4 Northern Territory Festivals To Get You Excited About Travel To The Top End

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Tis’ the season of Northern Territory festivals.

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Spectacular gorges, a rich Aboriginal culture, red earth, and weather that sits in the mid-to-high-30’s year-round – what’s not to love about Australia’s northern state? There’s so much natural beauty to explore in the region, best done at a time that coincides with one of the many popular events and festivals that take place annually.

Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to travel to the Top End right now or have to wait just a wee bit longer, these four Northern Territory festivals are ones to be experienced at least once in your lifetime.

Darwin Festival

Northern territory festivals Darwin Festival
Source: Darwin Festival 2017

The Top End will come alive from the 6-19 of August when the annual Darwin Festival lands in town. It’s the first major capital city festival to take place since the COVID-19 shutdowns, and what a festival it will be.

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This year, expect to see a whole host of homegrown talent grace the many stages with plenty of exciting live and virtual events spanning theatre, music, comedy, cabaret, visual arts and more. With performers like the Eurovision: Australia Decides runner-ups, Electric Fields, and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra on the bill, the festival proves to be as eclectic as it is exciting.

For a truly special experience, Darwin residents can apply to have a ‘Distanced Duet‘ intimate show performed at their own home. Just choose the duet you’d like to play, fill out the form, and invite a handful of close friends to share in the experience.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair

Northern territory festivals Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair
Source: Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation

In a COVID-free world, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) takes place at the Darwin Convention Centre on Larrakia country. This year, the festival – which falls under the Darwin Festival banner – has had to go digital. In its 14th year, the festival will be bringing over 70 Indigenous owned and operated art centres, and over 2000 artists, to you at home.

Set to run for nine days from 6-14 August, DAAF is the perfect opportunity to connect with and learn more about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures around Australia through the medium of art. The online format of the festival not only allows art lovers to buy phenomenal artworks direct from the artists, but it opens up access to a host of online cultural talks, masterclasses, and performances, including a performance from the Mornington Island Dancers (August 10) and a coiled basket weaving masterclass (August 11).

To be a part of the festival and get your hands on some incredible paintings, fashion, and crafts, register here.

Parrtjima Festival

Parrtjima Festival Northern Territory
Source: Parrtjima Australia

After a slight set back earlier in the year, the Parrtjima Festival has been rescheduled and is set to dazzle visitors to Alice Springs from 11-20 September. The ten festival brightens up the heart of Australia through the use of story, art, landscape, and light, celebrating Aboriginal culture and sharing their connection to the country with visitors.

This year, the Parrtjima festival’s focus is on water, the cosmos, and country.

Under a glittering starry sky, the magnificent MacDonnell ranges will glow with the collaborative light works of the Parrtjima Festival and local Aboriginal communities. All the artworks that will be on display come from a call out to 40 Aboriginal art centres and include work by artists from Arrernte, Luritja, Anmatyerre, Warlpiri and Pitjantjatjara Nations. It’s a deeply moving celebration of Aboriginal art, delivered in a modern format.

Red CentreNATS

Northern territory festivals Red CentreNATS
Source: Aria Ferguson

This one is reserved for the rev heads.

All roads lead to Alice Springs over the Father’s Day weekend (4-7 September), when the Red CentreNATS rolls into town. The car-centric, fuel-filled festival is the state’s very own version of the streetcar summerNATS, promising three full days of car showcasing and competition.

Tap into your inner speed demon with a seat at the drag competition, or watch the smoke clouds rise at the burnout challenge. It’s not all speed and grunt though, with the all-famous car-cruising street parade, the show ‘n’ shine, some 4WD-ing, a motorkhana and more also happening over the weekend.

Feature image: Parrtjima Australia

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See more: Australia travel

4 Northern Territory Festivals To Get You Excited About Travel To The Top End

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