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The end of August is Kurrung season in Kakadu: the days are warm, but the nights are mild, the Magpie Geese are on the move and the late afternoon breeze brings with it music, arts and the smell of bush foods cooking on the coals…meaning it’s time for the Mahbilil Festival in Jabiru.

The Mahbilil Festival will be held on Saturday 26 August celebrating the best in Indigenous music, arts and bush-foods – with everyone invited to join in the fun and excitement of the free, day-long Festival.

Staged at Jabiru Lakeside Park, Mahbilil starts at midday and offers a vast range of family-friendly activities, workshops, rides, displays, Indigenous art and demonstrations of weaving, painting and craft. Everyone can try their hand at spear throwing, didgeridoo blowing and kite-making.

Bush foods feature on the menu with large earth ovens cooking Kakadu staples such as buffalo, barramundi and the seasonal special, magpie goose.

At sunset the Festival turns on a high art installation on the lake, followed by an evening program of screen arts, music and dance. The music is diverse and includes funky bands from across the Top End & Darwin as well as national profile acts, a spectacular circus and fire show.

Mahbilil Festival producer Scott Large said the program will showcase some of the best Territory talent.

“There will be an incredible selection of bands from across the Top End with hand-picked acts from Darwin and around the country,” he said.

“Workshops will include traditional arts and craft such as spear-making, pandanus weaving and local storytelling.

Musical acts include Oka, Tijuana Cartel and Black Rock Band and there’s plenty of other activities including dance, circus and food.

“One of the highlights of the festival for many is the local dance program with the Jabiru Bininj Gunborrk dancers set to light up the dance ground once again,” Mr Large said.

The Festival also encompasses the Gurrung Sports Carnival run by West Arnhem Regional Council, which sees teams from all across the Top End compete.

Jabiru, located 2½ hours drive south east of Darwin, is the gateway to Kakadu and also to Arnhem Land. It’s a unique cross-cultural crossroads and a great location for a festival, being one of the few places in the world that has both Cultural and Environmental World Heritage status. It provides an ideal base for exploring Kakadu’s major attractions such as Ubirr, Nourlangie, Jim Jim and Twin Falls, Gunlom and Yellow Water Billabong.

Mahbilil Festival accommodation
The crocodile-shaped Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel in Jabiru and Cooinda Lodge are partners with the Mahbilil Festival and will have special offers available during the Festival. Accommodation ranges from 4-star hotel rooms to Flash Camp and camping accommodation at Cooinda.
Reservations: (08) 8979 9000 or or

Information about the Mahbilil Festival –
Information about Kakadu, the Crocodile Hotel & Yellow Water Cruises –

Posted by Kakadu Tourism on

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