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Published on January 23rd, 2013 | by


Come to Australia’s Northern Territory

From wild sporting events to Aboriginal heritage celebrations, Australia’s Outback Northern Territory, has an action-packed calendar of events to watch or participate in.

Whether you are visiting the tropical Top End, including Darwin and Kakadu National Park, or the Red Centre, home to iconic Uluru (Ayers Rock), coincide your trip with a top Territory event. We’ve selected the best of the best in 2013.

Tiwi Islands Annual Football Art Sale, 17 March 2013
A ‘must’ for Aussie Rules Football lovers but also a fantastic chance to view and buy some fascinating Tiwi Island artwork.  An eagerly anticipated annual event that gives visitors the rare opportunity to explore the Tiwi Islands, located north of Darwin, without a permit.

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, 25 April – 31 October 2013
As the sun goes down in tropical Darwin in Australia’s Top End, head to Mindil Beach to experience the amazing atmosphere and flavour of these famous beach side markets. Wander amongst over 260 stalls and browse the huge variety of items on offer from indigenous art, sculpture and didgeridoos to clothing, and amazing food stalls. You can also relax with a massage or take in the array of live music and performance art. The markets are open every Thursday and Sunday evening between April and October.

Merrepen Arts Festival, 31 May – 2 June 2013
The annual Merrepen Arts Festival is held in the friendly community of Nauiyu, 240 kilometres south-west of Darwin, on the banks of the Daly River. The festival, which celebrates 25 years in 2012, hosts a combination of events over three days, including art sales and auctions, traditional music and dance, bush tucker tasting and a football and sporting carnival.

Alice Springs Beanie Festival, 21-24 June 2013
Tea pots, ships, birds and flowers – these aren’t beanie hats as we know it, they’re pieces of art. Celebrate this much loved woolly headwear at the annual Beanie Festival where there is no end to the fibre creativity! Music, crafts and fun bring together craftspeople from remote areas across the Northern Territory and beyond. Workshops, craft displays and a gala opening night is all part of the event and beanie wearing is essential for all attendees!

Barunga Cultural and Sports Festival, 7-10 June 2013
One of Australia’s longest-running Indigenous community festivals, learn about Aboriginal culture at the annual Barunga Festival. Held in this remote Aboriginal community near Katherine over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, the festival showcases sport, music, traditional dance, didgeridoo workshops, bush tucker and spear throwing demonstrations.

Lions Lasseters Camel Cup, 13 July 2013
A ‘must-see’ event in Alice Springs – watch brave riders whizz past the crowds on unpredictable camels. Camels veer off track, sit down mid race and occasionally reach the finish line! Created in 1970 as an unusual way to settle a bet between friends, camel racing is a fun day out and also includes rickshaw races and camel polo!

Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta, 7 July 2013
Build a boat entirely from aluminium beer cans and test your skills by sailing out into Darwin Harbour aboard your ‘tinny’ vessel. This ever-popular event is great to participate in but even more fun to watch. Catch the action at beautiful Mindil Beach as boats sink and splash in a struggle to reach the finish line.

Australia’s Outback Marathon, 27 July 2013
The route of the outback marathon cuts an impressive path through the heart of Australia’s Red Centre taking in views of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). With few sealed roads on the route, this marathon will push even experienced runners. Participants can complete several other stages aside from the official full marathon including a half-marathon, 11km and 6km.

Garma Festival, 9-12 August 2013
Gulkula in North East Arnhem Land is the setting for the Garma Festival – a vibrant celebration of indigenous practices and traditions includes dancing, singing and art. There are several categories of registration available for visitors who want to become more familiar with a culture that dates back over 40,000 years. It’s one of Australia’s most significant annual cultural exchange events.

Darwin Festival, 11-29 August 2013
The Northern Territory’s capital city celebrates the diversity of the region with an annual celebration packed full of local, national and international performances from theatre and music to film, dance and comedy. Darwin boasts the perfect weather for this 18 night extravaganza.

ASSA ABLOY Henley-On-Todd Regatta, Alice Springs, 17 August 2013
The Territory’s longest running iconic event, this is the outback’s answer to Henley-on-Thames! Bottomless handmade boats race down the dried up bed of the Todd River, Flintstone style. Have fun and enjoy the hilarity as you watch seemingly sane people race in bottomless ‘eights’, ‘oxford tubs’, ‘bath tubs’ and ‘yachts’ through the deep coarse sand in outback Alice Springs.

Alice Desert Festival, 9 August – 9 October 2013
The Alice Desert Festival is Central Australia’s premier arts and cultural festival, celebrating the desert and local culture. Indigenous musicians perform in the Bush Bands Bash, wild bush foods are harvested and cooked into succulent dishes and choirs sing amidst ancient desert landscapes of gorges and gaps.

Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, TBC
The premier national indigenous event on the arts agenda. Initiated by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in 1984, today the Award offers AU$56,000 worth of prize money; one of the highest for any art award in Australia. The Awards attract a broad range of artistic talent with upwards of 150 works selected for the exhibition from approximately 500 entries.

This exhibition showcases up-to-date developments in contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and attracts a range of indigenous artists from all parts of the country. The diversity and style of work submitted each year reflects the changing face of contemporary Aboriginal art practice.


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