Garma Event Info

Download Garma 2017 Information Guide (PDF)



Ticketing Structure and Pricing

Our ticketing structure is designed as an all-inclusive package deal.  Discounts will not be issued to those choose to attend only a portion of the event.

Garma Individual Adult Tickets: $1815.00

Entitles each guest access for entirety of the 4 day Garma event, airport shuttles, all meals, basic tea and coffee facilities, camping accommodation (assembled tent, sleeping bag and air mattress) included.

Garma Individual Child & Student Tickets: $1056.00

A discounted student rate is available for children, fulltime school and university students who holds a valid student ID.  Your student ID will need to be presented upon arrival at the ticket office (N/A for children)

Garma Community Tickets: Please contact the Yothu Yindi Foundation, via email admin@garmafestival. for further information.

Garma Media Tickets: Please contact the Yothu Yindi Foundation, via email for further information.

See our ticket prices page for pricing, for further descriptions and instructions on how to book for Garma 2017.



Garma 2017 will span for 4 days from 4 - 7 August.

Programming will extend from early Friday until late on Monday night. It is suggested that you arrive on Thursday night and leave on Tuesday morning to avoid missing out on some special programming editions unique to 2017.



The Gulkula site where Garma is held is located about 30 minutes from the township of Nhulunbuy on the Central Arnhem Highway.



Flights into and departing Gove (Nhulunbuy) are the responsibility of each guest. Commercial flights are available from AirNorth. Additionally, the Yothu Yindi Foundation Qantas Garma Charter will return, to secure your seat on the charter, please be in contact with Brad Thomas (details below).

Guests are encouraged to book and pay for flights well ahead of time, to avoid last minute price hikes as Garma draws closer.

We strongly recommend you engage our Yothu Yindi Foundation official Garma travel agent, who is more than happy to assist with your flight arrangement, for further details, contact  Brad Thomas at Entertainment Travel Partners:

Brad Thomas
Entertainment Travel Partners
PO Box 439 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
T: +61 (0)2 9280 3767
F: +61 (0)2 9212 6524

Airport Shuttles

We will provide you with airport shuttle transfers to and from Gulkula for any commercial flights arriving between the morning of Thursday 3rd August and the morning of Tuesday 8th August, on the condition that you must provide your flight details within your online registration process by Friday 30th June 2017.  Any additional transport required to and from the Garma site (into town or for flights outside the Garma open to public period) is not the responsibility of the Garma team. Please see below for options


T: 131 008 for 12-passenger mini bus taxi or 4-passenger taxi operating between the Garma site at Gulkula and the Nhulunbuy (Gove) township.

Hire Cars

Gove Rentals
Manny’s Car Rental
T: 08 89 240 000
T: 08 8987 2872
T: 08 8987 1700
T: 08 89 872 300

Road Safety

If you plan to commute to Gove via the central Arnhem highway from please take care. A high clearance four wheel drive vehicle is essential for guests travelling this route. Be sure to engage 4WD on all dirt roads.

Garma guests increase traffic on the Central Arnhem Highway (which is an unsealed road), reducing visibility considerably. Roads are unsealed and there are some difficult river crossings (including the Goyder River crossing), large corrugations and roads are prone to washouts. Do not swim at the river crossings as salt water crocodiles inhabit these areas. Be particularly careful at night – buffaloes and other animals can stray on to the road.

Be sure to drive to the conditions at all times. DO NOT SPEED! Carry plentiful food, fuel and water, spare tyre(s) and a puncture repair kit.  A special arrangement has been made so that your Garma ticket doubles as a valid permit to drive this route. Please have your ticket on hand at all times for presentation to local authorities.

Be sure to check road conditions before departure

Fun Fact - Speed limits are heavily enforced during the Garma period, last year 59 guests came home with a speeding ticket!



Northern Land Council Permits to Enter Aboriginal Land
The Yolngu are the traditional owners of north east Arnhem Land. They are also recognised as owners of this land under Australian law through the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) 1976. Permits are required to enter Aboriginal land.

Through a unique arrangement with the Northern Land Council who administer the permit system, your completed Official Garma Ticket becomes your official permit.

