Garma Event Information

Each year 2,500 guests from across the nation are immersed in the rich cultural traditions of their Yolngu hosts, experiencing miny'tji (art), manikay (song), bunggul (dance) and ancient story-telling, as we pride ourselves in showcasing the treasures of the mighty Yolngu clans.

Over four days guests camp at Gulkula, a significant ceremonial ground, remotely located 40 kilometres on an unsealed red dirt road, from Nhulunbuy in northeast Arnhem Land.


2022 Dates

The next Garma Festival is from Friday 29 July – Monday 1 August


Organising your trip to Garma

To immerse in the full spectrum of programmed activities we recommend arriving on Thursday afternoon/evening and leaving on Tuesday morning.

 Please ensure that you complete the online travel form with your flight details. This will be emailed to the ticket purchaser to complete.

Gates will open to the public at 5.30 pm on Thursday 28 July, we encourage guests to eat a meal in their transit location before getting on your flight to Gove.  

Festival programming and activities commence Friday 29 July and end Monday evening at approximately 9 pm.

The official opening of the Festival commences at 4 pm Friday 

The official closing of the Festival commences at 4 pm Monday

Gates will close to the public at 10 am on Tuesday 2 August


COVID-19 Information

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Yothu Yindi Foundation is committed to delivering attendees and the local community members a COVID-safe event. The health and safety of our people and the remote communities of Arnhemland is our number one priority and will be implementing various measures on-site based on the Chief Health Officer NT Health Department COVID-19 event guidelines including but not limited to

  1. Social distancing practice and signage across the full festival site (including physical spacing requirements while queuing)
  2. Person limits for particular spaces and areas; or
  3. Person density requirements.
  4. Hand washing and sanitising stations across the full festival site and enhanced cleaning in all areas, as well as COVID-19 safety marshalls.
  5. Wearing masks for some indoor areas on-site and travelling to and from the event in designated YYF vehicles where physical distancing may be difficult.

We ask that you and each member of your booking party make a reasonable assessment of your health status before attending the event and that you stay at home if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and we highly recommend that you are up-to-date with your flu vaccinations.

Anyone not adhering to these requirements may be in breach of directions issued by the CHO for which penalties may apply. For further information please visit the NT Coronavirus website.



Tickets can be purchased from Sticky Tickets.

Festival Location

The Garma festival is held at Gulkula which is about a 30min drive on an unsealed road from the town of Gove in Nhulunbuy northeast Arnhem Land. Gulkula is the traditional ceremonial grounds of the Yolngu.

Getting here

Airnorth operates daily flights to Gove from Darwin Airport (1 hour 10 mins) and Cairns Airport  (1 hour 40 mins), both of which connect with flights from other capital cities. For the latest Airnorth flight schedule, please visit the Airnorth website.

There is also a range of smaller charter companies that offer flights to northeast Arnhem Land from Darwin, learn more about the companies offering charter flight services here.

Please note that all travel arrangements are the responsibility of each guest if you require assistance with booking flights we recommend:

Entertainment Travel Partners

Brad Thomas Phone: 02 9280 3767 or email: Travel Partners


Airport Transfers

Our friendly Garma transport team will provide free of charge airport transfers to all guests arriving at the Gove Airport and transport you to the event, and will transport you back to the airport for your departure flight. Airport transfers will be available for guests arriving on Thursday. 

Note: we do not provide any other transport to and from the event if you choose to stay off-site or wish to venture into town during the festival. Please see below for options:

Hire Cars

Kansas Transport T: 08 8987 2872

Gove Rentals: 08 8987 1700

Mannys car hire: 08 8972 2300


Planning on driving to Garma?

If you are considering driving to the Garma Festival you can via the Central Arnhem Road, the turnoff is 50 kilometres south of Katherine and then  it is 675 kilometres from this turn-off to Nhulunbuy.  A four-wheel drive is essential for travelling the Central Arnhem Road as the majority of the road is unsealed. The road conditions can vary from sealed roads to gravel and dirt road. You will come across some difficult river crossings, large corrugations and roads are often prone to washout. Do not swim at the river crossings as saltwater crocodiles inhabit these areas. Be particularly careful driving at night as buffaloes and other animals tend to stray across the roads.

