Nestled in the heart of the Australian Wilderness lies Arnhem Land, a place where ancient Aboriginal culture meets breathtaking landscapes full of native magic.  

Wild, spiritual, and remote are words that can be used to describe the dramatic and rugged landscapes of one of Australia’s best-kept secrets, the beautiful Arnhem Land. From shallow billabongs to monsoonal wetlands, and from the Gulf of Carpentaria to tropical rainforests full of fascinating animals, this otherworldly place is just waiting to be explored on our tours and holidays in Arnhem Land. Follow your guide as you connect with the traditional owners of this land, the Yolgnu Peoples, and learn how to craft, paint, hunt, and weave just like they do. Share in their stories of this culturally significant country and enjoy the peacefulness that comes from being in the vast but awe-inspiring Aussie wilderness. 

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Things to do in Arnhem Land

The Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre in Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, NT

Visit the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre in Yirrkala

If you loved watching and learning how the Yolgnu Peoples craft their art, then you’re going to love walking among more of their work at the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre. Completely controlled by the Indigenous community in Yirrkala, this cultural hub showcases and sells contemporary art by Yolgnu artists with pieces like larrakitj (memorial poles), nuwayak (bark painting), and yidaki (didgeridoo) on display. 

Traveller watches on as a Yolgnu leader teaches how to weave in Arnhem Land

Participate in cultural activities with Yolngu Peoples

Interacting with and learning from the Yolngu Peoples is, hands down, one of the best experiences on our Arnhem Land tours and holidays. Not only will participating in activities such as painting, weaving, and hunting give you a glimpse into what life is like for the traditional owners of this land, but it will also allow you a deeper understanding of how these communities connect to country and why it’s so important. 

A group of travellers sitting down by the coast of Arnhem Land, NT.

Trek through the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park

Arnhem Land is full of beautiful and breathtaking landscapes and the rugged and remote Garig Gunak Barlu National Park is no exception. Whether you want to trek your way through the bush and stop to admire native scrubland at every turn, listen out for the calls of birds as they flit between the trees, admire the peaceful coastline, or visit the ruins of a failed Victorian settlement, it’s easy to get lost in the magic and history of this fascinating National Park. 

A group of travellers sitting around a campfire in Arnhem Land, NT

Listen to the traditional owners of Arnhem Land

The traditional owners have lived on this remote and magical country for millennia, continuing to work and live as their ancestors did, and as soon as you step foot onto Arnhem Land, it’s easy to see why this spiritual place holds so much meaning and cultural connection for the Yolgnu Peoples. With your group, take the opportunity to learn about the history and stories of this country firsthand from the people who know it best. 

A group of travellers on Bremer Island in Arnhem Land, NT

Explore Bremer Island (Dhambaliya)

We might forgive you for not automatically thinking of Bremer Island’s magnificent coastline when asked about Australia’s best beaches, but one trip here is enough to ensure you’ll never forget its pristine waters and golden, sandy shores. While this largely untouched island might be lacking in size, it has an abundance of beauty with several walking trails waiting to lead you through towering sand dunes and pristine beaches no camera will ever do justice. This magical island is also home to four of the world’s seven sea turtle species so keep your eyes peeled for flippers and multicoloured shells as you’re admiring some of Mother Nature’s best work. 

Saltwater crocodile in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

Discover interesting native wildlife

Sea turtles aren’t the only creatures that roam the waters of Arnhem Land though with fresh and saltwater crocodiles, water pythons, dugongs, and snubfin dolphins also cruising beneath the waves of billabongs, creeks, and oceans throughout the region. You’re also likely to spot various other mammals such as bilbies, wallabies, and bandicoots on your adventure, as well as snakes, frogs, lizards, and many different shorebirds. Be mindful that there are several endangered species that call Arnhem land home and move carefully through dense rainforests and covered wetlands as some animals can be dangerous when feeling threatened or disturbed. 

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Arnhem Land FAQs

Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travellers are required to produce:  

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination

  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

The best way to travel to Arnhem Land is by flying from either Cairns (CNS) or Darwin Airport (DRW) to Gove Airport (GOV). Each airport has daily flights into Arnhem Land with the flight time around 1 hour and 40 minutes and 1 hour and 10 minutes respectively. If you're travelling from a different part of Australia like Melbourne, Sydney, or Adelaide, you can connect in either Cairns or Darwin and then fly onto Gove Airport. 

Read more about how to get to Arnhem Land

While the rest of Australia recognises 4 different seasons throughout the year, the Yolngu Peoples (the traditional owners of Arnhem Land) actually recognise 6 different seasons categorised by the weather, when flowers and other plants bloom, and when foods foraged from the land are most abundant. These seasons are from January to early March, March to April, May to August, September to early October, October to December, and then from late December to January. Each season experiences slightly different weather patterns but you can expect the months of December - February to be wet and full of thunderstorms and the months of June - August to be very warm with little to no rain. 

The temperatures in Arnhem Land are always warm, even during the wet season, so packing a reusable water bottle and having it with you at all times is a good idea. You should also pack some comfortable and sturdy hiking/walking boots as there are several different landscapes throughout Arnhem Land including thick bushland, rainforests, coastlines, and wetlands. You should also pack sunscreen to protect you from the sun's UV rays, a first-aid kit, a few snacks to recharge on your adventures during the day, and plenty of weather-appropriate clothes.

There isn't one 'best time' to visit Arnhem Land with each month or season of the year providing something different to do and explore. If you're travelling during the wet season (December to February), expect the rivers, billabongs, creeks, and lakes to be flowing with water and various animals to be out and about but it will also be extremely humid and the chance of rainfall is high. If you're travelling during the dry season (June to August), you can expect high but temperate temperatures without humidity and little to no rainfall. 

Travellers who come to Arnhem Land in search of fascinating and interesting animals to admire are in luck. Arnhem Land is home to a variety of animals from reptiles to mammals, and from marine life to birds, making it one of the best places in Australia to marvel at different species in their natural habitat. Below is a list of animals you can expect in Arnhem Land: 

  • Salt and freshwater crocodiles 
  • Hawksbill turtles 
  • Black wallaroos
  • Dugongs
  • Brown falcons
  • Dolphins

The Yolngu Peoples, who have been living and working on this land for more than 60,000 years (and still do to this day), are the traditional owners of Arnhem Land. Several famous Indigenous artists have come from Arnhem land such as Glen Namundja who is famous for his bark paintings and for creating Australia's first yidaki (didgeridoo). In fact, the majority of people who live in Arnhem Land today are Indigenous Australians who still paint, carve, weave, and hunt in the same way their ancestors did before them. 

Read more about the traditional owners of Arnhem Land

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

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