Sunday 16 June 2024

What's New in the NT





NEWS AND NEW PRODUCT FROM THE NT





Experience the Northern Territory at its balmy autumn best. As the southern states bundle up for winter, the Territory brims with temperate weather, azure skies, postcard-worthy sunsets, Aboriginal cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and eclectic festivals, events and markets.

From the tropical Top End to the iconic Red Centre, the Territory beckons travellers seeking an epic holiday that is different in every sense.

There's a diverse range of new experiences available in the Territory, including luxury-adventure experience Heli-foraging, day trips and cultural experiences in Arnhem Land, adventure tours in Kakadu, and native high tea and projection shows in Australia's spiritual heart, Uluru.



LATEST NEWS


TOP END TEEN SNAGS 'MILLION DOLLAR FISH'
Top End
A 19-year old Katherine man has snagged the catch of a lifetime, reeling in the Northern Territory's prized million-dollar barramundi during Season 9 of Million Dollar Fish. Keegan Payne was on a fishing trip in the early hours of the morning at Katherine River when he reeled in the flashy fish. Each season, the competition sees more than 100 red-tagged fish released into Darwin, Katherine, Arnhem Land, Kakadu and Tiwi Islands waterways. Some are worth a million dollars while the rest are worth $10,000. Season 10 of Million Dollar Fish kicks off later this year.

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MAJOR EVENTS ENLIVEN THE TOP END
Darwin and Kakadu
The Top End's epic events season has kicked off, as major festivals in May attracted thousands of punters for celebrations of music, food, culture and art. More than 16,000 music-lovers converged on Darwin's iconic Mindil Beach on 18 May 2024 for the Territory's biggest music festival - BASSINTHEGRASS, which this year featured 42 international and Australian acts including US superstar, Macklemore. Karrimanjbekkan An-me Kakadu (Taste of Kakadu) also returned to Australia's second largest national park from 24-26 May 2024, delivering a sensational journey of the senses. Meanwhile, the streets of Darwin came alive for the eighth edition of the Darwin Street Art Festival - now the most awarded street art festival in Australia. This year's program saw over 20 new murals added to Darwin's already 100-strong collection of street art works, as well as free screenings, exhibitions and community workshops.

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NEW FUNDING FOR ABORIGINAL TOURISM
Northern Territory
The Territory Government, together with the Australian Government, recently announced $6 million in new funding to deliver strategic Indigenous tourism projects in the Northern Territory. The funding includes $2 million towards the Aboriginal Tourism Grant Program to help NT Aboriginal businesses and organisations develop bookable Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences.

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‘MILLION DOLLAR ROAD TRIP NT’ LAUNCHES
Northern Territory
Travellers to the Northern Territory seeking their ultimate drive holiday also have the chance to win $1 million by entering the inaugural Million Dollar Road Trip NT. A partnership between Tourism NT and the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, Million Dollar Road Trip NT aims to reach over one million Australians and deliver 5,000 unique competition entries. Running until 30 September 2024, the competition is open to self-drive travellers who stay at participating NT caravan parks, visit local NT Visitor Information Centres and purchase participating tourism experiences or attractions in the Territory. Runner-up prizes include $10,000 plus a $500 fuel voucher, or one of 19 $500 fuel vouchers.

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TOURISM NT RELEASES SUSTAINABLE TOURISM CASE STUDIES
Northern Territory
Tourism NT has released its Sustainable Tourism Case Study Kit for 2024, highlighting some of the leaders in sustainable tourism across the Top End and Red Centre. From eco-certified off-grid retreats, to multi-day hikes and walking tours, the Kit features 15 bookable tourism experiences that show how tourism can support environmental, economic and cultural sustainability.

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NEW DARWIN AIRPORT RESORT WINS THREE HOSPITALITY NT AWARDS
Darwin
Darwin Airport Resort recently won three accolades at the Hospitality NT Awards for Excellence 2024.The Resort, which launched in December 2023 following a $30 million upgrade and integration of the adjacent Novotel and Mercure hotels, won awards for: Best Superior Accommodation; Best Redeveloped Accommodation Hotel; and Best Overall Accommodation Hotel. The resort features a new 61-metre, one million-litre swimming pool – one of the largest hotel pools in Australia, as well as poolside cabanas, a children’s aquatic playground, freestanding bungalows, and new five-star tropical pool villas with their own plunge pools.