Be sure to drive to the conditions at all times. Carry plenty of food, fuel and water, spare tyre(s), puncture repair kit and mobile service that can be used in remote areas.

Before travelling, we recommend that you check the road conditions here.


When travelling along the Central Arnhem Road a permit is required from the Northern Land Council.

The Northern Land Council have allowed all ticket holders to use their 2022 Garma Ticket as their permit to travel directly to the Garma Festival site via the Central Arnhem Road. This permit does not cover guests wanting to visit other sites or communities in the Arnhem Land area. You will have to apply for additional permit/s from Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation or the Northern Land Council.

For information regarding permit applications please check the Northern Land Council and the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation websites.

PLEASE NOTE:  The Northern Land Council advise that permission will NOT be granted for any travel via the Ramingining Road.



Accommodation at the event is camping in tents, unfortunately, we cannot cater for any type of campervans, camping trailers or camping vehicles onsite due to limited space. All guests will be provided with a  4P size tent, sleeping bag and single air mattress. For the comfort of your stay, we encourage guests to bring their sheets, blanket and pillow as these items are not supplied. 

The Garma Festival is intended to be a bush camping experience and the festival site is well set up for this. Camping with us onsite enables guests a greater opportunity to experience the event, its special character, purpose and essence. However, if you choose to stay offsite discounts are not available to guests who forego their camping entitlements. If you do opt to not camp at the festival, accommodation facilities in Nhulunbuy are very limited and can book out very quickly. We do not take responsibility for travel or accommodation arrangements for participants who elect to stay offsite.

Gove Peninsula T: 08 8987 0700 Website enquiries

Walkabout Lodge T: 08 8939 2000 Website enquiries

Toilets and Showers

There are operational toilets and shower blocks located in various areas on site.


There are no clothes washing facilities. Please pack enough clothing to last you the entire duration of your stay.

What to Bring

Please see our What to Pack for Garma


Garma is a fully catered event with three main meals per day along with morning and afternoon tea. Please check notice boards for kitchen schedules. We also have a Garma Café on site which opens daily for guests to purchase a barista-made coffee, tea and other café-style beverages. Non-vegetarian and vegetarian meals will be on offer for all guests. For guests that have specific dietary needs, we ask that you advise us of any food allergies and intolerances so we can inform our caterers of guests’ dietary needs.

Note: Our Caterers will make every attempt to identify ingredients that may cause allergic reactions for those with food allergies. Every effort is made to instruct our food production staff on the severity of food allergies; however, there is always a risk of contamination. There is also a possibility that manufacturers of the commercial foods we use could change the formulation at any time, without notice. Customers concerned with food allergies need to be aware of this risk. The Yothu Yindi Foundation will not assume any liability for adverse reactions to foods consumed or items one may come in contact with while eating catered meals.


Alcohol and drugs

Gulkula is a dry community, and the Festival is strictly a drug and alcohol-free event.

There are heavy penalties for persons taking and consuming alcohol and/or illegal drugs at the festival, patrons caught will be immediately escorted off-site by the local Police. We have police sniffer dogs on regular patrol during the festival.

Protocols and Conduct

You are guests on Yolngu land and entering Yolngu time. Yolngu perceptions, priorities and preoccupations are different from those of mainstream Australia. Be patient, and try to leave at home your expectations of how things are learnt, and how events should run. Traditionally Yolngu learn by observation, by looking and listening. Asking too many questions can be inappropriate. When you have questions, choose them carefully and thoughtfully.

Respect people’s personal space, particularly in the camping areas and each guest’s tent. Sticking to the walking paths provided is important to ensure you’re not stumbling across cultural space.

We ask that guests respect the community and stay within the festival areas and camping zones. Guests should NOT leave the Gulkula site on their own and should only walk along specifically marked trails. This is also for your own safety and wellbeing as we have wild buffalo wander this country and organisers spend considerable effort in monitoring their trails before Garma each year. Please ensure someone knows where you are travelling around the site. Avoid strolling around and visiting Yolngu campsites unless specifically invited and accompanied by Yolngu.

