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Visitor information

A group of travellers enjoying, a white and blue ferry in the background

Tiwi Islands are a must-visit destination for travellers coming to Northern Territory. Known as the 'islands of smiles', the Tiwi Islands' locals are welcoming and showcase their culture wholeheartedly. The Tiwi Islands comprise two main islands – Bathurst and Melville.

Information about Tiwi Islands

  • The Tiwi Islands are located about 80 km north of Darwin and are accessible via SeaLink ferry service. The SeaLink ferry is the best and reliable way to travel to the island.

    The SeaLink ferry service operates to Wurrumiyanga (formerly known as Nguiu) on Bathurst Island. No permit is required to visit Wurrumiyanga if you are booked on a tour, however if you venture further afield, please contact the Tiwi Land Council for your permit as the Tiwi Islands are private land.

    If you are visiting Melville Island, take the ferry from Darwin to Wurrumiyanga, then take the council barge for the 5-minute crossing across the Apsley Strait to Paru on Melville Island. Bus connections operate from Paru to Pirlangimpi (Garden Point) and Milikapiti (Snake Bay) on Melville Island, subject to road conditions. Book for the Tuparipiya Bus Service on 0428 201 126.

  • The natural resources of the Tiwi Islands are its most valuable assets. The introduction of feral animals, weeds, pests, and diseases places the islands' biodiversity at great risk.

    Things to remember before coming over to Tiwi Islands:

    • Please do not take plants and animals to the Tiwi Islands unless authorised by the Tiwi Land Council.
    • Residents' dogs are permitted to travel on the ferry. Please do not bring dogs to the Tiwi Islands if you are not a resident.
    • Before you travel: check your clothes, and shoes for seeds and soil, especially if you have travelled to an area where weeds occur.
    • Feral cats are believed to be a key factor in the rapid decline of the native small mammal population across Australia. Tiwi people want the islands to be free of feral cats.

    For more information, visit Tiwi Land Council's advice on quarantine procedures of Tiwi Islands.

  • If you are booked on a cultural tour with SeaLink, your permit will be covered.

    The Tiwi Islands are privately owned and are not Crown land or public land, thus visitors who want to venture beyond their booked tours need special permits to do so. You can apply for a permit here.

  • For any questions, please visit our frequently asked questions page or call our friendly team on 1300 130 679.