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Indigenous Arts and a City-Wide Festival - A Guide to Darwin's Cultural Scene

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Though better known as a gateway to adventure, Darwin is also home to a thriving cultural scene. You'll find visual and performing arts, and one of Australia's most vibrant cultural festivals. There are a host of galleries showcasing the work of indigenous artists. You’ll also find reminders of Darwin's eventful history, making this small city a cultural magnet.

Darwin's museums and galleries


Blending its Aboriginal heritage and a vibrant local arts scene, Darwin features a mix of contemporary art spaces showing emerging artists, and locally owned indigenous galleries. The Parap Arts Precinct, 5 minutes’ drive from the city center, is a gallery hub. Every Saturday at the lively Parap Village Market you can buy original work by local artists.


Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory


MAGNT showcases part of its collection of over 1.2 million natural history specimens and more than 30,000 works of art.


19 Conacher Street, The Gardens, Darwin NT 0820Tel: +61 8 8999 8264


Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory website


Northern Centre for Contemporary Arts


Situated in Parap Shopping Village, this space hosts changing exhibitions showcasing the work of local and international visual artists.


Vimy Lane, Parap, Darwin NT 0820. Tel: +61 8 8981 5368


Northern Centre for Contemporary Arts website

Historic sites and museums


Darwin has an eventful history, including being almost completely destroyed by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day in 1974. You’ll find museums and sites recalling the past scattered around the city. Darwin was the only Australian city to suffer bombing during World War II, and the Defence of Darwin Experience takes you on a trip back in time to those dark days.


Defence of Darwin Experience


The exhibit includes an immersive theater experience that gives you a real sense of the hardship endured by Darwin’s residents during the air raids in February 1942.


5434 Alec Fong Lim Drive, East Point, Darwin NT 0820. Tel: +61 8 8981 9702


Defence of Darwin Experience website


The Australian Aviation Heritage Centre


This engaging, hands-on museum has 19 aircraft, including a helicopter used in the clean-up following Cyclone Tracy.


557 Stuart Highway, Winnellie, Darwin NT 0832. Tel: +61 8 8947 2145


The Australian Aviation Heritage Centre website


Northern Australia's most colorful arts festival


The Darwin Festival brings together local and indigenous artists, as well as top performers from Australia and Asia. You’ll find a huge range of shows, from theater, cabaret, and dance to music, comedy, and visual arts. During the 18 days and nights of the festival, the city buzzes with performers and visitors enjoying events all over the city.


Darwin Festival


The annual festival grew out of the rebuilding of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy. It takes place over 18 days in August, and includes lots of free events throughout the city.


Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, 56 McMinn Street, Darwin NT 0800. Tel: +61 8 8943 4200


Darwin Festival website


The performing arts in Darwin


Darwin is home to a lively performing arts scene offering music, theater, and modern dance. The Darwin Symphony Orchestra regularly performs in the city, and Darwin Theatre Company stages drama productions dealing with contemporary issues in northern Australia. You can catch modern dance performances by Tracks at various venues in the city.


Darwin Entertainment Centre


The Entertainment Centre is the place to catch major national and international acts, as well as Darwin-based artists. There are 2 theaters, the 1,000-seat Playhouse and the smaller Studio Theatre.


93 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800 . Tel: +61 8 8980 3333


Darwin Entertainment Centre website




Tracks is an innovative company producing contemporary dance works inspired by the Top End of Australia. It specializes in performances in unusual outdoor settings.


Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, 56 McMinn Street, Darwin NT 0801. Tel: +61 8 8941 1410


Tracks website