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BULLO RIVER STATION JOINS LUXURY LODGES OF AUSTRALIA
Bullo River
Luxury Lodges of Australia has announced that Bullo River Station is joining its collection of luxury lodges and camps offering distinctively Australian, high-end experiences and hospitality across the continent. Luxury Lodges of Australia Executive Chair, Penny Rafferty, said: “The Bullo experience is distinctively Australian: raw yet refined, vast yet intimate, understated yet luxurious by virtue of access to the land and the genuine hospitality of the hosts.”

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WHAT'S NEW IN THE NT



NEW ACCOMMODATION



NEW CABINS AT DISCOVERY PARKS – KATHERINE
Katherine
Discovery Parks – Katherine has unveiled 13 new deluxe two-bedroom cabins following a $10 million renovation. The lodgings feature full kitchens and elevated balconies overlooking a new resort-style pool and barbeque area. Situated 15-minutes’ drive from the pristine Nitmiluk Gorge, the cabins are the perfect spot for Top End relaxation and rejuvenation. Katherine recently ranked #4 on the 2024 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Awards.

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NEW POP-UP TENTS IN KAKADU
Kakadu
A new pop-up camping experience at Kakadu will be available from autumn 2024. From $79 per night, guests can enjoy a camping experience without the hassle in this dual World Heritage-Listed wonder. The semi-permanent tents are equipped with two camp beds and linen. The tents are ideal for groups, with guests having access to all of the facilities at Cooinda Lodge.

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LITCHFIELD BOOSTS CAMPING SITES
Litchfield
Litchfield National Park will welcome tourists to its new campgrounds from winter 2024. Situated close to stunning waterholes and secluded hiking trails, these new campgrounds mark completion of the $17.5 million Turbocharging Tourism project, which has added 32 new campsites across three Litchfield camping areas. Each of the campgrounds offer something unique for visitors – from direct access to a spring-fed creek, to family-friendly bush camping just a short walk from the water.

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NEW FOOD & DRINK



‘AUSTRALIAN NATIVE HIGH TEA’ IN ULURU
Uluru
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia will launch a new Australian Native High Tea experience at Ayers Rock Resort from 1 August 2024. One for the foodies, this culinary experience celebrates native ingredients sourced from the Red Centre and around the country. Each afternoon, guests can sample a selection of handmade sweet petit fours and savoury light bites together with fine teas, coffees and Australian sparkling wines, showcasing the unique culinary heritage of Australia.

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NEW WATERFRONT BAR SET TO OPEN IN JUNE
Darwin
A new million-dollar waterfront bar-restaurant is set to open this June on Darwin’s much-loved Stokes Hill Wharf. Dock One Bar will be housed in two 40-foot shipping containers, with a cantilevered deck facing west across Darwin Harbour. With a contemporary fresh ocean feel and whitewashed walls, the venue will be the only bar in Darwin to face back at the sunset while being on the water. Dock One Bar is the brainchild of Darren Lynch who owns popular Darwin restaurants Wharf One and Bella Fresh Pasta, as well as The Precinct Tavern.

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DARWIN’S CAFÉ BOOM CONTINUES
Darwin
Darwin’s burgeoning café scene has continued to grow with the opening of two new CBD cafés showcasing East Asian influences. Meow Waffee in Darwin’s Vic Arcade has opened its doors, serving signature meow waffles and speciality Code Black Coffee made by an award-winning barista. They also serve sweet and savoury waffles, as well as Taiwanese and Japanese desserts, including Japanese Soufflé pancakes – all of which are made fresh from scratch daily. New CBD café Perk and Palate has also launched to rave reviews with its elevated mix of premium coffees and Filipino-inspired all-day brunches. The café’s barista, Lucky Cabrera Salvador, was recently runner-up at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo’s Australia’s Richest Barista Championship.

