Having visited Kakadu, where roads, boardwalks, visitor centres and lodgings make life easy, contemplate what Kakadu might have been like 30,000 years ago. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be transported back in time, to see the area in the raw? If you have the money it’s possible – and we’re not talking time machines here. Next door to Kakadu is Arnhem Land – an Aboriginal reserve huge in scale and home to 12,000 Indigenous Australians.
Limited tours, including exploration of some of the best rock art in Australia, are now allowed into West Arnhem Land for those who can afford them. Gove (Nhulunbuy) in East Arnhem Land is accessible by air independently, but all further exploration requires a permit from the Northern Land Council, since you’ll be travelling over Aboriginal lands.
Fishing, wilderness safaris and many cultural tours are the key attractions, with Gove itself being a purpose-built mining town. For a view of an ancient wilderness environment untamed by modern Australia, Arnhem Land is a must.
Did you know?
The Gove Peninsula in Arnhem Land is home to the world-renowned rock band Yothu Yindi.
How to get there
Qantas offers daily flights into Gove from Cairns and Darwin.
If you plan to travel to Nhulunbuy and the Gove Peninsula by road please note all Arnhem Land is Aboriginal land and visitors require permits from the Northern Land Council.
Best time to go
The dry season from May-October
Northern Territory official travel site
Northern Land Council website
Official site of the East Arnhem Land Tourist Association
Website of the Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Resort
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.