The remote Tiwi Islands (Melville Island, Bathurst Island) off Darwin are worth it for so many reasons: art, culture and fishing to name a few – number 25 on Australian Traveller’s ‘100 amazing places you haven’t been to yet. Nominated by: Matthew Hayden, former cricketer.

A cluster of isles 100 kilometres off the coast of Darwin is a long way from the MCG but that’s precisely what first drew cricket legend and avid fisherman Matthew Hayden here: the Tiwi Islands, he says (comprised of Melville Island, Bathurst Island, and nine uninhabited isles) “are all so remarkably beautiful and pristine.

You feel like, if you were here 30,000 years ago, it would still look exactly as it does today.”

Initially drawn for the incredible fishing, Hayden has since become a regular Tiwi fixture, plunging heart and soul into the Hayden Reynolds Tiwi College Project, which allows Tiwi students to learn about horticulture, construction, catering and hospitality.

“The remoteness has meant that there’s still a preserved indigenous culture here, which I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else in Australia. I want to maintain this history as much as possible while also fostering educational initiatives.”

To get here, you can take a ferry from Darwin (; there are no cars or bikes for hire so it’s best to book a tour (AAT Kings and Sealink offer tours). Make sure you stop off at Jilamara Art Centre, on Melville Island, says Hayden – “it’s a wonderful way to get up to speed on a culture that is thousands of years old.”

Pack your wallet. The art here is globally sought after (priced from $50 into the tens of thousands).

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