Leave your daily routine behind for the volatile beauty of Australia’s tropical Top End.
It’s a journey that will be your lasting memory, so take your time and experience the raw natural beauty of Australia’s Top End. Hit the road out of Darwin to discover the region’s stunning national parks, pristine river systems and abundance of nature and wildlife. Experience stunning landscapes carved by nature over millions of years and traditional Aboriginal communities and artworks.
Arnhem Land and Gove Peninsula
Arnhem Land is made up of 91,000 square kilometers of unspoiled wilderness, located in the middle of Australia’s Northern Coast, bordered by Kakadu National Park, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Arnhem Land is blessed with wild coastlines, deserted islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforests, soaring escarpments and savannah woodland.
The park protects wetlands of international importance and provides a habitat for abundant wildlife including crocodiles, dugong, nesting turtles and migratory birds. One of the last pristine areas in the world, its small population is predominantly Aboriginal people, whose traditional culture remains largely intact. The region is an exciting destination for travelers wanting authentic traditional cultural experiences, with many tailored indigenous tours on offer. This is the land where the didgeridoo originated.
Access to Arnhem Land is restricted and only selected tour operators who have earned the trust of traditional landowners may bring visitors in. It is therefore advised to travel to Arnhem Land on a tour or under approved supervision.
There are many areas of historic significance including the ruins of an early European colony at Victoria Settlement in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, on the secluded Cobourg Peninsula and the Black Point Cultural Centre which displays Aboriginal, Macassan and European histories of the area.
The town of Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land, is famous for its indigenous art. Gunbalanya (Oenpelli), one of the first stops east of Kakadu National Park, is an Aboriginal community where indigenous artists gather at the Injalak Art and Craft Centre. An open day is held in Oenpelli usually during July, when travelers can visit freely and enjoy the cultural activities without a permit.
The town of Nhulunbuy is located on the Gove Peninsula, approximately 600 kilometers east of Darwin. It is a major service center, providing accommodation and supplies, and offers spectacular beaches and great fishing.
Arnhem Land 4WD Hire – recommends following things to see and do:
Browse some of the most prized indigenous arts and crafts anywhere in the world, including the world-famous musical instrument – the didgeridoo (Yidaki).
Meet Aboriginal people in their natural environment in places like Gunbalanya, Maningrida and Yirrkala.
Discover spectacular wildlife and scenery.
Dive and spear fish around spectacular coral reefs in little-known regions.
The Cobourg Peninsula – West Arnhem Land
The Cobourg Peninsula, remote and rugged, is fringed with magnificent white sandy beaches. The Peninsula, recognized as one of Australia’s most spectacular fishing locations, is accessible only by 4WD from Oenpelli via Jabiru (it is essential you report to the Ranger Station on arrival), or a 30 minute charter flight from Darwin. Click here for more information regarding tours to Cobourg Peninsula with Venture North.
Accommodation is available at the luxury eco-resort Seven Spirit Bay Eco Wilderness Lodge. The Peninsula is the perfect destination for hiking, bird watching and photographing this truly unique landscape.
Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, Northern Australia’s first flora and fauna protection reserve, and the surrounding Cobourg Marine Park, provides an ideal habitat for many thousands of waterfowl and other bird species. The Parks and Wildlife Commission restricts the number of vehicles travelling through Arnhem Land and it is therefore necessary to apply for your permit well in advance.
Please note: Access by road to the Cobourg Peninsula is not possible during the wet season. The area can be accessed by private air charter or boat.
For further information phone (08) 8999 4555
Take the time to visit Kennedy Bay and Port Essington where over 165 years ago the British made an attempt to establish settlements. Explore the ruins at Fort Wellington (1827) and Victoria Settlement (1838) which met with failure – the harsh conditions proving too much for those early settlers.
For the keen photographer, the Cobourg Peninsula offers the visitor excellent opportunities to capture the true nature of this remote region. With an abundance of wildlife including buffalo, Timor ponies, wild boar and wallabies, and with an array of colorful birdlife there is no better location in the Top End to capture that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ shot.
Aboriginal Art and Culture
Join a safari tour with Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris to Mount Borradaile and witness one of the most stunning Aboriginal cultural sites in Australia. View galleries of ancient rock art paintings which depict the indigenous history of the clans and show elements of the Dreamtime.
Download a Parks and Wildlife fact sheet for more information.
The Gove Peninsula – East Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land is culturally strong, remote, pristine, easy to get to and has some of the best adventure fishing in the world! Yolngu people solely own Arnhem Land. Yolngu have lived in the region for at least 60,000 years with recognized land and marine estates.
Clans live throughout Arnhem Land hunting fish, bush animals and seasonal bush foods. Today, Yolngu retain their cultural and spiritual links to the area.
East Arnhem Land is one of the last wilderness areas on Earth, yet all services can be found in the town of Nhulunbuy, located on the Gove Peninsula, approximately 750 kilometers by road from Katherine and home to about 4000 people. Alcan Gove built the town on a special purpose lease in 1971 to service its bauxite mine, despite concern from the Yolngu. However, the town is now an intricate part of the region, making it an ideal base from which to explore. Nhulunbuy has a lodge and a motel in town. The Gove Airport is about 15 kilometers from town.
