Freedom Day Festival ·

Freedom Day Festival

The Gurindji people invite you on a journey into the heart of the Northern Territory for a memorable weekend of arts, culture, music and sports.

Freedom Day is one of the most unique and remote festival experiences Australia has to offer, where people from all walks of life come together in a celebration of Land Rights, community success, unity and pride.

We look forward to welcoming you to Gurindji country!

Here’s the latest program for Freedom Day 2019. From the Freedom Day March to the footy, basketball, concerts, fireworks and more, this year is set to be another excellent three days of celebration and commemoration.


Honouring our Elders

Freedom Day Festival is an event inspired by the brave and determined actions of our Gurindji Elders. It is a commemoration and a celebration of the long and difficult campaign they undertook to fight for the rights of the Gurindji people and of all Aboriginal people Australia-wide. The Wave Hill Walk-off changed Australia forever, sparking the Land Rights movement. We honour our Elders and pay our respects to them this coming Freedom Day.

Northern Territory legends Wirrinyga Band will be playing on the Freedom Day stage this year and rocking the crowd just like they have been for the past 40 years. Having this Arnhem Land mob here for Freedom Day is a big honour and we can’t wait till they hit the stage on Friday 23 August.

With the festival just around the corner, many of you will be keen to work out the finer details of transport, accommodation, food, water and more. All of the key bits and pieces can be accessed below, but it’s important to note up front that this is a very remote, community-run event, with limited accommodation options (camping only). If you’re well prepared and have the essentials sorted, Freedom Day will be easy and enjoyable.

Formerly known as Wave Hill, the twin communities of Kalkaringi (also spelt Kalkarindji)  and Daguragu are small and very remote Aboriginal communities in the upper Victoria River region of the Northern Territory, Australia. The communities are located on the Buntine Highway 480km southwest of Katherine and approximately 800km southwest of Darwin. Until 1975 the land was held under the Wave Hill Cattle Station. The combined population of Kalkaringi/ Daguragu is approximately 750 people.

It takes approximately 9 hours direct by road from Darwin to Kalkaringi, which will take you through only one major township of Katherine, approximately 5 hours from Kalkaringi. The community can be accessed all year round via a sealed road, though access may be difficult during the wet season due to flooding and condition of the road (rainfall is highly unlikely in August). The community can also be accessed via air through chartered air services.

Getting To Kalkaringi

Click here to find Kalkaringi with Google Maps

By Car: From Darwin, travel south along Stuart Highway for 300km to Katherine. From Katherine travel west along the Victoria Highway for 130km and turn left onto the Buntine Highway. Travel for 290km through to Top Springs and then Kalkaringi (170kms). Please take care whilst travelling the Buntine Highway as you may meet road trains from the cattle stations, and cattle and wildlife are frequently on the road. Get completely off the road if you see a road train coming towards you on the single lane highway.
By Public Transport: Both Greyhound Buses and the Bodhi Bus service the route from Darwin to Katherine. The Bodhi Bus normally travels from Katherine to Kalkaringi on Tuesday and Saturday, but as a generous sponsor is offering extra festival specials from Darwin (on the Thursday 22 and returning Monday 26th). Please register your interest with Bodhi Bus by calling (08)89710774 or email (


Kalkaringi does not require a permit for visitors. Permission is normally required to visit Daguragu but for the duration of Freedom Day Festival this requirement has been waived for festive activity areas. We ask that you please respect privacy of the local community and to please dress conservatively. Please keep within the designated car parking areas and not venture into the residential area unless invited. If you have concerns about local cultural protocols, talk to locals or visit the Festival Information Tent.

Tickets & Donations

Entry is free for this year’s festival. The festival is a challenge financially so any donations are greatly appreciated and can be made via our donations page.

Photography and Audio/Video Recording
Please ask permission to take an individual’s photograph. It is not permissible to publish images of Aboriginal people of our community without their permission for reasons of cultural sensitivity. Any use of images for promotional or commercial use without the permission of the Freedom Day Festival Organising Committee will breach cultural protocols and may be liable to legal action.

Alcohol and Drugs
The Freedom Day Festival is an alcohol and drug free event. Warnkurr Club will be open for service of food and non-alcoholic beverages only. Penalties for having drugs or alcohol can be severe. Please respect our community’s wish to deliver the event in an alcohol and drug free environment.

Smoke Free Zones
The festival supports Kath West Health Board’s QUIT smoking campaign. Please respect the comfort of other patrons in designated smoke free zones.

