New food festival on the menu in Kakadu

Bush tucker, barramundi and magpie goose are the key ingredients of a new marketing campaign to entice more tourists and foodies to Kakadu National Park.

The delicacies will be just some of the offerings at the inaugural ‘Taste of Kakadu’ food festival.

The 10-day program, run by Parks Australia in collaboration with local tourism operators and Tourism NT, includes pop-up degustation dinners, campfire stories, cooking demonstrations with Traditional Owners, guided bush tucker walks, sunset tasting cruises and hunting and gathering talks.

It’s hoped the food festival will boost the some 180,000 visitors the park receives each year.

“Taste of Kakadu is a unique and interactive event 50,000 years in the making,” Parks Australia’s Tourism and Marketing director Steve Wroe said.

“The Festival will take ancient traditions and give them a modern twist. Visitors to Kakadu will learn to cook, eat and live off the land with the local Indigenous Bininj/Mungguy people and experience flavours found nowhere else on earth.

“This is a must-do event for anyone in the Top End. With more than 50 activities spread out across the 10 days there is something to suit everyone and all tastes and budgets.”

A highlight of the Festival will be a traditional brunch with local Bininj woman, Mandy Muir, and Ngemba Indigenous chef, Sharon Windsor, who will share their stories through their love of native food. Indigenous celebrity chef, Zach Green, will also show visitors how to incorporate native Indigenous food into everyday cuisine in a free workshop at the Mercure Crocodile Hotel.

Department of Tourism and Culture CEO, Alastair Shields, said the Taste of Kakadu festival would help raise the profile of Kakadu, one of the Northern Territory’s major tourism attractions.

“Kakadu is known for its spectacular natural beauty and diverse wildlife but holiday-makers may not be aware it is also home to fresh produce you simply can’t find anywhere else in the world,” said Mr Shields.

“Food travel is a growing trend around the world with Tourism Australia identifying 'food and wine' as a key factor in holiday decision making, ahead of world class beauty, so marketing Kakadu as a must-do foodie destination will help attract more visitors to the Park.”

A Taste of Kakadu runs in Kakadu from 12-21 May. For a full program of events go to: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu

Water Chestnuts - image courtesy of Parks Australia and feature Traditional Owner Patsy Raglar - images depict digging for water chestnuts and a mussel basket