Top End permits are issued through the Northern Land Council
in Darwin and Katherine, or through relevant community councils
for specific locations.
Top End communities have been gearing up in response to a growing
world interest in Aboriginal culture. Excellent museums and art
and craft galleries have opened to display fascinating local histories
and superb traditional art works created through unique skills
passed down through hundreds of generations.
Several memorable Top End cultural experiences, including those
offered through the world-acclaimed galleries of Yirrkala and
Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula, the Mt Borradaile and Umorrduk
safaris, and the charming Tiwi Island guides, have been luring
international travellers for years. But other less widely visited
Top End destinations have also been quietly etching a place for
themselves in Outback tourism.
A prime example is the Territory's largest Aboriginal community,
Maningrida near the mouth of the Liverpool River, a friendly regional
service hub of around 2000 people and housing one of Arnhem Land's
most renowned art and craft galleries, Maningrida Arts and Culture.
The facility's spacious ground and mezzanine floors are crammed
with exquisite woven natural fibre mats and baskets, wooden totem
carvings and paintings in the traditional methods practiced in
the region over thousands of years.
The adjacent air-conditioned Djomi Museum and Cultural Keeping
Place protects valuable artworks, artefacts, traditional fishing
and hunting implements and an excellent photographic display depicting
the region's history.
Maningrida has its own modest five-room motel, well-stocked general
store and an all-weather airstrip to cater for regular light aircraft
Across the water on Elcho Island, the Marthakal Homelands venture
offers fly-in visitors the chance to witness Aboriginal culture,
fish and the hunt with locals, see arts and crafts being created
and share times with a traditional Aboriginal family.
An equally memorable offshore experience awaits day-trippers
at the friendly Melville Island community of Milikapiti with its
excellent art and craft gallery and air-conditioned museum depicting
the island's fascinating cultural beginnings and European history.
Intriguing local features within a short drive of the community
include traditional Tiwi Pukumani burial poles, the historic Fort
Dundas ruins and secluded waterfalls and swimming holes.
Naturalists and history buffs will revel in the chance to explore
northwest Arnhem Land's remote Cobourg Peninsula where valuable
historical, cultural and wilderness features are dotted along
coastal stretches including peaceful Port Essington.
Accommodation is available here to suit all budgets and includes
the upmarket Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness and Cape Don Lodges that
cater for fly-in guests, the Cobourg Beach huts and the shady
Smith Point campground.
This tranquil area within the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park
abounds with native and introduced wildlife including astounding
sea creatures, relics of 17th Century Macassan trepang gatherers
and one of Australia's most valuable heritage sites, the ruins
of the British-built Victoria Settlement. Self-drive visitors
must book ahead.
Several Darwin, Nhulunbuy and Jabiru-based tour operators offer
a range of air, sea and land packages incorporating the above
mentioned and other unique travel experiences across Arnhem Land
and selected offshore islands. With 2002 the Year of the Outback
there's no better time to Explore the Territory.
Talk to a Territorian about the great travel options available
for your family holiday to the Outback Northern Territory - Call
13 30 68
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