by-day itinerary...


  • Services of an expert WWII Historian
  • All excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Commemorative service for the Bombing of Darwin Anniversary
  • Special night-time experience at the museum.
  • 4 nights’ 4-star accommodation
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned coach
  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • All entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Souvenir cap and document wallet
  • Welcome dinner



Comfortable 4 star standard hotels are used throughout this tour.

Travel dates

16 February 2023 - One departure only
  • Twin/Double Share price from $1999 per person
  • Solo prices from $2299

This tour commences and concludes in Darwin. Contact our team on 1300 414 198 and speak to one of our friendly consultants. We can assist you with flights, insurance and any other travel requirements.



Day 1 - Thursday, 16 February 2023 | Arrive Darwin

Welcome to Darwin! Upon arrival you will make your own way from Darwin airport to our hotel. This evening, at 6-00pm we will meet our Historian and fellow travellers in the lobby of the hotel and come together for a welcome drink, followed by dinner at the hotel restaurant. 

Included Meals: Welcome dinner

Day 2 - Friday, 17 February 2023 | Darwin Sightseeing

Today we will tour some of the key historic sites of Darwin including Stokes Hill (a major target during the war), Fort Hill Wharf, Doctor’s Gully flying boat base, and the World War II oil storage tunnels. We will also visit Christ Church Cathedral, where the portico added in 1944 was built as a memorial to those who died whilst on active service in the Northern Territory during World War II. Opposite the Cathedral is where the Government Offices Blocks 4 to 7, were located. They were demolished to make way for the Supreme Court and car parking spaces. Afterwards we will see Government House and visit Parliament House; the latter being built on the site of the Post Office, heavily bombed in the first raid, resulting in the death of many staff.

This afternoon we will see more of Darwin’s historic sites including the Darwin Military Museum situated in the East Point Nature Reserve. The museum was originally established as an artillery museum to exhibit photographs and artefacts from Darwin’s history during WWII. The Museum now has large exhibits of items from the war, including Navy, Army and Air Force items from Australian, US and other armed forces. Its setting is, appropriately, amongst concrete gun emplacements and other fortifications in an area that was one of the most heavily fortified parts of Australia during the war. We will then move on to the Defence of Darwin Experience, adjacent to the Darwin Military Museum. This is an interactive exhibition space that tells the story of the Bombing of Darwin through an immersive, multi-media experience from the period 1932 to 1945.

This evening we will get to know our fellow travellers and Historian on the grounds of the Darwin Military Museum and take part in a special night time experience at the museum.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Saturday, 18 February 2023 | Darwin Sightseeing

Today we will venture further afield to explore the historic sites that surround Darwin. These include the region’s WWII airfields (specific visits will be subject to road conditions). We will then visit the Snake Creek Explosives Storage Dump, some two kilometres to the north of Adelaide River. Following this, we will head to Adelaide River War Cemetery, where many of the victims of the first bombing were buried. After 1941 this area down to and including Katherine became an important military area. A major reason for this was the railway, which after the bombing of Darwin provided a supply line to replace the precarious sea link. We will enjoy a picnic lunch today before returning to Darwin City.

 Included Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch

Day 4 - Sunday, 19 February 2023 | 81st Anniversary Bombing of Darwin

Today we will join the township of Darwin in commemorating the 81st Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin.

Program of the official commemoration*

  • 08:15 USS Memorial Service at The Esplanade
  • 09.00 Transfer to the Cenotaph
  • 09:30 Bombing of Darwin Day Commemorative Service
  • 10:45 End of service

*Subject to change. Guests will receive further information closer to the date

Immediately after the service we will travel to Stokes Hill Wharf to board the Sea Darwin ‘Bombing of Darwin Cruise’ – a unique opportunity to go back in time on a journey along Darwin’s seascape as we hear stories and take in Darwin’s WWll maritime sites. This afternoon we will continue to the Darwin Aviation Museum, located on the outskirts of the city along the Stuart Highway. This is one of the major aviation museums in Australia. The Centre has an impressive presentation of aircraft and displays depicting the Territory’s involvement in aviation, both civil and military, from early pioneers and record breakers through World War II and the jet age. The major display item is a massive B-52 bomber on permanent loan from the United States Air Force; one of only two on public display in the world outside the USA. We will return to the hotel to rest, then depart for a late afternoon visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Museum. Not only will we learn about the Royal Flying Doctor Service founded by the Reverend John Flynn in the Northern Territory in 1939, but also the bombing of Darwin harbour in 1942.

After the museum, we will enjoy some time to relax at the nearby at Stokes Hill Wharf before enjoying a final farewell dinner together. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Day 5 - Monday, 20 February 2023 | Depart Darwin

This morning the tour will finish after breakfast. The day will be at leisure to meet any onward travel arrangements. The journey may be over but the memories will last a lifetime.

Included meals: Breakfast

Note: Every effort is made to adhere to the advertised itinerary, occasionally circumstances beyond our contract will force changes, modifications or amendments to the itinerary.In addition, your Historian may alter the sites visited on each day to suit local conditions. Any changes will be advised closer to the time of departure.

The departure of this tour is based on a minimum number of passengers travelling.


Is Travel Insurance compulsory?

Yes it is a condition of travel on this tour that each passenger is adequately covered by an appropriate travel insurance policy. We strongly advise taking out Travel Insurance at the time of making your booking to provide full cover. If you would like a competitive quote, please call our travel team on 1300 414 198.

Do I have to wear a mask on tour?
  • Touring staff and passengers will be required to wear face masks where mandated by local regulations.
Supplier proof of COVID-19 vaccination for staff, passengers and in-country partners
  • All Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours’ historians, guides, and coach drivers will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Passengers travelling with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours are required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination. This will be requested by our reservations team at the time of final tour payment.
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Fine print


Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply

Deposit required to secure booking, final payment due no later than 120 days prior to travel.