Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta is a family fun day

Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta is without a doubt the event of the Top End.  The regatta is a fun day with thousands of people flocking to Mindil Beach in Darwin.   

Its a day of activities, creative beach competitions and events for all ages!

Families share a fun day at the beach.  Mindil Beach markets open all day for food and drinks!   Its a great time to hang out with friends and family … and thousands of others simply enjoying the fun day on Mindil Beach!

Read more about DarwinDarwin has the best lifestyle

When?  July – every year!

Each year the timing may be slightly different so if you’re planning to visit Darwin next year, check the official website for dates and details – Beer Can Regatta.

Build It Yourself (BIY)

Darwin's Beer Can Regatta

Preparation for the regatta often starts weeks before … or days, or sometimes hours before and begins as a BIY boat building competition.  The brief is simple.  Create a float-able structure using recycled beer cans, softdrink cans, softdrink bottles and milk containers.  There are a few specific rules of course.

Competitors plan, collect usable components – beg, steal or borrow and conspire in secrecy to build the craft of their dreams!

An impossible task you may think?

you may be right!

What happens if your boat don’t float?

  • Always have Plan B.  There are boat races (Henley style) for the non floating flotilla.  The Henley on Mindil is a keenly contested race!

Darwin's Beer Can Regatta

The first Beer Can Regatta

The first Beer Can Regatta was run in June 1974, and was originally proposed as a solution to the littering issues that existed in Darwin at the time.  Rumour has it that if you lined up all the littered beer cans end to end, they would span from Darwin to Katherine (over 320 kilometres)!  Of course, that was never proven!

Today, Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta has become one of the largest events raising substantial funds for Darwin charities each year.  Run by the Lions Clubs of Darwin, the event draws thousands of families and fun lovers to the beach every year to participate in the day’s events.

Tongue-in-cheek and with a hearty sense of humour, the following rules apply!

DIY Boats - Beer Can Regatta

Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta is serious business

There’s a number of the structured events throughout the day, each carrying lucrative prizes and ‘chest pounding’ kudos for the win!

The Ten Can-mandments

  1. Thou shalt enter the event in the right spirit.
  2. Thou shalt build the craft of cans.
  3. The craft shall float by cans alone.
  4. Thou shalt not drown.
  5. Thou shalt not take the name of the craft in vain: any craft bearing signs or lettering that may be offensive will be barred.
  6. Thou shalt not drift from the straight and narrow and end up at Mandorah.
  7. Thou shalt not protest too much.
  8. Thou shall honor thy Committee.
  9. Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Nothing really to do with the Regatta, but it gives us an air of responsibility and respect.
  10. Thou shalt go back and read the first can-mandment again.

The Darwin Beer Can Regatta is a fun day for everyone!

The Waterside Events

Beer Can Regatta - Battle of Mindil

A full day of friendly competitions and a number of key events lead the day on Mindil Beach.

  • Softdrink Can Boat Race
  • Beer Can Boat Race
  • and the challenge of all challenges – the Battle of Mindil

The Battle of Mindil is the boat race where anything goes.  Weapons of mass destruction form part of the flotilla and include flour bombs, brightly coloured marine flares, powerful water canons and a range of other tactical strategies.  All designed to bombard your fellow competitors.

Sailors are armed, but not particularly dangerous!

The clear objective to locate the booty, the challenge is for the opposing ‘boats’ to ‘Pirate‘ said booty by whatever means they can.   All booty must be surrendered it to the officials on the beach!

Beachside Competitions

Beer Can Regatta - fun for allThere are Ironmen (and Ironwomen) competitions, Tug-of-War Competitions, Kids Sand Castle competitions and lots of novelty beach races throughout the day.

The most popular event is the Ladies & Mens Thong Throwing Competition of the footwear kind, that is.

5 Essential Items to prepare for Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta

  1. Good Camera: There will be plenty of photo moments so bring along a good camera.  I highly recommend the Sony A6000 for your fun day.  It’s light, compact and takes amazing photos!
  2. Beach Shoes:  The outdoor lifestyle in Australia means you will need specially designed beach shoes!  Be comfortable, and treat yourself to a pair here.
  3. An Australian Guidebook:  There is nothing like Lonely Planet Guidebooks so get yourself a copy of their Australia Travel Guide to take you to all the best spots to visit.
  4. A Stainless Steel Water Bottle:  Stay hydrated in the harsh Top End sun.  Get yourself a Yeti stainless water bottle and refill as you go.  Australian tap water is drinkable … and free!
  5. Good Sun Hat:  You will need a good sun hat for protection. In my opinion you can’t go past this packable and foldable Furtalk Womens Beach  Hat.  Nothing can ruin your day faster than sunburn!

The sun is fierce in the Top End even in the winter months, remember to Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.   Protect yourself from the sun!

Where to stay in Darwin



Have you been to Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta ?   Save this on Pinterest! 

Beer Can Regatta

There’s so much to do in Darwin so pack your bags and come visit.  This is just a sampling of the adventures in the Top End of Australia.  Want to read more?

Are you thinking of visiting Darwin?  Plan ahead and time your visit to Darwin for the next Beer Can Regatta.  You will have the time of your life!

Reference: beercanregatta.org.au


  1. What an awesome event!!! It is amazing what people can do with recycled goods though I am a wee bit sad that this was created due to pollution.
    I think I would love to participate in the Battle of Mindil. What kind of booty do they hid on their crafts? That must be amazing to watch as they try to stop the “pirates” from invading their crafts! What a blast.
    Love all the other activities and thanks for clarifying the thong toss for us americans who call them flip flops cause at first I was like, “Oh MY!”

  2. Thanks for your message Eric! The Regatta is a hoot and my plan is to do an indepth update this year with this year’s creative entries. It’s been a fantastic solution for polution in the NT and congratulations to the organisers for their smart thinking and foresight! Booty = piles of fake cash, beer, sunscreen, hats and other promotional gear .. all in the name of fun!

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