PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with Tourism Northern Territory to get you embracing the best culture on offer in Oz.

As a major city-dwelling Aussie, I wholeheartedly fess up to getting caught up in my own metropolitan bubble. After spending countless hours in heinous traffic, battling busy public transport routes and lining up to indulge in a mediocre cafe, it’s easy to forget we are situated on one of the most historically rich, geographically diverse and untouched places on earth.

Seriously, there’s a treasure trove of immense gems on offer all over the country, and hundreds of them are there and ready to be uncovered in the Northern Territory. It’s the ultimate year-round location that’s as vast and varied in adventure as it is in opportunity to immerse yourself in the incredible depths of Aboriginal history. After a year of indulging in reality TV binges and endless TikTok scrolling, it’s exactly what my rotting brain needs.

If you’ve started to write up your domestic travel bucket list in the last year, here are a few ways we recommend experiencing the NT to soak up as much culture as humanly possible.

Head Out To Barunga Festival

The Barunga Festival is an annual 3-day event that showcases the strong history of the Katherine region. Held in Barunga, a small Aboriginal community, every year indigenous communities gather from around the region to share traditional arts, music and cultural activities and embrace all the aspects that make up community life.

The festival site plays an important role in Australian history – it was the location in which Aboriginal leaders presented Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the Barunga Statement, which called for a treaty in 1988. Hawke signed the statement, but unfortunately, it was never brought to Parliament, inspiring the story behind Yothu Yindi‘s smash ‘Treaty’.

Artists like Courtney Barnett, John Butler, Tasman Keith, Missy Higgins, and more have helmed the stage over the years, while the rest of the fest revolves around events like spear throwing, didgeridoo playing, weaving, damper making, storytelling, footy and more. This year’s event is taking place from June 11th-13th, and you can suss more details here.

Take A Guided Tour Of Kakadu National Park

There’s enough within Kakadu National Park to keep you occupied for weeks, but here’s a basic rundown of what a few days in the depths of the World Heritage-listed location could look like for you. Located south of Darwin, (and considering it’s literally half the size of Switzerland) we highly recommend hopping on an expert-led guided tour to give you the best insight into the stories that enchant it.

Ubirr is one of the park’s most famous spots, known for its Aboriginal rock art and incredible sunset views. Equally is iconic is the Nourlangie rock art site which local Aboriginal people used as a shelter from storms for thousands of years. Both locations serve as the perfect opportunity to learn about the spiritual traditions of the Aboriginal communities who dwelled in the area, best led by a local who can explain the deep relationship between the community and the land.

Other must-see locations include Jim Jim Falls, Maguk (Barramundi Gorge), Cooinda Lodge and Yellow Water Billabong, and if you’re looking to cool off at the end of it all, head to Gunlom Falls to stare in awe at its cascading waterfall that feeds into a plunge pool below.

Suss Out Darwin’s Art & Foodie Scene

Darwin is a hotbed of activity for anyone wanting to embrace their inner foodie, with the city offering up a huge range of markets and bougie dining options that’ll get your senses tingling.

The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are best known for showing off Darwin’s vast multicultural mix, filled to the brim with arts, crafts and food stalls to peruse. The Parap Markets also take place on Saturday mornings and are famous for their bougie coffee stalls, fashion pop-ups and glorious flower displays. There are also a wide range of gourmet tours and restaurants on offer throughout the city, if you’re looking for fine-dining experiences too.

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is also your go-to for checking out the best in local and national art. It’s home to the famous ‘Sweetheart’ sculpture – a 5-metre, 780kg taxidermied saltwater crocodile that truly encompasses the authentic NT experience.

Go Deep Into Alice Springs

Alice Springs is the heart of the Australian outback and poses the best ops for getting your adrenaline pumping and for relaxation. Kick-off your adventure with a delve into the Alice Springs Desert Park, try your luck at spotting rare and endangered animals in the low light of the nocturnal house. It’s probably not for the easily startled, but we’re here for trying new things in 2021.

The annual festival of lights, Parrtjima is also a huge cultural event on the Alice Springs calendar which showcases spectacular light installations made by local Aboriginal artists. This year’s theme is ‘Future Kultcha’ which focuses on passing on the wisdom of past generations, and will also offer up interactive workshops, art, music, films, performance and the spoken word. This year’s event takes place on April 9th-18th, and you can read up about it here

To get a ~new perspective~ on Alice Springs, you can catch the sunrise and head onto a hot air balloon to get as bird’s eye view of Alice Springs and the Red Centre, as well as discover the outskirts of the region by taking a drive along Larapinta Road to Simpsons Gap. The location marks the opening between the towering cliffs of the West MacDonnell Ranges and is also an important spiritual site to the Arrernte Aboriginal people, where several dreaming trails and stories cross.

So, if you’re inspired to head up to the top end of Oz, and get to know our history while sending yourself into complete nature-induced awe, head here for more info to get planning your Northern Territory visit now.