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Full Flavoured Foodie Experiences That Are Quintessentially NT

April 17, 2018 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

As with most things in the Territory, the NT’s flavours and ingredients are bigger, better and more colourful than most. Taking influence from the region’s bounty of bush tucker, NT tourism operators focus on using local flavours and produce to create some truly Territorian tastes. While the flavours are as diverse as the landscapes themselves, one thing’s for sure – Northern Territory cuisine is about getting out and about and experiencing the very best of what’s on offer. To that end, Tourism NT has pulled together a wrap up of must-do, must-see and must-eat foodie festivals, markets and experiences to give visitors a true taste of the Territory.


Tjungu Festival, Uluru – 25–29 April 2018
Now in its third year, Tjungu Festival will return to Voyages Ayers Rock Resort in April, celebrating the best of Australian Aboriginal culture through art, performance and most importantly food and markets. Attendees can kick back and enjoy the entertainment from a selection of traditional and contemporary Indigenous musicians, all while sampling an array of bush foods at the interactive markets, masterclasses and exclusive outdoor dining experiences.

A Taste of Kakadu, Kakadu National Park – 18 – 27 May 2018
World Heritage-listed Kakadu is not only the winner of best Major Tourist Attraction in Australia at the recent Australian Tourism Awards, it is also a place bursting with fresh food and culture. Held in the tropical Top End, A Taste of Kakadu encourages foodies to indulge in bush tucker delicacies from barramundi to Magpie Goose. Expect boutique dinners, campfire stories, bush tucker walks, cooking demos, sunset tasting sessions, and hunting and gathering talks with some of the best Indigenous chefs in the country.

Greek Glenti Festival, Darwin – 9-10 June 2018
Held in the historic Bicentennial Park in Darwin, the 30th Annual Greek Glenti Festival is a great opportunity to share in the vibrant culture of the Top End’s local Greek community. With a mix of local and interstate acts as well a seemingly everlasting supply of grilled octopus, souvlaki and sweet Greek delicacies, not to mention an array of Greek wines and beers to wash it all down, it’s a must-do for any culinary connoisseur.

Mahbilil Festival, Kakadu National Park – 1 September 2018
Held by the banks of Jabiru Lake, this festival celebrating Kakadu culture occurs every year. The Mahbilil Festival, named after the cooling afternoon breeze, brings together locals and tourists alike to experience an array of music, dance, bush foods, art, workshops and Aboriginal culture.

One of the most popular experiences at Mahbilil is the bush food masterclass. Try hands-on activities like plucking and preparing a Magpie Goose or watch a traditional Gungarre ground-oven been built. There’s also the hotly contested Magpie Goose cooking competition where locals wow the judges with their culinary creations. There’s plenty to learn and to eat at this iconic Aboriginal community event.

With native and local ingredients contributing so much to the NT’s unique cuisine, there’s no better way to sample the wide array of exotic produce on offer than with a stroll through some of the Territory’s trademark open-air markets.

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, Darwin (April to October in The Dry Season)
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets offer food trucks with delectable eats, sea breezes and views to die for. They run twice weekly from April through to October and  bring together more than 60 stalls that boast culinary delights from Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Portugal.

There are more than 1,200 menu items on offer so you could come back every week and have something new to try. For a true Top End treat, stop by the Road Kill Café for one of its slightly unusual burgers of croc, roo, buffalo and even camel and possum, which are all on the menu for the more adventurous eaters.

Darwin’s Weekend Markets
Darwin’s open-air markets extend beyond the city centre, with weekends seeing sleepy suburban shopping plazas transformed into vibrant open-air markets. For the early risers and local-produce lovers, Nightcliff Markets, Palmerston, Rapid Creek Markets (the Top End’s oldest) and Malak Marketplace are Darwin institutions and offer an abundance of produce from growers from Darwin and surrounds. With everything from herbs to Asian greens, tropical fruits and flavours on offer, the suburban markets are a great way to eat like a local.

