Arnhem Land

Arnhem land is Aboriginal land covering the eastern section of the Top End of Northern Territory. As Arnhem land is Aboriginal land most of it is blocked off from independent travellers, however you can visit the north western and north eastern corners of Cobourg Peninsula and Gove, and Oenpelli near Kakadu's East Alligator River. The area also has some magnificent rock art, which is a big attraction, along with its natural beauty. The drive along the dust road from Kakadu to Oenpelli is spectacular, as you travel along the East Alligator flood plain. You will also come across the Injalaj Arts and Crafts Association, which sells various traditional Aboriginal souvenirs.

You will need a permit to visit although you can get one at the Northern Land Council office in the shopping centre in Jabiru. You also need a permit to visit Cobourg Peninsula, as the 4WD track from Oenpelli crosses the Aboriginal land. It is best to book extremely early as only 15 vehicles are allowed to cross per week Ph: (08) 8999 4555 for the administration office or Ph: (08) 8979 0244 for the Rangers Station. The drive is definitely worth it, as the landscape in the Cobourg Marine Park and the Gurig National Park is unbelievable. However, you should do the 6 hour drive in one day and be aware of the tides, as after the wet season you can only get across Cahills Crossing about an hour either side of low tide. You can also fly to Smith Point from Darwin, which is near Black Point the home to the local store. Another place to visit whilst staying in Cobourg is Port Esslington, an early British settlement built along a natural 30km harbour.

You can travel to Nhulunbuy from Katherine, which again needs a permit as you will be travelling through Arnhem Land Ph: (08) 8987 2255. Alternatively you can fly from Darwin or Cairns, and then hire a car to explore the region, where you can get a permit from the local Land Council. Mining is a large part of the Eastern Arnhem Land. You can visit the bauxite mine at Nhulunbuy, with a free tour on Friday. There is also mining on nearby Groote Eylandt. The scenery in this region is fabulous, although be careful as there are lots of crocodiles.

There are various trips to the Arnhem Land although it is worth paying a bit more to visit both the Eastern and Western Arnhem Lands. Most tours leave from Darwin, although several also leave from Jabiru in Kakadu.

Arnhem Land Gallery (Visitor Photographs)

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