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Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land

Arnhem Land

Arnhem Land, at the far north-east of Australia’s Northern Territory, is a huge wilderness area inhabited mostly by Yolngu Aboriginal people. Some of the most ancient rock art sites in the country can be found in Arnhem Land, as well as rainforest, woodlands, gorges, wetlands, escarpments, beaches, and rivers. Outsiders must usually visit on an approved guided tour, and have a permit to enter.

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North-eastern corner of the Northern Territory,Melville Bay Road, Nhulunbuy, Darwin, Northern Territory

The basics

Arnhem Land covers a vast area and includes a variety of landscapes, from coast to bush to gorge. Travelers usually visit western parts of Arnhem Land on a guided tour from Darwin or the Kakadu National Park. Outsider access to Arnhem Land is restricted, and while it’s possible to travel there independently with a free permit, this takes some time to arrange. If starting in Darwin, guided tours normally last two or three days, and include highlights of Kakadu as well. If starting from Jabiru/Kakadu, a single-day trip is more comfortable. Tours generally visit the Injalak Arts Center and ancient rock art galleries in the hills with a local Aboriginal guide.

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Things to know before you go

  • Like most places in the Northern Territory, deadly saltwater crocodiles can be found in the waterways of Arnhem Land. Always follow local crocodile safety tips.
  • Permits to enter Arnhem Land independently are free, but take around 10 days to acquire. If traveling on a tour, these are taken care of.
  • Most of Arnhem Land’s 18,000 Yolngu inhabitants live according to traditional practices, and many don’t speak much English. Be respectful of the fact you’re a guest on their land, and this place is somewhat separate from other parts of Australia.
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How to get there

Arnhem Land borders Kakadu, so is easily reached on a tour from the town of Jabiru. The popular Injalak Arts Centre (Gunbalanya) is about a 60-minute drive from Jabiru. Many travelers also come from Darwin, the main city of the Northern Territory, which is about a 4-hour drive west of Gunbalanya. If coming from Darwin, it makes sense to join an overnight or multi-day trip.

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Trip ideas

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How to Spend 3 Days in Darwin

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When to get there

Tropical northern Australia experiences wet and dry seasons. Avoid travel to Arnhem Land in the wet season (November to April) as it can be uncomfortably hot and humid, and access may actually be blocked by flooding. The dry season (May to October) is preferable.

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Visit the Rock Art Sites of Kakadu

A major reason that many travelers want to visit Arnhem Land is to see the ancient Aboriginal rock art of Injalak Hill. There are also many impressive sites in the Kakadu National Park. Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock are both a short drive from Jabiru, with some paintings over 20,000 years old.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Arnhem Land?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Darwin?
A:
As well as visiting the Arnhem Land, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: