A part of the Northern Territory, just 80 kilometres north off the coast of Darwin, are the wonderful Tiwi Islands. Voted as one of the top 100 things to do before you die by Australian Traveller in 2011, a short scenic flight from Darwin will allow you to experience life in a modern day Aboriginal community. This is an absolute must-do on any Top End adventure.
The Tiwi Islands comprise of Melville Island, Bathurst Island and nine smaller uninhabited islands, with a combined population of less than 3000. The Tiwi people, translated in the local Aboriginal language as ‘we’ people, are culturally and linguistically unique from those just across the water in Arnhem Land.
These islands have been isolated from Australia’s mainland since the ice age and today are mainly in eucalypt forest and home to a range of plants and invertebrates found nowhere else in the world. Visit the Tiwi Islands and have the locals welcome you with a permanent smile whilst taking you on an unforgettable journey through their rich history and culture from showcasing traditional bush tucker, bush medicine, local history and world class Aboriginal art. Join a scenic drive through the wilderness of Bathurst Island or relax by a local waterhole with a packed lunch and refreshments – the Tiwi Islands is a place like no other.
There’s plenty to experience on this fascinating island. Take in the stunning rainforest scenery, secluded waterfalls and beautiful arts and crafts. Visit the museum with its interesting displays of traditional art and depictions of the Tiwi ‘Dreamtime’ stories and the Early Mission Precinct. Hear about the early mission days and learn how the Tiwi people have blended their culture with Christianity.
As specialists in wood carvings, here you can see carvings representing various birds from Tiwi mythology holding meanings significant to their culture. Indigenous Australian art is an important part of the Tiwi island culture and economy, with part of their artistic talent vividly demonstrated through their distinct batik, carvings and the unique Pukumani burial poles.
Get ready to be captivated by Tiwi Islands and its people.