Take a trip up north to experience your favourite live acts in one of the most beautiful destinations in the country
When you think live music in Australia, the obvious spots come to mind. Whether it’s the rock’n’roll pubs and historic laneways of Melbourne, the bright lights of Sydney, or the easy to navigate venues of Brisbane – it’s the big cities that get all the love.
But one of Australia’s best kept secrets – and one of its top musical hubs – is located further north. With its balmy nights, outdoor adventures, and unhurried attitude, Darwin is a must visit on your live music bucket list.
It’s unrivalled love of the land and its local communities help make the northern scene unlike any other you’ll find around the country. With artists like hip hop rising star – and the first Indigenous language rapper in Australia – Baker Boy, the breathtakingly incredible Kardajala Kirridarra, and pop superstar Jessica Mauboy all hailing from the Northern Territory, it’s inspired musical roots run deep.
It’s not just music locals taking over Darwin’s stages though. Now is the perfect time to start planning your trip north because Mindil Beach has a stack of summer shows locked in. From laid-back folk to tropical dance parties, there isn’t a better way to see your favourite bands live than the sandy shoreline.
Electric Storm Festival
Now that October is upon us, it’s time to summon your crew and get your creepiest costume together because Halloween is fast approaching. For the sixth year running, Darwin’s biggest Halloween festival Electric Storm is bringing together a host of top-notch DJs to make this one a fright night to remember. Will Sparks is leading the way, and he’ll be joined by the likes of Oriental Cravings, Kate Fox, and Holly-J. Hair-raising sound, eerie lighting and spine-chilling production will set the scene, while the debut of the Halloween Horror Maze will test your wits and scare you out of your skin.
Gather your best ghouls, vampires, ghosts, and monsters because Electric Storm Festival is the only way to get your spook on. It goes down on Saturday 27 October at Mindil Beach, Darwin and tickets are available here.
From busking on the streets of Melbourne to storming stages the world over, the meteoric rise of Tash Sultana has been incredible to watch. The one-person powerhouse has been touring the world for the past 2.5 years, and finally they’ll be bringing their live show back to Australian shores. With their debut album Flow State in tow and their last Australian tour breaking records the country over, this is a show you don’t want to miss. Is there a better spot to soak up Tash’s glory than the gorgeous surrounds of Mindil Beach? We don’t think so. This one goes down on Saturday 23 March, so there’s plenty of time to get your mates together to make a trip out of it. Tickets are available here.
With her second album Awake continuing to prove that Alison Wonderland is an absolute game-changer in the worldwide electronic scene. She’s still probably coming down from her recent set at Coachella where she was the highest billed female DJ in the festival’s history. While she’ll be filling huge rooms around the country, there isn’t any better way to experience her EDM goodness than on Mindil Beach. It’s going down on Saturday 17 November and you can grab your tickets here.
East London pals Rudimental are heading our way next year to celebrate the release of their forthcoming album Toast To Our Differences, and if the tastes of the album we’ve been given so far are anything to go by we cannot wait. They too will be taking in the sunny surrounds of Mindil Beach, and as a special treat they are promising fans a new spin on the Rudimental vibe we’re already in love with. This one is happening on Friday 15 February and you can get your tickets here.
Make a trip out of it
While catching some of your favourite acts in the gorgeous surrounds of Mindil Beach is well worth it on its own, once you’re up north you’ll definitely want to take in the rest of what the city has to offer.
Mindil Beach Markets
The beach and food is a match made in heaven and Darwin has brought the two together perfectly. Enjoy one of the best sunsets in the world, followed by a stroll through Mindil Beach Markets every Thursday and Sunday evening. The unique combination of great food and an electric atmosphere make a visit a must.
Speaking of the sunsets, they deserve their own shout-out, It might be a cliché, but you need to get out of the haze and smog of the big cities to really experience the truest beauty, and there is a reason why they say the sunsets in the Northern Territory are some of the best in the world.
Right in the middle of Darwin City, Crocosaurus Cove is home to the Cage of Death where you can come face to face with a Saltwater Crocodile. It’s Australia’s only crocodile dive experience if you’re brave enough to dive in. For something a little tamer, you can also visit the aquarium, the reptile enclosure, or the turtle sanctuary.
Darwin Waterfront Precinct
With all its natural beauty to explore, you’ll definitely need a place to relax, and the Waterfront Precinct is a perfect choice. Besides its selection of great restaurants, cafes, and bars, there is also the Wave Lagoon and saltwater Recreation Lagoon – the latter features a man-made beach and has a natural ecosystem including fish, algae and other marine life. Bliss!
Darwin is a gateway
Not too far from the city are some of the most beautiful natural and cultural icons Australia has to offer. Just two and a half hours north on the ferry and you’ll discover the beautiful Tiwi Islands. A three-hour coach or 4WD tour will have you experiencing the wildlife, rock art, and exotic landscapes of Kakadu National Park. Jump in the car and travel a little over an hour to get to Litchfield National Park – the crystal-clear waterfalls, swimming holes, four-wheel driving and easy-going bushwalks are just the beginning.