This festival might be held in winter but it’s Darwin’s hottest event of the year.  

Add to the magic of a trip in the Top End by immersing yourself in the Darwin Festival – a colourful wonderland full of fascinating performances and spellbinding storytelling. Embrace Darwin’s vibrant energy and classic spirit as you walk under sparkling lights, take in captivating shows, and dine on local ingredients prepared to perfection. Whether you’re about to embark on a journey through the Northern Territory’s national parks or you’ve just come back from an overland adventure that started in Broome, a visit to this spectacular festival promises to be unforgettable. 

When and where is the Darwin Festival?

The Darwin Festival in 2022 is held from 4th August – 21st August (there are different dates for 2023), opening its doors from 5 pm to 12 am every night (except Mondays). While Festival Park in the city of Darwin is where most of the magic happens, there are other venues in surrounding areas that also host performances and shows.

These venues include Casuarina Square, Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, and the Darwin Convention Centre. For a full list of participating venues, please head to the ‘Venues’ tab on the Darwin Festival website. 

What is the Darwin Festival program in 2022?

There are a variety of events set to light up the stages during the course of the festival including light shows, concerts, theatrical experiences, entertaining stories, ballet performances, and so much more. Check out some of our favourites:

  • Balaar Inyiny, a drone show that promises to light up the night sky.
  • Tim Minchin live show.
  • Dilruk Jayasinha comedy show.
  • Club Awi, featuring international DJs.
  • National Indigenous Music Awards.
  • Darwin Symphony Orchestra.

For the complete list of performers in 2022, please visit the Darwin Festival website. 

How much does a ticket to Darwin Festival cost? 

You don’t need a ticket to enter the festival or to enjoy the various free activities scheduled around the event, however, if you do want to watch one of the performances or listen to one of the concerts, you’ll have to purchase a ticket.

Purchasing tickets to the Darwin Festival is relatively easy with online, box office, and over-the-phone options available. The price of tickets varies depending on the performance with the average price around AUD$44, but they can be as little as AUD$32 or as high as AUD$95.

There are also a number of ticket concessions available including student fares, senior and pensioner card concessions, and health care card holders. For the complete list of ticket concessions, please visit the ticket info section on the Darwin Festival’s website. 

Things to do at the Darwin Festival

Woman grabbing some food from a food truck.

Treat your tastebuds to a taste of the Territory

It’s only natural to work up a hearty appetite after wandering through the many performances and theatrical shows within the festival and luckily, there’s a whole heap of delicious food options for you to fill up on. Whether you want to munch on an antipasto box or delight in local foods full of indigenous flavours, there’s bound to be something for even the fussiest of tastebuds. 

A crowd watching a comedian on stage

Laugh ‘till your insides hurt at a comedy show

If you need a break from all the singing and dancing, then enjoy an hour of non-stop laughter at the festival’s many comedy shows. Attracting Australian celebrities and comical geniuses such as Wil Anderson, Zoe Coombs Mar, and Nath Valvo, these shows explore the complexities of the modern world in a high-energy and unpredictable way that’ll have you wiping away happy tears. 

Woman taking photos of art at an art gallery

Appreciate and celebrate indigenous artwork

The Northern Territory is undoubtedly home to some of the nation’s best indigenous artists and their incredible work is on display at the Darwin Festival. From the 16th annual Aboriginal Art Fair to the Salon Art Projects – various collections showcasing works from Aboriginal-owned art centres – get the chance to admire modern interpretations of a centuries-old culture in over 10 different exhibitions. 

Colourful drones making the shape of fireworks in the night sky

Watch 160 drones light up the night sky

The Darwin Festival has really thought of everything from captivating shows to intricate theatrics. But nothing will prepare you for the sight of 160 drones as they take to the sky to form choreographed patterns to a carefully curated sound. Led by Larrakia artist Jenna Lee, balaar inyiny evokes ancient stories using new technology to create a breathtaking performance the whole family will love. 

Darwin Festival FAQs

How to get to the Darwin Festival largely depends on where the performance or show you want to see is as there are numerous locations in the city of Darwin holding events for the Festival. However, the main hub of activity is located in Festival Park (on the corner of Smith St and Harry Chan Ave in the Darwin CBD) and is very easy to get to via either public or private transport. 

The Darwin Festival is a family-friendly event with various activations and performances specifically targeting kids (and kids at heart). Some notable children's events are the City of Darwin Teddy Bears' Picnic and the Prehistoric Picnic where art installations depict the dinosaurs from centuries ago. In

Initially created as a way to bring the Darwin community together after Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the Darwin Festival has grown every year since with over 100,000 people expected to attend. 

Even though it's winter in the Northern Territory, the temperatures are still quite warm, especially during the day so make you wear loose-fitting clothing to the festival. However, temperatures do fall rather drastically at night so it's wise to pack a jumper, cardigan, or thicker coat to keep you warm. The Darwin Festival doesn't have a dress code but we recommend dressing in casual clothes or whatever you feel comfortable in. 

There are plenty of things to see and do in Darwin including visiting the Mindil Markets, swimming at the Darwin City Lagoon, spotting crocs on a cruise, doing a day tour (or a longer one) to Katherine and the other surrounding national parks, visit the Tiwi Islands, and wander around the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. 

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

Our Northern Territory tours departing in July/August

Northern Territory tour reviews 

Read more about the Northern Territory