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‘THE CROC’ REOPENS ‘MANJMUKMUK’ IN KAKADU
Kakadu
Kakadu’s iconic Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel has revamped its restaurant, Manjmukmuk. The reopening adds a taste of Kakadu to Manjmukmuk’s menu through bush tucker-influenced cuisine including NT barramundi, buffalo and kangaroo. Locally-inspired drinks include green ant gins and non-alcoholic Bellinis made from Kakadu native peach. An outdoor ground oven is now also available for groups and events, providing more dining options for travellers to Kakadu.

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NEW EXPERIENCES



LUXURY-ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE: ‘HELI-FORAGING’
Darwin, Litchfield and Finniss River
The Top End’s climate isn’t made for winemaking, but it does allow for gin distilling! Enter Darwin Distilling Co’s newest luxury-adventure experience: Heli-Foraging. A unique Territory experience, guests depart Darwin in a helicopter – flying over iconic Top End floodplains, escarpments and the spectacular Litchfield National Park. Guests have the option to stop and swim at a secluded Litchfield waterfall before flying on to luxury outback stay, Finniss River Lodge. Once landed, they’ll explore a 50,000-acre cattle station and board an airboat to forage for native botanicals like quinine, paperbark, waterlily and more. Guests then helicopter back to gin bar and restaurant, Charlie’s of Darwin, for a gourmet lunch, gin distilling lesson, and a 500ml bottle of botanical gin.

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‘SUNRISE JOURNEYS’ SET TO LAUNCH IN ULURU
Uluru
Following the launch of Wintjiri Wiru last year, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is launching a new Indigenous-inspired, culturally immersive projection experience at Ayers Rock Resort from 1 August 2024. The desert will become a canvas for the two-and-a-half-hour Sunrise Journeys – a collaboration between local Anangu artists, musicians and an expert visual experience creator. A bespoke Indigenous artwork will be recreated using cutting-edge lasers and projections, accompanied by music, soundscapes and melodic narration in local language. Following the display, guests will enjoy a hearty breakfast of native flavours paired with Australian chai tea.

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‘CULTURE OF KAKADU’ TOUR
Kakadu
Indigenous-owned Kakadu Tourism has launched a new Culture of Kakadu afternoon tour, allowing travellers to enjoy Kakadu’s cooler hours and spectacular sunsets. The five-hour tour facilitates a profound cultural journey into Indigenous Australian life with Kakadu’s Traditional Owners. Guests will discover the region’s rich history, culture and bush tucker, as well as learning traditional art and weaving. The tour concludes at the breathtaking Nawurlandja Lookout, offering stunning sunset views over Kakadu and the ancient Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art site.

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OVERNIGHT ‘KAKADU BILLABONG SAFARI CAMP’ WITH TRADITIONAL OWNERS
Kakadu
For the first time, visitors to Kakadu can glamp overnight on Country with some of Kakadu’s Traditional Owners. A new all-inclusive overnight package at Kakadu Billabong Safari Camp offers travellers a cultural induction to Patonga community, a cooked dinner and breakfast, and accommodation in an off-grid safari tent with a queen-sized bed. Guests will be taught how to forage and hunt for bush tucker, ground oven cooking, traditional arts and weaving, and local language. They will also learn how the family group of the Murumburr Clan manage the landscape and wildlife as their ancestors have done for generations.

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NEW ON-COUNTRY DAY TRIPS IN ARNHEM LAND
Arnhem Land
In another first, travellers to East Arnhem Land can take day visits to Bawaka Homelands, including accessing the site’s private facilities and pristine beaches such as the iconic Lonely Beach. Bawaka is a small community located an hour’s drive from Nhulunbuy with beautiful landscapes, rainforest walks and views overlooking the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is the ancestral land of the Gumatj people: the Yunupiŋu, Burarrwaŋa and Mununggurritj families. Bawaka’s new day trips add to their overnight stays and guided cultural experiences.

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‘RED EARTH ROAMING’ LAUNCHES IN ALICE SPRINGS
Alice Springs and surrounds
A new touring company has joined the roster of expert travel guides in Alice Springs. Red Earth Roaming offers immersive adventures through the stunning East and West MacDonnell Ranges, including day tours, camping, hiking and private charters. Their tours enable travellers to relax, unwind and connect with the unique Red Centre environment in small intimate groups – learning about local cultures, history, fauna, flora and geology in a sustainable way.