And to whet your appetite for adventure even more, the NT has a swag of operators who incorporate the best flavours of the Territory into some mouth-watering epxeriences.

Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Darwin
Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours are an authentic way to see and experience the Adelaide River Floodplains, at the forefront of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Taking place on Aboriginal owned and operated Limilngan-Wulna Land, the two-hour interpretive tour starts with a traditional Welcome to Country and gives you the opportunity to learn about the traditional uses of local plants and meet the locals over damper and billy tea, served straight from the fire.

Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Kings Canyon
Immerse yourself in this one-hour Aboriginal cultural tour in the beautiful Watarrka National Park.  Learn about the art of throwing spears and boomerangs, about bush tucker, medicine and the local clan languages and purchase local arts and crafts. A Karrke tour allows you to see, feel and experience Aboriginal culture up close and taste a witchetty grub – one of their signature experiences.

Table 131Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
There’s no denying it, the NT’s stunning scenery is a massive draw card and Table 131 arguably has one of the most stunning views of any restaurant. With four delicious courses, complemented by some of Australia’s finest wines, dinner at Table 131 even comes complete with a resident astronomer to regale you with tales of the Southerly constellations.

Heli Pub Crawl, Darwin
In true NT style, the folks at Airborne Solutions have upped the ante and created a pub crawl like no other. You’ll be chauffeured to five of the Top End’s best and most remote pubs in your very own luxury chopper. Enjoy a beer or burger while fishing for barra, then jump into your ‘copter for a bird’s-eye view of stunning wetlands, pristine coastlines and Darwin’s breathtaking harbour – stopping for a drink (or five) along the way.

Cobourg PeninsulaArnhem Land
Just a one-hour flight from Darwin, you’ll find one of Australia’s best and most untouched fishing destinations, the Cobourg Peninsula. It really is the perfect spot to reel in a taste of the Territory. Jutting out into the Arafura Sea from the north-west corner of Arnhem Land, Cobourg is surrounded by bays, inlets, rocky headlands, and coral reefs. Cobourg Fishing Safaris offers fly in/fly out fishing packages based at the Cobourg Coastal Camp. Their guides are some of the most experienced, knowledgeable and professional individuals in Top End fishing and guarantee to help you catch (and taste) some the most delicious fish the region has to offer.

Marksie’s Stockman’s Camp Tucker, Katherine
Step back in time for a traditional camp oven meal at Marksie’s Stockman’s Camp Tucker. Here where the tropics meet the outback, you’ll sit round the campfire and chow down on a hearty stockman’s beef stew and vegetables spruced up with an array of native bush herbs and spices. Surrounded by wildlife and under the amazing canopy of stars it’s hard to find a more fitting foodie spot for a true Top End adventure.

Cicada Lodge Food Journeys, Katherine
Cicada Lodge’s love affair with food continues in 2018 with the announcement of their sell-out ‘A journey of the palate’ event in Nitmiluk National Park from mid-April. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration in the region, Aboriginal chef Mark Olive will join one of the country’s leading wine critics, Jeremy Oliver, for the three-day event which kicks off with a five-course degustation meal.

Cicada has also announced a French-inspired foodie event which includes a three-course French Chefs’ Table Menu, French breakfast and a night’s accommodation at the Lodge for $450 per person on 12 May.   Other fabulous foodie events are in the planning stages for later in the year.

Saltbush at DoubleTree by Hilton, Alice Springs
Named after the ubiquitous salty outback shrubs in and around Alice Springs, the recently opened Saltbush restaurant at DoubleTree by Hilton offers contemporary Australian cuisine, with local produce and Australian bush food at the very foundation of its innovative menu.

With dishes including traditional fare such as crusted lamb rack, free-range chicken and baked whole NT baby barramundi – all with a unique and refreshing Saltbush twist – it’s a worthwhile stop to see, taste and experience the best of the Red Centre’s famous bush food flavours.

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