About the Tiwi Islands

Tiwi people are opening their community to investors, who they want to fuel economic development by launching new enterprises on their traditional land. After extensive consultation, the Land Development Corporation has finalised an agreement with the Tiwi Land Council and Tiwi Aboriginal Land Trust to attract private investors.

The Tiwi Islands

Wurrumiyanga

Tarntipi – Cultural training for non-Tiwi people to better connect to our culture and to Indigenous culture more broadly. Website www.tarntipi.com 

Tiwi Design – A very popular attraction known for its art, craft, pottery and screen printing, with a great range of art and accessories for sale. tiwiart.com and tiwidesigns.com

Tiwi By Design – One-day Tiwi By Design art and walking tour available through SeaLink NT.
Website: sealinknt.com.au

Bima Wear – Established in 1969 is a Tiwi women’s enterprise specialising in fabric design, printing and sewing. Sells fabrics, homewares and clothing.
Website: bimawear.com

Ngaruwanajirri (Keeping Place) Workshop and Gallery – Traditional art and craft including carving, painting, lino block printing and batik on silk for sale. Contact (08) 8978 3724

Football – Australian Football was introduced in 1941 to the Tiwi Islands and now there are seven local teams with the highest participation rate in Australia at 35% on a per capita basis. The Grand Final is played in March every year.

Pirlangimpi

Munupi Arts and Crafts Association – A highly regarded art centre for its community involvement and art practice. There is a great range of paintings and carvings available for sale.
Website: munupiart.com

Clearwater Island Fishing Lodge – A fishing lodge in an attractive location with stunning views, accommodation and guides to take you fishing.
Website: munupi.com.au

Milikapiti

Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association – The art centre produces fine art and also houses the Mulluwurri Museum, a collection of carvings, Tiwi artefacts, paintings and early photographs.
Website: site.jilamara.com

Melville Island Fishing Lodge – A fishing lodge with a great location and relaxing views. It includes accommodation and guides to take you fishing. Ask about visiting spectacular Goose Creek.
Website: tiwiadventures.com.au

Melville Island

Johnson River Camp – An extremely isolated fishing camp situated in a bush setting in the pristine upper reaches of the Johnson River on the north east coast of Melville Island. tiwiadventures.com.au

Robertson Creek Campsite – A basic camp site for private boats, located on the north east of Cape Gambier. A private boat and visitor permit is required.
Website: nt.gov.au

Camp Point Camp Site – A basic camp site for private boats, located on Cape Keith. A private boat and visitor permit is required.
Website: nt.gov.au

Comprising both Bathurst Island and Melville Island, the Tiwi Islands are renowned for the cultural and environmental character which has been protected and conserved over 11,000 years under Aboriginal stewardship. The Tiwi people have their own unique language and culture, and incorporate both modern practices and ancient traditions into daily life.

The Tiwi Islands have two seasons during the year being the Dry Season from June to September with temperatures ranging from 18 and 33 degrees, and the hot, humid Wet Season from October to May with temperatures ranging from 25 to 38 degrees with the humidity rising up to 95%.

The Islands comprise of an area of around 780,000 hectares, which is 10 times the size of Singapore and is largely undeveloped with a population of around 2,600 people. The coastline is very diverse with sandy beaches, rivers, creeks, mangroves and cliffs. The vegetation on the islands are largely woodland and has areas of swamps, mangroves and small pockets of rain forests.

With a range of tourist attractions, the Tiwi Islands are home to popular fishing lodges, art centres and cultural museums.

Facilities on the islands are typically located in the main centres of Wurrumiyanga, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti and include car hire, fuel stations, inter-island ferry, accommodation, shops, food outlets, health clinics, council offices and police stations.

Please see the directory below for more information.

Access

How do you get to the Tiwi Islands?

Sea

Ferry – Sealink NT operates the passenger ferry from Darwin to Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island. The service operates on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The journey is approximately 2.5 hours each way. Check the website for times.

Website: sealinknt.com.au

Barge – Seaswift run a barge service for freight to Wurrumiyanga and Pirlangimpi twice weekly arriving on Monday and Thursday and to Milikapiti weekly arriving each Friday.

Website seaswift.com.au

Barge – The operators of Port Melville run a barge service for freight under the name of Top End Marine Supply Base. Weekly service to Wurrumiyanga, Paru, Pirlangimpi and Port Melville. Fortnightly to Milikapiti, Ranku and Port Hurd.

Email: cargo@terasustralia.com

Private Boat – A private boat will take approximately two hours from Darwin to reach Wurrumiyanga, approximately three hours to reach Pirlangimpi and approximately four hours to reach Milikapiti.

Air

Fly Tiwi runs a regular service to Wurrumiyanga, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti.

Website: flytiwi.com.au

Charter Flights – There are several organisations that will provide charter flights to various communities on the Tiwi Islands.

Permits

Visitor Permits – Visitors will typically need a permit to visit the Tiwi Islands. It is an easy process that can be organised by tour operators or by contacting the Tiwi Land Council. While some areas on the Tiwi Islands do not require a permit to visit, in the interests of courtesy and visitor safety you are asked to contact the Tiwi Land Council if you are planning to visit the Tiwi Islands.

