Art, culture & heritage, Northern Territory, Australia

Aboriginal culture

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Traditional Indigenous Dance, Darwin Festival, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Visit the Territory and immerse yourself in the stories, artworks and ancient traditions of indigenous Australians, one of the world's oldest living groups. The continent's first inhabitants arrived some 50,000 years ago and over the millennia created a rich tapestry of languages and customs that vary from region to region.
 
From the Arrernte in Central Australia and the Yolngu in Arnhem Land to the Tiwi people of the Tiwi Islands near the Timor Sea, over 40 different indigenous language groups reside in the NT.

Dream big

A common theme across the many language groups is a strong spiritual connection to the land. Indigenous spiritual beliefs, along with the local laws and history, are shared through the Dreamtime stories. The stories are passed down from generation to generation through art, dance and song and tell of the creation of the landscape and its inhabitants.

Centre stage

Pop into one of the NT's indigenous culture centres to get an insight into the history, traditions and artworks of the local people. Browse the art galleries that showcase original paintings, meet the artists at work, or join a guided tour to learn how to make local handicrafts including seed jewellery and basketry.

Hunters and collectors

Sign up for a bush tucker tour led by an indigenous guide and learn the ways of the hunter-gatherer. Learn how to source food types, make fire by rubbing sticks together, and try unique foods like turtle, kangaroo and witchetty grubs.

The island life

For a taste of culture in the far north, head to the Tiwi Islands, where Australian indigenous culture meets Polynesian customs. Take an organised tour 80km north of Darwin and meet the Tiwi people, famous for their bark paintings and wood carvings.

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