While touring interstate race meets and NRL and AFL teams visit throughout the year, the Territory also has its own fair share of sporting events. From local footy and rugby, to fishing competitions, camel races, off-road racing and golf opens, this is one part of the world where spectators can easily build up as much of a sweat as competitors.
The Tiwi Islands Annual Football Art Sale starts at 9am with an annual sale of Tiwi art and crafts at community prices, before moving from gallery to footy field for the much anticipated Grand Final – a very fast, highly skilled game of 'Aussie rules' footy, with many players electing to play barefoot.
The Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race starts from Darwin's foreshore, and big crowds gather to see the colourful array of vessels line up for the race to the Indonesian islands. There's a refreshing festival atmosphere as the dry season's cool winds sweep the coast and fill the spinnakers. The 600 nautical-mile race has an exciting history and has fostered strong relationships between the people of Indonesia, the Territory and all the islands in between.
Race for the prize
On the Barkly Tablelands, 350 kilometres north-east of Tennant Creek, the Brunette Downs races have been running for over a hundred years and attract spectators from all over the country. Only 'local horses' from within NT are allowed to race, and as well as an on-course bookmaker, there's a bar, catering and live entertainment complementing the four day event.
The Finke Desert Race brings suped-up bikes, cars and dune-buggies from around Australia and overseas. More than 12,000 spectators flock to the three-day event, camping beneath the stars to catch every rev-filled moment of the intense and dusty race across the red desert sands from Alice Springs to the small community of Aputula (Finke).