Festival time in the Northern Territory

The Top End comes alive with a vast array of events.

The dry season (May to October) is great time to visit the Northern Territory to enjoy the great “winter” weather and a long list of festivals and events to suit all tastes.

Darwin International Film Festival

Darwin, 2 May-26 September

Darwin International Film Festival showcases the best of local, national and international film, with a focus on south-east Asian cinema, northern Australia and Indigenous stories. Film buffs are invited to experience Darwin’s unique film culture and everything the city has to offer, from unmatched sunsets, balmy tropical weather to its thriving dining scene. 

Garma Festival

Arnhem Land, 30 July-2 August

Garma Festival is the largest and most vibrant annual celebration of Yolngu culture. Bringing together leaders, academics, journalists and travellers to learn about the Aboriginal people of north-east Arnhem Land, the four-day festival incorporates ancient storytelling, dance, music, forms and an outdoor art exhibition.  

Darwin Festival 

Darwin, 5-22 August

In August, the streets of Australia’s only tropical capital city are transformed into a vibrant celebration of art, music, theatre and dance. Over 18 balmy nights, the festival offers a program rich with local, national and international talent and celebrates First Nations culture with event highlights including National Indigenous Music Awards (7 August), Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award (7 August onwards) Country to Couture (3 August) and the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (4 August).

Freedom Day Festival

Gurindji Country, 27-29 August

Every August people from all walks of life make the pilgrimage to Gurindji Country in the heart of the Northern Territory to celebrate Aboriginal Land Rights and unity for a positive future. This year marks the event’s 55th anniversary of the event and travellers can expect an unforgettable weekend of arts, sports, amazing cultural experiences and incredible music.

Red CentreNATS

Alice Springs, 3-5 September

The ultimate festival of wheels returns to the Red Centre. The three-day festival will showcase the best in street machines, elite show cars, hot rods, classics and exotic vehicles with an entertaining program, including street cruising and drag racing. 

Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta

Darwin, 5 September

Established in 1974, the iconic annual Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta is a Top End family favourite. Teams race boats constructed from beer cans to plastic bottles and milk cartons along Mindil Beach into the water and hope their DIY dinghies make it to the finish line. The day also includes sandcastle competitions, running races, thong throwing and more. 

Plan your Northern Territory holiday with RACQ Travel (1300 888 449)