Visiting the Tiwi Islands
‘We are pleased to show our islands to visitors, happy to show people our culture and how we live. We are pleased to talk to people about our future.’
Gibson Farmer Illortaminni
The Tiwi Islands are privately owned, they are not Crown land, nor public land. The Tiwi Land Council permit system allows regulated access to the Tiwi Islands in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. For media visits, visiting outside community boundaries, residing on the Tiwi Islands, working, research, fishing, camping, and hunting please Apply for a Permit. Tiwi Land Council Permit Protocols provide guidance for visitors, ensuring their activities respect Tiwi property, privacy, cultural beliefs and practices.
Visiting Bathurst Island
Wurrumiyanga, located on the south-east coast of Bathurst Island, is the largest community on the Tiwi Islands and is accessible by a SeaLink passenger ferry. No permit is required to visit Wurrumiyanga, however any trips beyond the community boundary onto private land will require a permit from the Tiwi Land Council. Please respect privacy and avoid offending people or intruding into people's lives uninvited.
The SeaLink ferry operates between Darwin and Wurrumiyanga on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and takes approximately 2.5 hours each way. Major attractions at Wurrumiyanga include Tiwi Designs, Bima Wear, Ngaruwanajirri, the Patakijiyali Museum, the old Church precinct. The Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final and Art Sale, held each March, is a highlight. For further information download the Wurrumiyanga Day Visitor Guide, and visit Tourism and Transport and Accommodation.
Visiting Melville Island
Permits are not required for visitors to spend time within community boundaries at Milikapiti and Pirlangimpi. Melville Island art centres include Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association at Milikapiti and Munupi Arts and Craft Association at Pirlangimpi. Please note that any trips outside of community boundaries onto private land will require a permit from the Tiwi Land Council. For further information visit Tourism and Transport and Accommodation.
Photography and Filming
It is permitted to take photographs for personal use, as a memento of your visit, but you must always seek written permission from individuals before taking their photograph or filming them. Please be open, honest and respectful in your dealings with Tiwi people and use the Tiwi Media Consent Form. A signed Consent Form provides a record of your interaction, respects Tiwi interests, and will help avoid potential misunderstandings.
PLEASE NOTE: You will need to apply for a Media Permit to film or take photographs of the Tiwi Islands for publication or for commercial purposes.
Social media posts have the potential to cause offence to Tiwi people. Do not upload audio, video or images of people to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or blogs without written consent from the individuals involved.
Before visiting the Tiwi Islands please carefully check your clothing and footwear for weed seeds, ants, soil and fungus. The natural resources of the Tiwi Islands form the basis of traditional activities and underpin economic aspirations. The introduction of weeds and other pests and diseases would place the biodiversity at great risk, compromise fledging enterprises and destroy hopes for an independent Tiwi economy. Please visit Quarantine for more information.