The Best Food and Wine Experiences in the Northern Territory

From the tropics of Darwin to the outback landscapes around Alice Springs, food and wine in the Northern Territory is a world away from the norm – which means eating and drinking are experiences in themselves in the top end. With magical outdoor dining, cuisine served under the stars, spectacular landscape backdrops and rich, colourful Territory personalities behind the incredible food, there are hundreds of incredible food and wine experiences to be had. It has been challenging to whittle the list down to a mere top five, but if you’re passing through the Territory, you really can’t leave without experiencing at least one of the following… The Best Food and Wine Experiences in the Northern Territory
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The Best Food and Wine Experiences in the Northern Territory

From the tropics to the outback, the food and wine scene in the Northern Territory is in a league of its own


From the tropics of Darwin to the outback landscapes around Alice Springs, food and wine in the Northern Territory is a world away from the norm – which means eating and drinking are experiences in themselves in the top end. With magical outdoor dining, cuisine served under the stars, spectacular landscape backdrops and rich, colourful Territory personalities behind the incredible food, there are hundreds of incredible food and wine experiences to be had. It has been challenging to whittle the list down to a mere top five, but if you’re passing through the Territory, you really can’t leave without experiencing at least one of the following…

Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu National Park, NT

1. Catch a wild barramundi and then enjoy it for dinner

From the tropics of Darwin to the outback landscapes around Alice Springs, food and wine in the Northern Territory is a world away from the norm – which means eating and drinking are experiences in themselves in the top end. With magical outdoor dining, cuisine served under the stars, spectacular landscape backdrops and rich, colourful Territory personalities behind the incredible food, there are hundreds of incredible food and wine experiences to be had. It has been challenging to whittle the list down to a mere top five, but if you’re passing through the Territory, you really can’t leave without experiencing at least one of the following…

Lynton Tapp at RT Tours, Western MacDonnell Ranges, NT

2. Sample Territory bush tucker with a traditional guide

‘Bush tucker’ is the wild foods that have sustained Aboriginal people for generations. Take a bush tucker tour in the Top End or Central Australia to learn about the local animals, fruits, seeds and nuts that have been the lifeblood of people in the Northern Territory for thousands of years.

In Alice Springs, join Bob (Penunka) Taylor, a descendant of the Arrernte people and chef of some 25 years, on a gourmet bush tucker experience in his traditional desert lands. Start the evening with a cool drink in peaceful bush setting followed by a dinner of local tucker such as honey ants, quandongs and bush tomatoes prepared the traditional way and cooked in a bush oven, as Bob shares the stories of his people and the foods they eat.

Foraging for bush tucker is a highlight of a small-group Animal Tracks’ safari in Kakadu National Park. Guests are encouraged to join in and gather traditional bush foods of the Kakadu area, such as turtles, snakes, fruits, yams and bulbs. At sunset, the bush tucker gathered is cooked over a campfire along with meat and game like magpie goose and buffalo.

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, Darwin, NT

3. Mingle with the locals at the markets

Indulge your tastebuds with fresh, authentic flavours at Darwin's famous food markets. Sit on the sand with happy locals and visitors from all over the planet at the world-famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (Thursday and Sunday evenings during the dry season: April – October).

Drink in a famous Darwin sunset as you tuck into a plate of something on offer from every corner of the earth, from Thai and Indian to Brazilian and Portuguese. Try the fragrant paella bejewelled with mussels, a Japanese omelette drizzled in sticky sauce, a dish from the many Asian-inspired vendors or a fresh mango smoothie.

On the weekends, five suburban spaces in Nightcliff, Parap, Rapid Creek, Palmerston and Coolalinga are transformed into open-air markets where locals go for their weekly supply of seasonal fruit and vegetables, authentic laksa and curries and fresh juices.

Sounds of Silence, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT

4. Dine under the stars overlooking Uluru

Dining under a canopy of a million stars is a true NT experience, and there are opportunities to do it all over the Territory.

Central Australia’s ultimate starry dining experience is the magical Sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru. Sip champagne from a red desert dune as the setting sun lights up the magnificent Uluru then enjoy a gourmet feast of delicacies like barramundi, kangaroo, crocodile and bush salads complemented by Australian wines.

Further north in Katherine (186 miles [300 kilometres] south of Darwin), wind the pace back a notch at magnificent Katherine Gorge. On the tranquil Nabilil Dreaming Sunset cruise you’ll learn about the area’s Jawoyn Aboriginal people as the setting sun casts a fiery glow over the gorge, followed by a three-course buffet dinner by candlelight.

The Sounds of Silence experience at Uluru – what to expect:

- Outback style canapés to start
- A three-course bush tucker inspired buffet (vegetarian available) followed by scrumptious desserts
- Beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks served throughout the evening
- An introduction to traditional Indigenous dance
- Didgeridoo performance
- A guided tour of the spectacular night sky by the resident ‘Star Talker’

Stokes Hill Wharf, Darwin, NT

5. Enjoy a drink as the sun sets

Sunset is a particularly magical time in the Northern Territory, and enjoying a drink as the sky is tickled through hues of orange and purple is a quintessential experience, all over the Territory.

Pull up a chair at a waterfront bar, around a desert campfire or on the verandah of a colourful outback pub. Hop aboard a camel and ride it to dinner, toasting your mount with a cool drink afterwards. Sip champagne on a yacht or catamaran as you cruise the glittering Darwin Harbour or pack a picnic for a sunset dinner on the beach. There are so many options to toast the sunset in the Northern Territory, and it’s a memory many visitors hold dearest from their Territory experience.