10 Indigenous Experiences In The NT That Will Make You Appreciate Australia More Than Ever

You haven’t been to the Northern Territory until you’ve experienced it through the eyes and hearts of its traditional owners.

A woman standing in front of Uluru in the Northern Territory
Brought to you by Tourism Northern Territory

If you seek different, this is the holiday for you.

You haven’t been to the Northern Territory until you’ve experienced it through the eyes and hearts of its traditional owners.

There are endless reasons to visit the NT but exploring it alongside the planet’s oldest continuous civilisation should be top of the list. From dot painting workshops and crocodile tracking to fascinating festivals and Dreamtime dinners under the stars, Indigenous experiences tap you into an ancestral connection spanning millennia – and will forever change how you see Australia.

#1 Enter another world at Parrtjima – A Festival In Light

We’re no strangers to impressive light shows, but Parrtjima is the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind. Set against the backdrop of the mighty 300-million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges, this free 10-night festival brings 65,000 years of Aboriginal history and culture to life before your very eyes.

#2 Tour Uluru then try your hand at dot painting


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Hear the stories of this sacred site with Maruku Arts, one of Australia’s oldest Indigenous art centres. A local Anangu artist will share the connection between art, culture, and this unique landscape; teach you about traditional art, symbols, and tools; and then guide you to create your own masterpiece in a dot painting workshop.

#3 Tour paradise with the Yolngu women of East Arnhem Land


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Women have the extraordinary opportunity to experience one of Australia’s last unspoiled tropical paradises and beautifully preserved Indigenous culture on a five-day female-only Gay’Wu dilly bag tour.

As the Yolngu women of Arnhem Land share their knowledge of bush, ancestors, sky, and universe, you’ll dive into everything from bush medicine and weaving to astrology and kinship, along with traditions like healing and crying ceremonies. The life-altering small-group tour ends with a visit to Buku-Larrnggay art centre, one of the best in the country.

#4 Experience GARMA Festival

Established by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, GARMA festival is Australia’s leading Indigenous event. Against the stunning wild canvas of Arnhem Land, it celebrates the Yolngu people’s cultural, artistic, and ceremonial traditions.

#5 Explore the rugged beauty of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge


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One of the most scared sites in the NT, Nitmiluk (Katherine) National Park is defined by waterfalls, rivers, abundant wildlife, and rich Indigenous culture.

Nitmiluk Tours offers a host of activities and accommodation owned and operated by the Indigenous locals of Jawoyn country – from cruises, canoes, hikes, and scenic helicopter flights to campgrounds and five-star lodges – so you can immerse yourself in Nitmiluk’s history and majesty with those who know it best.

#6 Get a Taste Of Kakadu

Taste Of Kakadu is Australia’s premier traditional food festival. A bush tucker experience unlike any other, the farm-to-plate concept reaches a whole other level: feast on animals hunted by local clans of the Kakadu region, help forage for food, and eat degustation dinners in remote places shut off to other travellers.

#7 Explore Uluru with Traditional Family on private homelands

SEIT Outback Australia’s Uluru tour offers a truly special experience – travelling beyond the boundaries of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with Traditional Uluru Family to their homelands (or Patji). You’ll also explore the mystical Mutitjulu Waterhole and Mala walk, hear the Creation stories of Liru and Kuniya, see rock art of the ancient Anangu teachers and learn about Uluru’s significance. Then, it’s time for uninterrupted sunset views over the sacred monolith.

#8 Meet remote Indigenous communities

Showcasing the local communities in the Katherine region, Barunga Festival is a three-day celebration of the best of remote Indigenous Australia. Experience authentic music, cooking, arts and crafts, and more from the people who make them.

#9 Learn about the bush and its spoils near Kings Canyon

Southern Arrernte man and Luritja woman, Peter and Christine, run a real-deal cultural tour named after the Western bowerbird, Karrke, near bucket-list worthy Kings Canyon.

If you’re itching to try the Witchetty Grub, this intimate hands-on tour is for you. The pair host one-hour walk and talks through the bush near the Wanmarra Community, discussing Dreamtime stories, bush medicine, and bush tucker along with explaining dot painting and the process of making artefacts and weapons.

#10 Go croc spotting in Kakadu National Park

A visit to the NT needs some solid croc spotting, so head to the sublime Kakadu National Park – home to more than 10,000 prehistoric predators. Hit hot spots Cahills Crossing and Yellow Water with two Indigenous-owned tours: Kakadu Cultural Tours’ Guluyambi Cultural Cruise on the East Alligator River; and Yellow Water Wetlands cruise along the Yellow Water Billabong and South Alligator River.

But giant crocs aren’t the only draw to this UNESCO World Heritage site. Waterfalls, rugged escarpments, exotic bird life, buffalo, floodplains and Ubirr’s 20,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art are all epic parts of these ancient lands.

Discover more of the Northern Territory and how you can experience a holiday that’s different in every sense.

(Lead image: @shaaunabrown courtesy of Tourism Northern Territory)