The traditional language of Kalkaringi/Daguragu is Gurindji, but the languages of neighbouring groups, Mudburra, Ngarinyman, Bilinarra, Warlpiri and others, are also known to some degree. Today Gurindji Kriol, a variety of Top End Kriol with a large admixture of Gurindji is the most common language in the community with English also used with service providers. The language of instruction in the school is English.

Car Parking
Please follow the signs and traffic personnel then park and camp where directed. Car parking is free for festival patrons. Please respect our residents and do not camp or park on footpaths or private property. There will be restricted entry for vehicles in Daguragu. A free Shuttle Service will operate between Kalkaringi and Daguragu.

We provide a number of campgrounds where visitors can set up their own self-sufficient bush camps. Our campgrounds need to accommodate a large number of people so please keep your campsites small and conserve space wherever possible. There is no electricity available on-site for patron’s campsites. Toilet and shower facilities are available in all camping grounds but are basic.

Port-a-loos are brought in for the weekend. There are four existing toilet blocks in the community. There are a very limited number of temporary showers available, however, you can refresh in the croc-free Victoria River near the Freedom Day Ceremony site.

Please do not drive around the campgrounds once you have set-up your campsite.

Keep your valuables safe. Theft can be a problem at any large event, so please do not bring anything of value to the festival other than what is absolutely necessary. All valuables remain the responsibility of the camper.

Camping gear – you need to be self-sufficient.

Tents, bedding, chairs, food, water, eskies
20 L water containers full of water – you will need plenty of water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. There are no taps in the bush campgrounds. Taps in the community supply potable water but are not commonly available.
Water bottles
Torches and lighting for the evening
Sun protection – broad brimmed hat, sun screen, umbrella
Money, anticipate your needs for the weekend
Medication (cool storage if necessary), first aid kit
Food (also see shop, club and school food details below)
Please place rubbish in the bins provided.


Kalkaringi Store
There is a fully stocked general store and takeaway shop located at the entrance to Kalkaringi on the Buntine Highway. 24-hour fuel is available using credit card or debit card. The store sells bagged ice.

SHOP Hours:

22/8  9am – 5pm

23/8  8 am – 6 pm

24/8 8 am  – 5 pm

25/8 9 am – 4 pm


22/8 9am – 3pm

23/8 9am  – 4pm

24/8 9am – 3pm

25/8 9am – 3pm

Social Club

During the Freedom Day Festival weekend, Warnkurr Club will be open from 6pm till 11pm for service of food and non-alcoholic beverages only. You can eat at the social club or take it away.

Kalkaringi School BBQ

Festival food can also be found at the Kalkaringi school’s BBQ fundraiser.

Eftpos and ATM machines are located at the Kalkaringi Store. Warnkurr Club also has eftpos.

Mobile Phones / Internet
The community is serviced by Telstra 4G only. Other carriers are unavailable. To lengthen the life of your battery, you are advised to enable message bank and switch off your device, or switch to airplane mode while enjoying yourself at the Festival. There are no charging stations. Any phones found plugged into power points in the food or stalls area will be unplugged. There is limited electricity available at the site and we do not wish to have a power outage.


Kalkaringi Health Clinic
Kalkaringi Clinic is open Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 4:00PM. It is closed Saturday and Sunday. As Kalkaringi is a remote location with no pharmacy, please bring all your medications with you.

Ambulance and paramedical services will be on call 24 hours a day during the event for emergencies only. Phone the clinic on 08 8975 0785 for emergencies or 000 for major emergencies.

First Aid
St John’s Ambulance will operate a First Aid post in Kalkaringi and in Daguragu each day of the Festival and will be based at the football oval.

Essential Medications Storage
You will need to provide your own esky or car fridge for medications requiring cool storage. Cool storage facility for essential medications is NOT available at the clinic during the event.


Kalkaringi Police will be present throughout the Festival. Community Night Patrol crews will be on patrol and are there to support patron safety.

Kalkaringi School has offered its school grounds as a key venue for Festival. Please respect the school property.

In staging the Festival we believe our responsibility is to create a safe, healthy and attractive site for our local people and our visitors. We ask you to join us in achieving our obligation to conserve and enhance the natural environment. Please look after our vegetation and waterways and keep them free of waste and contaminants.


Water is always a precious commodity. We would appreciate if visitors would join with us in conserving water in the following ways: restrict yourself to one shower a day or have a swim and please bring water for your own purposes wherever possible. All tap water in the community is potable. Drinking water will be available for sale at Kalkaringi Store and at locations through the festival.

Swimming in local rivers and waterholes is generally safe, however, please check with locals regarding cultural protocols. Swimming is at your own risk.


Kalkaringi dry seasons can be hot and dusty. Mean maximum temperature for August is 30 degrees C and minimum 11 degrees C; mean August rainfall is 0.8mm.

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