Please exercise courtesy and sensitivity when taking photographs – seek the permission of the Yothu Yindi Foundation and subjects if taking close-ups, or photographs of small groups, particularly in the women’s programs and men’s programs cultural and health sessions. The Yothu Yindi Foundation has enforced a strict Intellectual Property Policy that safeguards both individuals and Yolngu families when posting Garma to social media channels. You are reminded that we are working in a realistic environment of high mortality. Cultural protocols are strict for that matter and we ask guests to respect this process.

Treat the old people with the greatest of respect – they hold the knowledge and the power.

Dress conservatively and be sun-wise. Too much skin on display draws inadvertent attention not appropriate for this event. Schools attending the festival should advise their students of this policy. Our dress standards also protect our participants from harsh weather conditions. Plan a sensible and modest wardrobe, covered shoes and include a hat to protect you from the elements.


The Garma Festival is held in a remote bush location. Currently, we have limited facilities to cater for people with disabilities. We have one wheelchair-accessible toilet and shower facility on site. We are planning to better enable and accommodate guests in the future.

Accompanied Children

All children attending Garma must be registered with an accompanying adult. While the organisers will do everything in their power to make the site child-friendly, the responsibility for the care and wellbeing of children lies entirely with parent/s, carers or guardians, please ensure that you supervise your children at all times.

Mobile Coverage

Mobile coverage is very limited, however, Telstra will be on-site with a SATCow– Satellite Cell on Wheels that provides connectivity for all guests, you may want to bring a Telstra sim card if they are not your carrier.


Guests are welcome to take photos or make video recordings for their personal keepsakes, however, any use of images or video recordings for promotional or commercial use without the permission of the Yothu Yindi Foundation will breach cultural protocols and may be liable for legal action.
Requests to use recordings and images for public viewing will need to be submitted to the Yothu Yindi Foundation Director of media and approved before use. All media requests are to be emailed to complete with your contact details.


The festival runs during the dry season months; therefore, days are usually dry and hot with top temperatures of around 30 degrees, however at nighttime, the temperate can drop dramatically to around 13-15 degrees. We recommend that you bring warm clothes for the evening and early mornings.

If you are not accustomed to this type of climate, we strongly advise keeping up a high fluid intake to avoid dehydration and wearing a broad-brimmed hat to guard against the harsh sun. Although quite rare at this time of year we have the odd occasional rain showers, we also experience heavy dew in the mornings, therefore we suggest that when you are not occupying your tent you keep it closed and zipped up to avoid your belongings getting wet.


Like most bushland in Australia, Gulkula has a healthy population of venomous snakes. If you see a snake, don't panic, do not touch it or attempt to move it yourself. Please notify a Garma crew member immediately so we can have the ranger safely remove it away from the site.

Wear insect repellents and cover-up at dusk and dawn to avoid mosquitoes. You may wish to bring a mosquito net as individuals’ reactions to bites vary.

Crocodiles (baru) inhabit the waters of Arnhem Land. They are not a threat at the Gulkula site which is atop an escarpment 100 metres above sea level. However, we do advise that caution should always be considered if venturing near water.

Sea wasps (box jellyfish) and other stingers exist in the ocean. It is highly recommended that you only enter the sea under the company and supervision of local guides. Note that there is a public swimming pool in Nhulunbuy where you will not have to worry about baru (crocodile), jellyfish or stingers.

There is also a local population of wild buffalo. If seen, do not approach under any circumstances. Buffalo is known for their short tempers and is not appreciative of being interrupted. If you see a buffalo, retreat quietly. Please let Garma crew members know immediately if you spot a buffalo so that a qualified ranger can assist the buffalo in finding a safer place for it to go about its’ daily business.

Cashless event

To minimise the risk of transmission and direct contact we have introduced cashless payments for making purchases at the festival. There will be EFTPOS machines stationed at the Garma Cafe, Merchandise Store for card purchases. Please note there are no ATMs available at the festival.

First Aid

A first-aid service is available onsite for minor injuries or ailments. Any serious conditions will be taken to the Nhulunbuy Hospital. As the festival is in a remote location with no pharmacy close by, we recommend that you bring all your medications with you. We have a fridge located in the administration office to store medicines that require refrigeration.  Please advise the organisers if you have special needs or conditions.

Volunteering at Garma

Please check our volunteer page for further information.


Contact Us

PO Box 42119
Casuarina NT 0811 Ph: 08 8945 5055 E:



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