If you intend to drive to Garma, then your fully paid for Official Garma Ticket only permits you to drive via the Central Arnhem Highway directly to the festival, the township of Nhulunbuy and to attend the Festival, and all other normal permit conditions apply

PLEASE NOTE: The Northern Land Council has advised that permission will NOT be granted to travel via the Ramingining Road in 2017.
Gulkula and surrounding areas is an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), managed by Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation. Declared in March 2001 as the first IPA in the Northern Territory, the Dhimurru IPA is a part of the Australian National Reserve System of protected areas.
If you wish to visit other sites in the area, permits are required. Inquiries should be made to the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation in Nhulunbuy.

T: 08 8987 3992
F: 08 8987 3224
Please take care when driving, as many roads are unsealed and there are some difficult river crossings. A 4WD drive vehicle is highly recommended.


Alcohol and other drugs
Garma is an alcohol and drug free event. Alcohol and drugs are not permitted at the Gulkula site where Garma is held. Alcohol is also banned at Gunyangara, Birritjimi and Yirrkala communities. Penalties for taking alcohol and other drugs into restricted areas can be severe. The Yothu Yindi Foundation prides itself on delivering our event in an alcohol and drug free environment.

Protocols and Conduct 

Behaviour protocols
At Garma, you are requested to observe and work within Yolngu protocols.
  • Remember you are 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. So, when you have questions, choose them carefully and thoughtfully.
  • Respect Yolngu people’s personal space, particularly in the camping areas and each individual guest’s tent. Sticking to the walking paths provided is important to ensure you’re not stumbling across cultural space.
  • 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 subjects if taking close-ups, or photographs of small groups, particularly in the women’s programs and men’s programs cultural and health sessions.
  • Visitors should NOT leave the Gulkula site on their own and should only walk along specifically marked Festival trails. This is about showing respect for land and is also a safety issue. Wild buffalo wander this country and organisers spend considerable effort in monitoring their trails prior to Garma each year. Please ensure someone knows your travel plans.
  • Treat the old people with the greatest of respect – they hold the knowledge and the power.
  • Please be conscious that dress standards may often vary from what is considered acceptable at your home. By dressing conservatively you will avoid the possibility of causing offence. 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 sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration. Plan a sensible wardrobe, practical and covered shoes and include a hat to protect you from the elements.


Accommodation & Facilities

Garma is intended to be a camping experience and the Festival site at Gulkula is well set up for camping. Camping with us onsite at Gulkula enables guests a greater opportunity to experience Garma, and its special character, purpose and essence.

Accommodation refers to a small tent, sleeping bag and single air mattress. Guests may like to bring their own sheets and pillow. If you feel  the supplied  camping gear will not be sufficient to meet your needs we welcome you to supply your own.

Note: Although the Garma team do their best to keep guests comfortable, Garma is not a glamping experience. If you are not a glamper you may want to consider offsite accommodation options.

Onsite accommodation

Hotel style accommodation is not available onsite, however we welcome guests who which to stay offsite.  Garma does not take responsibility for travel or accommodation arrangement for participants who elect to stay offsite.  Discounts will not be given to guests who forego their camping entitlements.

Accommodation facilities in Nhulunbuy are very limited

Gove Peninsula Walkabout Lodge Aboriginal Hostel

T: 08 8987 0700 T: 08 8987 1777 T: 08 8987 2553

F: 08 8987 0770 F: 08 8987 2322

Toilets and Showers

There are flushing  toilets and hot showers on site.


There are no clothes washing facilities onsite. So if you are adverse to dust and dirt, please pack sufficiently.

What to Bring

  • towel
  • pillow and sheets
  • torch and batteries
  • toiletries
  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • mosquito repellent
  • covered shoes
  • small backpack
  • drink bottle
  • pen and notepad 



For registered guests Garma is fully catered, with three main meals a day. Please check notice boards for kitchen schedules.

The Garma team will calculate catering needs based on the registered number of guests and personnel in attendance. Vegetarians will be catered for.

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.


Garma Site Access

Gulkula is the ceremonial site upon which Garma is held. The Gulkula site sits within an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). For safety reasons and permit reasons, guests are not permitted in areas outside of the marked festival site and car park.

When making your travel arrangements please note:

  • Garma the event officially commences on Friday, 4 August and ends on the night of Monday 7 August 2017. So not to miss out, guests should take note that programming will extend from Friday morning well into Monday night
  • Site opening to public Thursday, 3 August at 8:30 am.
  • Site closure to public Tuesday, 8 August at 10:30 am.
  • Guests are welcome to camp onsite from 8:30 am 3 August until 10:30 am 8 August. All meals will be catered for during this period.


