Duane Preston for Darwin Festival

Credit: Duane Preston for Darwin Festival


Magical atmosphere + Top End vibes

Darwin folk are crazy for festivals, and the "jewel in the crown" is the Darwin Festival, an 18-day celebration of music, theatre, art, food, culture, dance, cabaret, and all that is fabulous about life in the Top End.

Locals love the buzz that descends on Darwin every August when the festival comes to town. It's a truly special time of the year where we get together and celebrate everything that makes living in Darwin so special. And, what's more, Australia's best Aboriginal art and music are showcased and celebrated at the same time. Bingo!

Seriously, if you can plan your trip to Darwin to coincide with festival, do it. Why? Read on....

By Libby Larsen

PS. You might also be interested in my articles - "The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Food Trucks on Darwin Harbour" and "8 Aboriginal Cultural Tours in the Top End".


1. For starters, the festival atmosphere is simply magical, just ask any local

Credit: Duane Preston for Darwin Festival (left), Duane Preston for Darwin Festival (right)

2. It's when our unique cultural soul truly shines

Credit: Darwin Festival (left), Iska Photography (right)

3. Everyone in town gets into the festival spirit

Credit: Darwin Festival Instagram (left) and @star_barber_darwin instagram (right)

4. Yep, everyone

Credit: City of Darwin Teddy Bears Picnic from Darwin Festival Facebook page

5. Especially these folk...

Credit: Darwin Festival Facebook and Instagram

6. Trust me, kids really... really love the festival

Credit: Photo of Amy Hetherington entertaining the kids at the Darwin Festival (left)

Credit for both pics: Elise Derwin for Darwin Festival

7. Adults too

Credit: Blanc de Blanc for Off The Leash (left), @valeriau_d1 (right)

8. As for venues, it doesn't get any better than the Festival's iconic open-air big top, The Lighthouse!

Credit: Duane Preston for Darwin Festival (left). Elise Derwin for Darwin Festival Instagram (right)

9. Seriously...

Credit: Duane Preston for Darwin Festival

10. But, let's not forget Festival Park - the place to meet up with friends and where locals bump into everyone they know

Credit: Growing Up Troppo (left), @LifeohLife (right)

11. It's where kids can be free, the vibe totally rocks and the food is seriously yummy

Credit: Growing Up Troppo (left), Elise Derwin for Darwin Festival (right)

12. Festival Park comes alive every night. There's simply no place quite like it.

Credit: Tourism NT (left), Darwin Festival Facebook (right)

13. And get this. August is also when Australia's BEST Aboriginal art is showcased in Darwin

Salon des Refuses (left) and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (right)

Credit: Matt Ward - Outstation Gallery and Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

14. The National Indigenous music awards are on

National Indigenous Music Awards - George Brown Botanical Gardens, Darwin

Credit: ABC.net (left), ABC.net (right)

15. And when locals flock to the Aboriginal Art Fair. The fabrics...OMG, totally divine!

From Country to Courture - Aboriginal Art Fair

Credit: Mel Brautigam, Savvy Social

16. To top it all off, being the Dry Season, the weather is glorious every single day, 100% guaranteed!

Credit: Darwin Festival (left)

We lament when it's over. It went so quickly.

But there's always next year!

Big Thanks

A picture tells 1,000 words. So, thanks so much to Darwin Festival, Mel Brautigam from Savvy Social, Matt Ward from Outstation Gallery, (who is also the guy behind Salon des Refuses with Paul Johnstone) and Star Barber Darwin for letting me use some their amazing Instagram and Facebook photos. Quite a few awesome pics were taken by Duane Preston and Elise Derwin for Darwin Festival.


More Info

Darwin Festival

Darwin Festival is held over 18 days and nights, with local and touring performances and events including outdoor concerts, workshops, theatre, dance music, comedy and cabaret, film and visual arts.

Outstation Gallery

Based in Parap, Darwin, Outstation workds directly with Aboriginal owned art centres. They present and promote contemporary Indigenous art from both emerging and established artists.

Aboriginal Art Fair

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair showcases contemporary fine art of over seventy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres at its annual event in Darwin.

Salon des Refuses

Every August the Salon des Refusés, held at Charles Darwin University Art Gallery, exhibits works submitted but not accepted into NATSIAA (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards). Its quality demonstrates the superb standard of art being created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, nationwide.


Libby Larsen - Growing up Troppo

Growing up Troppo provides honest travel advice tips and inspiration from parents about special and unique places to stay, play and eat with kids that parents love too!. Travel is and has always been, Libby's passion and she believes this shouldn't stop when you have kids.

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