Stairs are lowered from a ferry onto the rocky red beach of Bathurst Island, and a group of Sistagirls descend, waving like royalty.
"From drag queen to drag suitcase," says Jason De Santis wryly, as he and Sistagirl Nicole Miller lug their suitcases up the beach.
"I feel like we're walking up the bloody hill of Oxford Street now. I'm glad I've got thongs on. And they're on my feet!"
Also known as drag queen Foxy Empire, Mr De Santis supported the Sistagirls — Tiwi Island trans women — at their first Mardi Gras, and was part of the group of about 30 who travelled the 6,000-kilometre round trip to strut their stuff in Sydney for their debut at the city's iconic Mardi Gras parade last Saturday.
"It just went fabulous, we was all overjoyed, we couldn't even think that we was there," Ms Miller said.
"My heart was trembling, I couldn't believe it, I was over-excited."
The group spent several months crowdfunding so they could afford to strut their stuff down Oxford Street and show off their unique blend of LGBTIQ and Tiwi culture.
"The vibe as we were getting ready, it was quite exciting," Mr De Santis said.
"It wasn't until the girls actually got into the line with the float that they realised how big this was, and that there were people lined on the streets waiting just to see them."
Ms Miller said she felt embraced by the community as the Sistagirls paraded down Oxford Street.
"I was really happy with that too and all my other girls, the support and people around us, that was just explosive, I couldn't believe my eyes," she said.
"I'm glad I'm back home, it's just like I'm bringing Sydney back here."
The girls are already looking ahead to next year's march.
"I'm really looking forward to the following years of Mardi Gras and seeing how this NT float will grow and what it's going to look like, because the difference between now and three years ago when it started is huge," Mr De Santis said.
"I don't think the Sistagirls are never going to not be on a float now."
And he's extending a hand to the rest of the LGBTIQ community to join them.
"This year was about the Sistagirls, we set the bar now, but we want more of those people from the community," he said.
"From the desert to the sea, if you want to put your hand up do it, this is the introduction to the world out there that can support us."
But for now, the exhausted but happy group are back home on the island and keen to begin their recovery.
"After doing the golden mile in eight-inch heels, my feet are so sore," Mr De Santis said.
"I just can't wait to be eating fish, oysters, crab, anything that swims in the sea, I want it to be in my belly."