There’s nowhere quite like the Northern Territory… It’s a land is full of incredible wildlife, stunning scenery and of course, fascinating culture. There are hidden gorges to explore, Indigenous dreaming to discover and some great festivals to enjoy.
Don’t miss out on discovering all this and more on your next NT trip! Check out our pick of the best cultural experiences in the Northern Territory below.
The Red Centre has tons of great experiences in Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Alice Springs and beyond! Whatever you choose to do, you can be sure you’ll leave with a greater understanding of Indigenous culture and insight into local life.
The Beanie Festival – Alice Springs
The Alice Springs Beanie Festival is a community arts event like no other. For one weekend, cultural precinct Araluen transforms into an oasis of colourful hats and creative designs. It’s an opportunity for artists from Indigenous communities and the wider community to make, exhibit and sell beanies. The beanies can also be entered into the Beanie Competition and there are some seriously crazy designs to see. There are also knitting, crocheting and felting workshops to enjoy and you can take home a knitted souvenir from ‘Beanie Central.’
The 2019 Beanie Festival will run from 28 June – 1 July.
Maruku Arts Dot Painting Workshop – Uluru
This is a great introduction to Aboriginal art and painting. You’ll learn all about the history and dreaming stories of the area from local Anangu artists and about the ancient symbols used in Anangu art. You’ll be taught some introductory Pitjantjatjara words and will even get the chance to create your own dot painting! Afterward, make sure you pay a visit to the Maruku Gallery to have a look at the local art available for sale.
Uluru Cultural Centre and Base Walk – Uluru
Combining these two attractions is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture and history! At the Cultural Centre, you’ll learn about Anangu culture, the native flora and fauna, and Uluru’s history through exciting exhibits and presentations from rangers and Anangu locals. Then, on the base walk, see some of the things you’ve just learnt about! The Base Walk can be done yourself, or you can choose to complete it with a guide for some extra insight.
The Top End has no shortage of awesome adventures and experiences! It’s a land like no other, with hidden treasures and discoveries around every corner. Music, art, and dance abound in local festivals and there’s even the chance to try bush tucker and see traditional rock art. And that’s just the start!
Top Didj Cultural Experience – Katherine
This your chance to learn all about Indigenous art and ancient traditions and techniques. Top End Aboriginal artist Manuel Pamkal will teach you about aboriginal culture, including the weapons used to hunt, different painting styles and how to live off the land. Manuel draws from his own experiences so it’s a very special tour. Hear about growing up in the bush, tribal life and Manuel’s own family tree! Manuel will also teach you the technique of Rarrk painting, as well as spear throwing and ancient fire lighting!
Tours run for 2-2.5 hours, twice a day.
Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock – Kakadu National Park
This is the spot to come to discover some of the world’s oldest and most impressive rock art. Plus, there are incredible views to enjoy over the Arnhem Land escarpment.
This site has served as a canvas for thousands of years and the paintings document all parts of Australian history, from life from 20,000 years ago to the first contact with European explorers. Take the 1.5 km Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art walk and enjoy a visual journey through time! See paintings of Namarrgon (lightning man), depictions of European sailing ships as well as images of animals. If you want to learn even more, come during the dry season when rangers run guided walks and talks.
Mahbilil Festival – Jabiru, Kakadu National Park
Once a year, Jabiru transforms into a hub of music, dance, and art. This is an explosion of culture you don’t want to miss!
The festival celebrates Kakadu culture and gives visitors the chance to learn more about the area and its rich history.
There’s live music, traditional dance and art performances, and tons of activities to enjoy. You can try cultural activities like spear throwing and damper making and learn how to cook magpie goose at a bushfood cooking workshop! It’s a great way to gain an insight into the local culture and history while having tons of fun at the same time.
Darwin Festival – Darwin
Another great Top End festival that packed with fun and flavour! This 18-day extravaganza is a celebration of everything that makes the Top End great.
There’s never a dull moment, with music, art, dance, theatre and cabaret shows on every night, as well as free performances across the city. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try Darwin’s best food and drink as you soak up the infectious atmosphere.
There you have it, our top cultural activities in the Nothern Territory. Add a few or even all of them to your next NT trip itinerary! You won’t regret it!