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East Arnhem Land

Arnhem Land in its entirety is made up of 91,000 square kilometres of unspoilt wilderness in the middle of Australia’s northern coast.

East Arnhem Land is culturally strong, remote, pristine, easy to get to and has some of the best adventure fishing in the world. 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˚ Celsius and 30˚ Celcius with plenty of cool breezes.

Explore a spectacular landscape with unspoilt shores and timeless culture, a truly magical location. The scenery is beautiful and diverse, it includes rugged coastlines, remote islands, rivers teeming with fish, lush rainforest, towering escarpments and savannah woodland.


Gove Peninsula

Connection to country
Yolngu have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years with recognised land and marine estates. Yonglu practice the longest continuous traditional culture in Australia, maintaining strong ties to their land, language and culture.

Access and permits
East Arnhem Land the last wilderness areas on earth, yet all services can be found in the town of Nhulunbuy, located on the Gove Peninsula approximately 750 kilometres by road from Katherine. The town is now an intricate part of the region, making it an ideal base from which to explore. Nhulunbuy has a lodge, motels and camping is possible in spectacular recreation areas just a short drive from town. Flights service Gove airport from Cairns and Darwin daily. The CairnsGove flight is one hour and forty minutes and the Darwin-Gove flight is one hour and ten minutes. Gove Airport is about 15 kilometres from town, taxis and hire cars are available.

To travel the Central Arnhem Road (four-wheel drive only) a permit is required from the Northern Land Council (NLC). There is no cost for this permit obtainable from the Northern Land Council A fishing permit may also be required, information on Blue Mud Bay registration can be obtained from the same site. 

Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation maintains a range of fantastic day access and overnight camp recreation areas across the Gove Peninsula. You can experience fresh and saltwater locations and learn about Yolngu and Macassar history. Before travelling please check for permits needed to visit recreational areas by contacting Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation Nhulunbuy  

See permit details for Groote Eylandt under that section.

Fishing is  a major drawcard for the region and Gove Peninsula. Fish are abundant – catches include red emperor, Spanish mackerel and coral trout. A range of charters are available from half day to extended island safaris – or boat hire can be arranged for a self-guided trip.

Wessel Islands, Bromby Islets, English Company Islands, Elizabeth Bay and Bremer Island are accessible by boat from Gove Harbour. These island groups offer unbeatable fishing opportunities.

The pristine environment can be enjoyed overland with eco-tours encompassing Yolngu culture and art, birds, flora and fauna. Other activities include scenic flights over spectacular landscapes, bushwalking, beachcombing, four-wheel driving, surfing and fishing.

There are a number of Aboriginal owned and accredited tourism businesses in North East Arnhem Land. They operate Aboriginal cultural day tours, and multi day tours departing from Gove.

Baringura – Little Bondi
Barinura (Little Bondi) is a 41 kilometre drive from Nhulunbuy and lies at the northern end of the coastal walking trail that includes the beaches of Numuy, Garanhan and Binydjarrna. The track into Bariŋura is mostly dirt with some sandy patches at the end so make sure you are in a four-wheel drive vehicle and prepared for some sand driving. Visitors to the Gove Peninsula will be amazed by the quality of the beaches, ideal for picnics, 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 a historical link with the Macassan sea traders.

Gayngaru Wetlands
Gayngaru is an area of lagoon wetlands extending some seven kilometres 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 over the dry season.

Roy Marika Lookout
The Roy Marika Lookout located at Mt Nhulun in Nhulunbuy 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 Harbour, the coastline and the town centre.

Nanydjaka – Cape Arnhem
Nanydjaka (Cape Arnhem), just two hours’ drive from Nhulunbuy, has long white sandy beaches with sand dunes as far as the eye can see. This is the perfect destination for absolute peace, solitude and relaxation.

Groote Archipelago
Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria in remote Arnhem Land, 650 kilometres east of Darwin, is one of Australia’s last untouched wilderness areas. The third-largest island in Australia, Groote Eylandt is known for its pristine natural and marine environment, spectacular scenery, Aboriginal art and culture, and some of the best fishing in the world. There are daily direct flight services from Darwin to Groote Eylandt, the flight time is one hour and thirty minutes.

On the island of Groote Eylandt the main town Alyangula is surrounded by waters that are a fishing mecca and home to some of Australia’s most prolific Aboriginal rock art. When visiting Groote Eylandt, a permit is required from


Connection to country
Spend some time at the Aboriginal cultural centre. The local Aboriginal people (Anindilyakwa people) communicate their traditions and stories through art, and Anindilyakwa Arts and Crafts showcases these stories through art styles that are unique to the Groote Eylandt archipelago.

Nature as it should be
Pristine beaches, rugged sandstone plateaus, open woodland, monsoon vine forests, riparian woodlands, paperbark swamps and red sand hills. Surrounding the island in the aqua waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria is an equally special marine environment with complex reef systems that support a wealth of fish and other marine species.

The Gulf of Carpentaria off the coast of Groote Eylandt offers some of the best sportfishing in the world. Ideal breeding habitats—the archipelago’s fringing coral reefs, rocky headlands and sand islands create plenty of sheltered breeding areas for bait fish. This abundance of bait is what brings in the big sportfish, anglers love to catch.

West Arnhem Land

West Arnhem Land is a habitat for abundant wildlife including saltwater crocodiles, buffalo, 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 travellers wanting authentic traditional cultural experiences.

Connection to Country
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. The town of Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land, is famous for its indigenous art. Join a safari tour to Mount Borradaile and Injalak Hill and be guided to 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. Permits are required to visit Aboriginal communities and to fish in certain areas (Blue Mud Bay Registration). For information and applications visit

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. Take time to visit Kennedy Bay and Port Essington where, over 190 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 the early settlers.

Considered to be one of the finest fishing spots in the country, the waters around the Cobourg Peninsula abound with Spanish mackerel, giant trevally, queenfish and coral trout, whilst in the tidal creeks and estuaries barramundi, mangrove jack and threadfin salmon lie in wait to tempt the serious angler. The Cobourg Peninsula, remote and rugged, is fringed with magnificent white sandy beaches and is accessible only by four-wheel drive from Oenpelli via Jabiru or a 30-minute charter flight from Darwin. Note, permit is required and it’s essential that you report to the Ranger Station on arrival). 

Adventure the way you want it

Wildlife Photography
For the keen photographer, the Cobourg Peninsula offers excellent opportunities to capture the true nature of this remote region. With an abundance of wildlife including buffalo, Timor ponies, wild boar, crocodiles and wallabies, and with an array of colourful birdlife, there is no better location in the Top End to capture that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ shot.

Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, The Cobourg Peninsula
Pronounced Gah-rig Goon-uk Bar-loo, is Northern Australia’s first flora and fauna protected reserve, and the surrounding Cobourg Marine Park, provide an ideal habitat for many thousands of waterfowl and other bird species.

Access and permits
A permit is required by visitors s to stay overnight in the Park, whether you arrive by road, air or sea. To apply please visit:

Access by road to the Cobourg Peninsula is not possible during the Top End Summer. The area can be accessed by private air charter or boat. Charter flights are available to Arnhem Land.

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