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NEW DAY TOURS FROM DARWIN TO ARNHEM LAND
Arnhem Land and Kakadu
This year, for the first time, travellers can take day tours from Darwin to beautiful Arnhem Land, thanks to a new collaboration between Kakadu Air and Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris. Departing Darwin, guests enjoy a 90-minute scenic flight over Kakadu before landing at Davidson’s, a remote off-grid lodge nestled against the Arnhem Land escarpment. From Davidson’s, guests take a four-wheel drive tour through stone country and monsoonal rainforests, before cruising along the pristine waters of Cooper Creek towards scared site, Mount Borradaile. A guided bush walk follows, as well as a visit to ancient rock art, before a morning tea is served overlooking the floodplains. Guests then return to Davidson’s for a gourmet two-course lunch, before flying back to Darwin later in the afternoon.

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UPCOMING EVENTS



BARUNGA FESTIVAL
Katherine and surrounds
7-10 June 2024
Located 80 kilometres south of Katherine, Barunga Festival celebrates a long and proud tradition of sharing the culture of remote Aboriginal Australia, as communities come together to camp and take part in a vibrant program spanning music, sport, culture, art and dance. This year’s Barunga Festival is headlined by the legendary Yothu Yindi.
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BETR DARWIN TRIPLE CROWN
Darwin
14-16 June 2024
The highly anticipated motorsport weekend returns to Darwin’s Hidden Valley with an incredible weekend of family entertainment and adrenaline-pumping racing featuring the Australian Superbikes, The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup, Aussie Racing Cars, Combined Sedans, Nitro Up North and the third annual Supercars Indigenous Round.
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ALICE SPRINGS BEANIE FESTIVAL
Alice Springs
21-24 June 2024
Since 1997, this quirky red desert festival has brought together beanie makers, artists and Aboriginal communities to celebrate the colourful handmade head pieces, and to share stories and knowledge. Festivalgoers will see more than 6,600 beanies hang at ‘Beanie Central’, and can expect a fun program of exhibitions, bush tucker, live music and Aboriginal craft workshops.
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NAIDOC WEEK CELEBRATIONS IN ULURU
Uluru
7-14 JULY 2024
NAIDOC Week celebrations have been announced for Ayers Rock Resort, Uluṟu, with the iconic Red Centre destination set to offer an uplifting program of arts, food, education and music events. The 2024 program aligns to the theme of ‘Keep the Fire Burning’, chosen by NAIDOC to “embody the enduring strength and vitality of First Nations culture - with fire symbolising connection”. Highlights include: a special five-course dinner featuring Indigenous ingredients and enterprises; an Indigenous film festival; markets and live bands in Yulara Town Square; and artist talks at the Gallery of Central Australia.
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GARMA FESTIVAL
Arnhem Land
2-5 August 2024
One of Australia’s largest First Nations gatherings, Garma Festival features a four-day celebration of Yolngu life and culture held in remote Arnhem Land. Hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, Garma showcases traditional miny’tji (art), manikay (song), bunggul (dance) and storytelling, and is an important meeting point for the clans and families of the region. The Key Forum Policy Conference also hosts discussions and debates on major issues. ‘Gurtha-Wuma Worrk-gu’, a Yolngu phrase signifying fire, strength and renewal is the theme for this year’s festival.
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NATIONAL INDIGENOUS FASHION AWARDS
Darwin
7 August 2024
The National Indigenous Fashion Awards provides a vibrant and exciting platform to celebrate the innovation, diversity and ethical practices of Australia’s First Nations peoples in fashion and textiles, while contributing to the capacity building of the sector. First Nations artists are recognised across six award categories, providing an opportunity for the Australian and international fashion community to connect to the world’s oldest living cultures.
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COUNTRY TO COUTURE
Darwin
8 August 2024
Country to Couture showcases the best of Aboriginal fashion and textiles in a colourful showcase of wearable art. The high-energy runway presents collections from emerging Aboriginal designers and artists, and unique collaborations between First Nations communities and well-known Australian labels.
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TELSTRA NATIONAL ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ART AWARDS
Darwin
Awards Ceremony: 9 August 2024
Exhibition Period: 22 June 2024 - 27 January 2025
