Northern Exposure

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Northern Exposure

Now is high (and dry) time to discover the history, culture and spectacular scenery of the Top End. Camp under the stars ‘swagman style’, paddle in a billabong, eyeball a croc at Kakadu National Park, watch the crazy Camel Cup in Alice Springs or sit back and enjoy alfresco movies at Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema. You could be forgiven for thinking that summer never ended. Mid-year also marks festival season in the Northern Territory, making it the perfect time to "head north".

darwin festival nt

Darwin Festival

7-24 August 2014

For 18 nights in August, the balmy Top End capital, Darwin, hosts this premier Indigenous and multi-cultural arts and culture festival. Local, national and international artists flock to town for hundreds of live shows, events, exhibitions and performances from concerts and comedy, to workshops and a huge opening weekend including: 

National Indigenous Music Awards: 9 August

Featuring a stellar line up of high profile Indigenous acts and emerging talent, this concert under the stars is a dry season highlight on the music and cultural calendar of the Top End and indeed the entire country. Visit the website.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair: 8-10 August 

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is a unique opportunity to purchase works at affordable prices from over 40 Aboriginal owned community art centres. Experience the rich diversity of these beautiful works from the country’s most remote desert and coastal regions to rural and urban communities. Visit the website.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA): 8 August - 26 October

The Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award is the nation’s premier Indigenous art award, showcasing art from the furthest reaches of remote Australia to inner urban areas. The Awards open on Friday 8 August at 6pm with performances and music on the lawns of the Museum and Art Gallery NT. See the art, meet the artists and enjoy the dry season ambiance. Visit the website.

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Darwin Beer Can Regatta

Darwin Beer-Can Regatta

6 July 2014

When it comes to races, the Northern Territory sure likes 'em quirky, take Darwin's annual Beer Can Regatta in July ... There's a packed program of events, from thong throwing and sand castle competitions, to tug-o-war and best boat judging. But the main drawcards are the home-made beer can boats that battle it out, sink, swim and sabotage the competition at Mindil Beach. 

The regatta started in 1975 as an inventive way to clean up the empty beer cans piling up from workers brought in to rebuild the city after Cyclone Tracy. Well, they do say necessity is the mother of invention. 

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Darwin Mindil Markets

Mindil Beach Markets

Mindil Markets run Thursdays 5 – 10pm from May to October. Smaller markets are held on Sunday 4 - 9pm during the season. 

One of Australia’s best markets, and definitely its most tropical one is Darwin's Mindil Markets. Browse the craft stalls for bargain souvenirs, and graze on some great Asian food stalls. Throw live music, street theatre and performance art into the mix and you’ve got Darwin’s top dry season attraction. If you’re lucky, you might catch a show-stopping performance of “didgeridoo dance” and each tune is to a magnetic indigenous dance off. But food is still foremost, and while there’s a definite Asian influence thanks to Darwin’s melting pot make-up, follow your nose and you’ll easily find European, Mexican, burgers or fish and chips. No trip to the markets is complete without visiting (if not sampling) the famous Road Kill Cafe with their catch cry "you kill it, we grill it". Then head beachside for Darwin’s greatest free show– sunset over the Arafura Sea.

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Darwin Deckchair Cinema

Darwin Deckchair Cinema

Runs seven nights a week from April through till November. 

Only in the Tropics – Darwin’s unique independent outdoor cinema, set to the stunning backdrop of Darwin Harbour. Enjoy the dry season, a range of movies often not seen in main stream multiplex cinemas. Sit back in your deckchair with a drink and a snack and try not to be distracted by the stars. 

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Alice Springs Henley on Todd

Red Centre Events

In the Red Centre, Alice Springs boasts not one but two race days with a difference. First up is the hotly contested Camel Cup on 12 July. Stick around for the hilarious Henley-on –Todd regatta on 16 August and watch the bottomless boats and bathtubs battle it out on the dry riverbed. If arts and entertainment are more your thing, check out DesertMob (4-19 September 2014) and Alice Desert Festival from 10-19 September 2014.

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