Disabled Access

Garma is held in a remote bush location. Unfortunately we do not have full facilities that cater for disabled guests. We do have one wheelchair access toilet and shower facility.  We are currently planning to better enable and accommodate guests with special requirements in the future.


Accompanied Children

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 or guardian.

Supervision responsibility sits with parents and guardians.


Cancellation Policy

Registrants cancelling before 16th May 2017 will receive a 50% refund.
Registrants cancelling after 16th May 2017 will not receive a refund.
Registrants cancelling with appropriate medical documentation will receive a full refund.

We are sorry to have to adopt this policy, but our resources are limited and we need to establish, for operational purposes, the number of visitors well before the festival commences.


Mobile Phones

Telstra enables guests of Garma to remain connected over the course of 4 days worth of activities.  The site is therefore equipped with a Telstra charging station and the supply of Telstra prepaid SIMS cards at the Garma ticketing office.  

Those wishing to use electronic devices during Garma should be aware that:

  • Telstra mobile coverage will be available
  • We encourage guests to switch their devices to flight mode whilst at Garma to extend battery life.
  • Other power outlets are located at the ticketing office/reception and guests are encouraged to remain at the reception while their device charges, as Garma staff cannot assume responsibility for any devices left unattended.
  • As power outlets are always in high demand at Garma, we predict that guests will sometimes need to wait for an outlet to become available.  To avoid disappointment we encourage guests to charge during quiet periods such as early morning and later in the evening.



ALL registered Garma participants agree to the conditions outlined in the Deed of Agreement to Make a Record at Garma. This is a legally binding document which prevents the Garma product from being used for commercial profit for purposes not aligned with the values and priorities of the Yothu Yindi Foundation. This policy has been developed out of respect for the Yolngu clans and their families and it enables them to maintain control, for protocol and cultural sensitivity reasons, of the public use of images, e.g. not publishing images of deceased persons. This policy sets out all terms and conditions prior to participants arriving on site at Gulkula. Our Garma ticketing office will request guests sign an acknowledgement that you have read, understand and will abide by the terms of this document. Formal individual requests to use recordings and images are to be approved by the Yothu Yindi Foundation in written form and emailed to stating the nature of the request.


Climate & Wildlife


Generally speaking, it is fine, rain-free and sunny. The days are quite warm (tops of around 31°C) and evenings can be cooler (down to around 15°C). We have previously experienced heavy dew and fog in the mornings. It is essential to keep up a high fluid intake (plain water is best) to avoid dehydration (particularly important if you are coming from the southern states) and it is advisable to wear a broad-brimmed hat to guard against sunburn. As Gulkula is near the coast, there are occasional rain showers. Remember to close your tent properly when leaving it, 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, and don’t give it a pat or try to move it yourself. Notify a crew member and we will have it relocated by a qualified ranger, away from the site for our guests and the snakes’ safety.

To avoid mosquitoes, wear repellents and cover up at dusk. Generally speaking, there are not many mosquitoes but you may wish to bring a mosquito net, as individual 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. Care should always be taken if venturing near water.
Sea wasps (box jelly fish) and other stingers exist in the ocean. It is highly recommended that you only enter the sea in 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, jellyfish or stingers.

There is also a local population of wild buffalo. If seen, do not approach under any circumstances. Buffalo are known for their short tempers and are not appreciative of being interrupted. If you see a buffalo, retreat quietly and quickly (preferably without attracting the attention of the buffalo). Please let staff 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.


Cash & Eftpos

THERE ARE NO ATMS AT GARMA OR GOVE AIRPORT and very limited EFTPOS facilities may be available. Whilst we may have limited EFTPOS facilities for credit card transactions we strongly urge guests to pre-empt their spending habits and bring cash to suffice. General goods (water, soft drinks, and some toiletry items), art, Garma merchandise and espresso coffee will be available for sale onsite at the Garma Shop. Nhulunbuy has supermarkets and a variety of shops and facilities.


First Aid

A first aid service is available onsite. Any serious conditions will need to be taken to Nhulunbuy Hospital. Please advise the organisers if you have special needs or conditions.


Friday 30 July - Monday 2 August 2021

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