Australian city spotlight: what's on in Darwin?

While the rest of the country battles the harsh winter weather, in tropical Darwin the winter months (or ‘dry season’) offer a full calendar of exciting events and festivals. We look at a few of the upcoming highlights.

Arts and culture

Darwin Festival: Inspired by the Northern Territory’s unique multiculturalism, location and history, Darwin Festival is an 18-day celebration of music, theatre, visual art, dance, comedy and more. The festival includes everything from large-scale outdoor concerts and art installations to intimate performances, bamboo food stalls and pop-up bars. 

When: 4 to 21 August 2016
Where: Various locations

Darwin Fringe Festival: Darwin Fringe is an open-access, community arts festival designed to support independent and diverse local acts — showcasing work that uses unusual venues or techniques, explores experimental creative practices or that is not normally seen or highlighted in Darwin. Held across 10 days, the festival features more than 70 events, spanning art, dance, music, film, theatre, comedy and cabaret.

When: 15 to 24 July
Where: Various locations

Royal Darwin Show: Now in its 65th year, the Royal Darwin Show is all about the best the Territory has to offer — from the best cattle, horses, pigs, goats, dogs and ducks to the best quilts, cakes, cars, flowers, fishing lures and giant pumpkins. Tickets start from $20 for adults.

When: 21 to 23 July 2016
Where: Darwin Showgrounds and Exhibition Centre


Cyprus Food and Wine Festival: The annual Cyprus Food and Wine Festival celebrates and showcases Cypriot culture with a selection of traditional Mediterranean food, live music, dancing and cultural displays. Visitors can also sample the famous Cypriot Commandaria wine — one of the oldest wines on earth.

When: 27 August 2016
Where: Cyprus Community Hall

Mindil Beach Sunset Market: Each Thursday and Sunday evening, Mindil Beach comes to life with more than 200 market stalls. Visitors are invited to settle in with chairs, picnic rugs and ‘eskies’ (portable food and drink coolers) as they indulge in a wide range of multicultural cuisines, including Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Greek, Portuguese, Chinese and Malaysian food.

When: Thursdays and Sundays, April to October
Where: Mindil Beach

Sport and leisure

Beer Can Regatta: In an effort to raise money for various local charities, the Beer Can Regatta sees participants build a boat out of empty beer or soft drink cans to race against other teams. Races include the ‘Battle of Mindil’, where boats sail around a course in search for a hidden object, dodging flour bombs and water sprays, as well as junior and adult races.

When: 17 July 2016
Where: Mindil Beach

Camel Cup: One of the Territory’s more unique events, the Alice Springs Camel Cup sees daring riders race camels along a dusty Outback track. There’s also plenty of entertainment to enjoy between races, with food stalls and bars, rides, rickshaw races, belly dancers and the Mr and Miss Camel Cup challenges. Tickets start from $20 for adults.

When: 9 to 15 July 2016
Where: Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs

Darwin Cup Carnival: More than 40,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Darwin Cup Carnival, held over eight days in July and August. It is the largest sporting event in the Northern Territory, offering more than 50 races, amounting to AUD$1.95 million in prize money. With 2016 marking the carnival’s 60th year, patrons are encouraged to embrace the theme of ‘vintage twist’ by dressing in the style of previous decades.

When: 2 July to 1 August 2016
Where: Darwin Turf Club

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