There is no campground or caravan park available, although camping is possible at the recreation areas. Please note that a permit must be obtained through the Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation.
The Gove Peninsula is scenic with long white sandy beaches, azure waters and green vegetation. This is where the Gulf of Carpentaria meets the Arafura Sea and the temperature ranges between 28° and 30° with plenty of cool breezes.
Fishing is a major draw card for the region and Gove offers some of the best sports fishing in the world. Fish are abundant – catches include red emperor, Spanish mackerel and coral trout. A range of fishing charters are available from half day to extended island safaris – or boat hire can be arranged for a self-guided 4WD trip.
The fishing in the region is all about options and something can be arranged to suit individual needs – talk to one of the licensed tour operators. Crystal clear waters are also perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Aboriginal Arts and Culture
The strong Yolngu culture in the region is evident in the range of arts and crafts. Contemporary Yolngu art is available in the form of milk wood carvings (unique to this region), bark paintings, screen prints, woven baskets and mats. Traditional art can be found at one of Australia’s most renowned community based traditional Aboriginal art museums at Yirrkala.
Baringura – Little Bondi
Visitors to the Gove Peninsula will be amazed by the quality of the beaches, ideal for picnics, snorkeling and day trips. Daliwuy (Daliwoi Bay) is a popular fishing spot with the locals. Ngumuy (Turtle Beach) is a beautiful, sheltered sandy cove and Garanhan (Macassan Beach) has an historical link with the Macassan sea traders. Please note a visitor’s permit is required.
Nanydjaka – Cape Arnhem
Nanydjaka (Cape Arnhem), just a few hours’ drive from Nhulunbuy, has long white sandy beaches, with sand dunes as far as the eye can see. The snorkeling is fantastic and you can fish straight off the beach. This is the perfect destination for absolute peace, solitude and relaxation. Note: A visitor’s permit is required.
Gayngaru is an area of lagoon wetlands extending some seven kilometers parallel to the beachfront. The lagoon, home to around 200 species of birds, has an over-water observation platform providing an ideal hideaway for keen bird watchers. A marked walking trail offers easy access for those on foot. Guided interpretive tours are available. Permits are not required here.
Rotary Marika Lookout
The Marika Lookout offers visitors the opportunity to take in the extensive panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. Take time to look over the lagoon wetlands with their abundance of birdlife, the activity on Gove Harbor, the coastline, the town center and the Gove bauxite mining operation.
Wessel Islands, Bromby Islets, English Company Islands, Elizabeth Bay
Accessible by boat from Gove Harbor, these island groups and coastline offer unbeatable fishing opportunities. Here you will find outstanding blue water and reef fishing, sports fishing, estuary fishing and excellent opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving in crystal-clear waters. Day and overnight camping trips can be organized by local charter operators.
Qantas has daily jet services to Gove Airport from Cairns and Darwin with connections to anywhere in the world. The Cairns-Gove flight is one hour and 40 minutes and the Darwin-Gove flight is one hour and 10 minutes.
Aircraft are jets seating 73-80 passengers. There is also a turbo-propeller service from Darwin-Gove offered by Air North, seating 30 passengers. An airport shuttle bus meets every flight for transfers to accommodation houses in Nhulunbuy for a nominal fee.
To travel the Central Arnhem Road (4WD only) requires crossing many Yolngu clan lands and a permit from the Northern Land Council (NLC) is required. There is no cost for this permit but it is necessary to monitor the numbers of people on the road to maintain this region
Contact the Northern Land Council in Nhulunbuy. Tel: (08) 8987 2602
Visitors to the recreation beach and river areas require a visitor’s permit and should contact Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation. Penalties apply for travelling throughout the region without a permit and visitors are requested to respect the wishes of the Traditional Land Owners. Arnhem Land is scenic and enjoyable. If you’re seeking adventure or simply a relaxing time, this is the place to visit.
Touring the Region
The pristine environment can be enjoyed overland with eco-tours encompassing Yolngu culture and art, birds, flora and fauna. A guided tour of the town lagoon wetlands includes bird watching, wildlife and bush tucker. Other activities include a free bauxite mine tour every Friday morning, scenic flights over spectacular landscape, bushwalking, beachcombing, 4×4 driving, surfing and sailing.
Accommodation is available for visitors in Nhulunbuy and includes motel, hotel/lodge and budget accommodation. Currently there is an accommodation shortage in the region so ensure you make your bookings before you depart. Contact Walkabout Lodge Motel.
Camping or Caravanning
The town has no established caravan park or camping facilities, however bush camping without facilities are available in the recreation areas managed by Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation and a permit must be obtained.
Please note that the Central Arnhem Road is not recommended for caravans. The Northern Land Council will not approve a permit to tow a van into East Arnhem Land and Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation will not issue a Visitor Recreation Permit to anyone with a caravan.
This is to minimize the environmental impact of long term camping at recreational camping areas. Penalties apply for moving throughout the region without a permit and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of the Traditional Owners in this regard.
