4 Incredible Things To Explore On The Tiwi Islands
The Tiwi Islands are a truly unique part of Australia. Found just off-the-beaten-track, it’s a perfect destination for intrepid travellers. Melville and Bathurst are the 2 main islands in the region, while there are 9 smaller islands which are still uninhabited.
Image Source: Sunshine Coast Daily
Where there aren’t a ton of tourist facilities amongst the Tiwi Islands, this should not stop you from going there. In fact, the islands are well known and favoured for exceptional fishing and the warm, welcoming locals. Most the people who live on the islands are of Aboriginal descent and you will meet them on your tours.
Once you’ve booked your Tiwi Islands accommodation, it’s time to plan your trip.
The Best Things to Do in the Tiwi Islands
Arts and Crafts
From silk-screened clothing to batik and even painted shells, wood carvings, woven bangles and loads of pottery, there is certainly a thriving arts and crafts scene amongst the Tiwi Islands. One way to really take in the local culture is to join a cultural tour, hosted by a local guide. There’s usually a welcome ceremony, morning tea, lunch, art sessions with a local artist and plenty to learn. You can even take home traditional woodcarvings or painting as a special souvenir.
Fishing is undeniably the island’s biggest draw card. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to fishing or a pro. There are a few all-inclusive fishing trips that run from two days up to six days, complete with accommodation and private charter flights and island transfers. Even visitor and fishing permits are included in the tours. Whether you want to test out your barramundi angling skills or just dabble with a fishing rod, there’s a sport-fishing package for all kinds of visitors. You can also go crabbing, croc watching, and birdwatching and get the opportunity to try their traditional bush food.
Head to a Football Match
The majestic game of football was first introduced to the island during the 1940s. The sport’s popularity continued to soar when 3,000 people turned out to witness the local League’s grand final on Bathurst Island. In fact, the grand final will be the only day throughout the year that you will be able to travel to the Islands without getting a visitor permit. There are also extra ferry services that usually run that day.
Take in the Tiwi Culture
Image Source: ABC
Finally, make sure you enjoy some damper and a cup of billy tea with the local Tiwi women as you witness them weaving and painting on your cultural tour. Typically, the women perform totem dances and also initiate a smoking ceremony. On a day tour, you can expect to visit Tiwi arts and crafts cooperative and even local burial sites. Transfers by ferry usually run between Darwin and Bathurst Island.
Getting to Tiwi Islands
The Tiwi Islands lay about a hundred kilometres north of Darwin, just where the Timor Sea and Arafura Sea meet. You can get to the Tiwi Islands by taking a half-an-hour flight from Darwin, or, if you prefer, there’s a ferry that goes between Darwin and the Bathurst Island several times a week.