Australia’s longest running, most prestigious and richest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art awards showcase the very best contemporary art from Australia’s leading emerging and established First Nations artists. The awards ceremony will be held on 9 August 2024 and, after that, art lovers can see the exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 72 finalists have been announced in this year’s Awards, with 21 finalists deemed ‘emerging artists’ in their first five years of practice.
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DARWIN FESTIVAL
Darwin
8-25 August 2024
Australia’s warmest winter arts festival combines the quintessential multicultural spirit and energy of Darwin with diverse outdoor festivities and a vibrant program of world-class events for an unforgettable good time. Pick from music, theatre, visual art, dance, cabaret, comedy and more. This year’s festival will feature a massive 680 performances across 38 venues, including world premieres, national sell-out shows, iconic Australian musicians, award-winning art, comedians, and plenty of family fun.
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DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR
Darwin
9-11 August 2024
Returning for its 18th year, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is one of Australia’s most significant and internationally recognised art events. Visitors have the chance to ethically purchase Aboriginal art from more than 70 Aboriginal-owned art centres across Australia, and enjoy a vibrant program of traditional dance, workshops, talks and fashion events, including Country to Couture and National Indigenous Fashion Awards.
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NATIONAL INDIGENOUS MUSIC AWARDS
Darwin
10 August 2024
Celebrate two decades of First Nations musical brilliance at the 20th edition of the National Indigenous Music Awards. Held annually on the traditional lands of the Larrakia people in Darwin, the Awards shine a spotlight on the rich diversity of Indigenous music from across Australia – from emerging talents to international sensations like Gurrumul and Jessica Mauboy.
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TIWI ISLANDS GRAND FINAL AND ART SALE
Tiwi Islands
11 August 2024
In a place where AFL and art are the lifeblood of the community, it makes sense to combine the two in an annual event that celebrates the very best of Tiwi Islands culture. Held each year, the Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final and Art Sale attracts visitors from across the Top End to cheer on their favourite Tiwi Islands football team and purchase traditional Tiwi art including ironwood carvings, ochre paintings on bark, canvas, linen and paper, original prints and screen-printed textiles.
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THE ROTARY HENLEY-ON-TODD REGATTA
Alice Springs
17 August 2024
The Rotary Henley-on-Todd Regatta is the world’s only land-based boat race, set on the dry Todd River in the Red Centre. Competitors race along the riverbed ‘Flintstones-style’, using pedal power to make it over the finish line with their home-made boats, dinghies, yachts and canoes. This year’s edition will be the 62nd Henley-on-Todd Regatta.
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RED CENTRENATS
Alice Springs
30 August - 1 September 2024
The ultimate festival of wheels returns to the Red Centre! Showcasing top-of-the-range street machines, elite show cars, hot rods, classics and exotics, Red CentreNATS promises an action-packed program to keep the whole family entertained.
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EAST ARNHEM LIVE
Arnhem Land
23 August - 1 September 2024
A community festival of free concerts on the lands of the Yolŋu Nation, celebrating Yolŋu (Indigenous) and Balanda (non-Indigenous) music and culture. This year’s festival is headlined by Arnhem Land’s very own King Stingray! East Arnhem Live started as a free online concert series bringing the culture, history and beauty of East Arnhem Land to audiences across the world during the COVID-19 lockdown of early 2020. The festival has since grown into Arnhem Land’s biggest music event.
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DESERT MOB
Alice Springs
5 September - 20 October 2024
Now in its 33rd year, Desert Mob showcases the most comprehensive survey of contemporary Aboriginal art by artists from the Desart art centres of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, and is an important cultural gathering for artists, families and visitors. The program features an exhibition and marketplace where visitors can ethically purchase diverse Aboriginal arts and crafts, plus artist and curator talks.

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DESERT SONG FESTIVAL
Alice Springs
17-22 September 2024
Over seven days, artists, musicians, choirs and audiences come together to celebrate the rich and diverse musical traditions of Central Australia with the majestic ranges and gorges of Alice Springs as their backdrop. This year’s festival features the celebrated Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, plus workshops, community events, parades, movie marathons and more.

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