Alcohol in Arnhem Land
We’d like you to enjoy your stay whilst travelling through Arnhem Land. Find out more information regarding the alcohol restrictions within this area.
Arnhem Land 4WD Hire
provides fully equipped 4WD’s for Self Drive Touring and allows you to move at your own pace. Head out from Darwin and experience the wonders of the Arnhem Land. While traveling through the Top End include in your 4WD Adventure picturesque Litchfield National Park and go on to the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and scenic Nitmiluk National Park. It’s a drive through the Territory’s stunning and lush northern tropics, steeped in nature, aboriginal culture and outback pioneering history. Take a dip in waterfalls and rock pools at Litchfield, canoe down the Katherine River, and discover the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal rock art at Kakadu. Draw up your own timetable, but 7 to 14 days is best to see everything on this incredible journey.
The Epic Savannah Way stretches from coast to coast from Broome in the North West of Western Australia to Cairns in North Eastern Queensland through the heart of the outback. The Savannah Way is a 3700 kilometre trek across the Top End of Australia and is an excellent length for a 14 day or 90 day adventure across Northern Australia. The route is designed to also accommodate shorter trips with linkages to many other themed routes like Matilda, Overlander’s and Explorer’s Highways and has the potential for fly and drive options. The 3700 kilometre route links 15 National Parks and 5 World Heritage areas. You can explore just a section or cross the continent enjoying its wide horizons, ancient gorges and abundant wildlife, connecting with Aboriginal and pioneer heritage in today’s friendly outback.
Arnhem Land 4WD Hire offers “last frontier” style of tourism with the main attractions and characteristics like;
- Outback Experiences, dirt and bitumen roads, small towns, camping and caravan accommodation, open spaces
- Natural Attractions, gorges, waterholes, lakes, rugged landscape, birds, native animals, star gazing
- Heritage and Culture, Indigenous & European, mining, agriculture, exploration, tourism
- Adventure, Ultimate camping, outdoors, fishing, hunting, and 4WD fun
4WD Travel, Adventure and Camping
The wide open wilderness areas and warm climate of the Top End regions make them ideal destinations for caravan and 4WD Camping Holidays. The main season is between May and September, so you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Start planning your holiday with Arnhem Land 4WD Hire from Darwin, cut a straight line across Australia to Alice Springs and Adelaide. Or arc through Australia’s north-west corner driving the Savannah Way to Broome. Canoe down Katherine Gorge and fly over the beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles in Western Australia’s wild Kimberley Region along the way. From Darwin, drive the Nature’s Way to Kakadu National Park, World Heritage-listed for both its cultural and natural significance. See Uluru, Kings Canyon and other Red Centre attractions from the outback hub of Alice Springs. Elegant Adelaide is your base for exploring the Barossa Valley, Flinders Ranges, the Fleurieu Peninsula and the wildlife wonderland of Kangaroo Island.
National Park and Camping Sites
National Parks have serviced camp areas, many with onsite rangers, designated generator and non-generator sites, fresh water, toilets and shower facilities. These areas may have restrictions on length of stay and park fees may apply. See the Parks and Wildlife Commission NT website for more information about national park camping sites and fees. There can be huge distances between townships so you may have to camp on private properties or Aboriginal lands, make sure you obtain permission and permits before entering the area. Some roads are not suitable for towing a caravan and there are camping restrictions in certain areas. Please check road conditions and permit requirements with the local Park Management before you set off on your journey.
Arnhem Land 4WD Hire
welcomes you to explore one of the most pristine places on the planet.
http:// www.tourismtopend.com.au/ regions/ arnhem-land-a-gove-peninsula
http:// www.australia.com/ explore/ states/ nt/ arnhem-land.aspx
http:// www.venturenorth.com.au/ arnhem-land-tours.html
http:// www.travelnt.com / kakadu-and-arnhem-land/ places-to-go/ arnhem-land.aspx?gclid = COn_nKTclrsCFckepAodAxYAxA
http:/ /www.territorydiscoveries.com/ destinations/ arnhem-land
http:// www.darwin.nt.gov.au/ live/ about-darwin
http:// www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/ parks
Australian 4WD Hire
has a national wide network of agencies which are strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous tourism destination and hot spots, as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia so you are never far from a pick up point or friendly service to make your trip to Arnhem Land a memorable one.
Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for meticulously maintained vehicles and quality service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy the best in comfort and safety making it the ideal choice for your next self-drive adventure. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the sights of Australia and it offers you the freedom & flexibility to discover the outdoors at your own pace.
For your Arnhem Land 4WD Hire adventure please contact us on 1300 360 339 or + 617 5527 6191 or drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.australian4wdhire.com.au.
Some sections of roads are suitable for 4WD vehicles only. Take plenty of water on all Outback Trips. Check distances and driving conditions and ensure you have adequate fuel at all times. Remember Outback Rule “Number 1” – if your Vehicle breaks down you MUST stay with your Vehicle for safety reasons. Required driving times for 4WD on unsealed roads are longer, ensure you allow adequate time. During the ‘wet season’ from October to April, vehicles cannot access the 4WD only / unsealed roads. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid disappointment.