Website: tiwilandcouncil.com

Transport

How do I get around the Tiwi Islands?

Hire Car

Wurrumiyanga – Tiwi Enterprises has a range of vehicles available for hire from Wurrumiyanga. They can be arranged for pick up at the airstrip.  tiwienterprises.com

Milikapiti – There is car hire available from the Milikapiti Visitor Accommodation Centre
Contact: (08) 8979 0312 and Tiwi Enterprises. tiwienterprises.com

Barge and Boat Ferry Between Islands

Wurrumiyanga and Paru – Tiwi Islands Regional Council Inter Islands Car Ferry runs Monday to Friday approximately 8.00am – 4.00pm, tickets are available at Council Offices or phone (08) 8970 9500.
Website: tiwiislands.org.au

Individual Tour Operators

Various locations – Individual tour operators and fishing lodges are able to organise personalised transport around the islands by car, boat and aircraft.

Tarntipi Bush Camp www.tarntipi.com email: tarntipibushcamp@gmail.com

Attractions

What is there to see and do?

Wurrumiyanga

Tarntipi – Cultural training for non-Tiwi people to better connect to our culture and to Indigenous culture more broadly. Website www.tarntipi.com 

Tiwi Design – A very popular attraction known for its art, craft, pottery and screen printing, with a great range of art and accessories for sale. tiwiart.com and tiwidesigns.com

Tiwi By Design – One-day Tiwi By Design art and walking tour available through SeaLink NT.
Website: sealinknt.com.au

Bima Wear – Established in 1969 is a Tiwi women’s enterprise specialising in fabric design, printing and sewing. Sells fabrics, homewares and clothing.
Website: bimawear.com

Ngaruwanajirri (Keeping Place) Workshop and Gallery – Traditional art and craft including carving, painting, lino block printing and batik on silk for sale. Contact (08) 8978 3724

Football – Australian Football was introduced in 1941 to the Tiwi Islands and now there are seven local teams with the highest participation rate in Australia at 35% on a per capita basis. The Grand Final is played in March every year.

Pirlangimpi

Munupi Arts and Crafts Association – A highly regarded art centre for its community involvement and art practice. There is a great range of paintings and carvings available for sale.
Website: munupiart.com

Clearwater Island Fishing Lodge – A fishing lodge in an attractive location with stunning views, accommodation and guides to take you fishing.
Website: munupi.com.au

Milikapiti

Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association – The art centre produces fine art and also houses the Mulluwurri Museum, a collection of carvings, Tiwi artefacts, paintings and early photographs.
Website: site.jilamara.com

Melville Island Fishing Lodge – A fishing lodge with a great location and relaxing views. It includes accommodation and guides to take you fishing. Ask about visiting spectacular Goose Creek.
Website: tiwiadventures.com.au

Melville Island

Johnson River Camp – An extremely isolated fishing camp situated in a bush setting in the pristine upper reaches of the Johnson River on the north east coast of Melville Island. tiwiadventures.com.au

Robertson Creek Campsite – A basic camp site for private boats, located on the north east of Cape Gambier. A private boat and visitor permit is required.
Website: nt.gov.au

Camp Point Camp Site – A basic camp site for private boats, located on Cape Keith. A private boat and visitor permit is required.
Website: nt.gov.au

Accommodation

Where can I stay on the Tiwi Islands?

Wurrumiyanga

Tiwi Enterprises – Visitors accommodation with ensuite.
Website: tiwienterprises.com

Tiwi Islands Regional Council – A motel for accommodation.
Contact: (08) 8970 9500

Pirlangimpi

Tiwi Islands Regional Council – Contractors quarters. Contact: (08) 8970 9600

Port Melville

Port Melville Accommodation Village – A workers village just outside the community of Pirlangimpi which provides accommodation and meals. Contact: (08) 8930 6500

Milikapiti

Milikapiti Visitor Accommodation Centre – A ten room complex with a common kitchen, lounge and ablutions. Contact: (08) 8979 0312

Tiwi Enterprises – An eighteen room complex with common facilities. Website: tiwienterprises.com

Shops & Food Outlets

Where can I buy food and other items?

Wurrumiyanga

Piliyamanyirra Supermarket 
Opening hours are typically: 
Mon–Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm
Sat 8.30am – 12.00pm
Sun Closed

NUA Supermarket
Opening hours are typically:
Mon-Sun 9.00am – 4.30pm

NUA Take Away 
Opening hours are typically:
Mon-Sun 8.00am – 8.00pm

Tai’s Take Away 
Opening hours are typically:
Mon–Fri 7.00am – 8.45pm
Sat–Sun 7.00am – 6.45pm

Melville Island

Milikapiti Store
Opening hours are typically:
Mon-Sun 9.00am – 4.00pm

Essentials

What essentials should I think about?

Communications

Phones – Mobile phone coverage is limited to Telstra or a Telstra compliant network only in the communities of Wurrumiyanga, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti. Public phones are also located in these three communities. A satellite phone will be required for coverage outside of the communities.