Written by on 24/05/2023

On Sunday 4 June 2023, City of Darwin will host the Dragon Boat Festival at the Darwin Waterfront as a free event for all members of the community and Territory FM will be there on the day and might even go for a paddle.

The Festival will kick off on Sunday the 4th at 8am and go through till 5pm. The following day (Monday) there will be an International Trade Show held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade from 9am – 5pm.

The history of dragon boats is steeped in a rich fabric of ancient ceremony and ritual and can be traced back more than 2000 years. Modern dragon boat racing is a fast-paced team sport that fosters inclusivity, fun, fair play, and team work, it has enjoyed healthy support since its first introduction in 1998 in Darwin.

Dragon boat racing demonstrations will run over the course of the day, showcasing a rare and unique cultural experience with the local Darwin community. The Dragon boat races will be run in the spirit of fun and festivity and not be held to international standards. Experienced teams from Darwin’s Sister Cities will also be participating in the races, facilitating deep cultural exchange connections between our cities.

A traditional dragon boat eye-dotting ceremony will take place at the beginning of the festival. In Chinese custom, the eye-dotting symbolises the awakening of the dragon and provides it with life, eyesight, taste, and power.

The festival’s program will also feature hands-on, interactive activities and cultural displays, including traditional performances, painting, paper cutting, mahjong, Chinese calligraphy and more to showcase our diverse and vibrant community here in Darwin.


Australia China Friendship Society NT Branch

  • Mahjong
  •  Chopsticks competition
  • Art and cultural exhibition

Confucius Insititute, Charles Darwin University

  •  Chinese knot making workshop
  • Chinese calligraphy
  • Children’s traditional Hanfu clothing exchange
  • Dragon puppet making workshop
  • Huff-and-puff ping pong

City of Darwin

  • Fun Bus

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Australia

  • Traditional Chinese handcrafts

NT Art Storms

  • Sand card artwork workshops

Tip Top Circus Entertainment

  • Children’s face-painting and balloon twisting

Food Stalls

  • Australia China Friendship Society NT
  • BBQ Pit Stop
  • Bilian Ma
  • Filosofood
  • Rigney’s Kitchen

So make sure you mark it on your calendar for a great fun day out.

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