Freedom Day Festival

Freedom Day Festival

Freedom Day Festival

blackfella, whitefella unite as one


LOCATIONDarwin to Kalkarindji
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 travels from Katherine to Kalkaringi on Tuesday and Saturday. (


Kalkaringi is a service town and 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. Visitors are reminded that they are guests on Gurindji Country and we ask that you please respect the privacy of local community, and to 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 & Registration
Entry is free to this year’s event but please register your attendance via emailing
The festival is always a challenge financially for community so any voluntary contributions would be most welcome via our Donations page (link to Donate Page).

Gates Open: 8:00AM Thursday 24 August 2017

Gates Close: Monday 28 August 2017

For Information during Festival, go to the Festival Information Tent.

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. 

Festival Registration
Bring your printed ticket and photo ID to the Festival Registration Tent to collect your festival wristband.

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


Please place rubbish in the bins provided.


Kalkaringi Store
There is a fully stocked general store located at the entrance to Kalkaringi on the Buntine Highway. The store will be open from 9am to 5pm daily. 24hour fuel is available using credit card or debit card. The store sells bagged ice.

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.