The Top End embraces Indigenous Australian culture and presents you with a wonderful assortment of experiences and stories to take home with you, despite its remoteness from the rest of the world. Meet the friendly Tiwi Islanders and tell them a story. You'll learn about Australia's oldest living culture's ancient traditions. You'll also have the chance to see some of the world's oldest artworks.
Your cultural tour of the Top End
The Top End of Australia is unlike any other area in the world, with incredible stories to tell. We've created an excellent four-day trip of the Top End that examines the different forms of art that have stood the test of time to enliven your senses and link you with the history of this ancient region. All you have to do now is reserve a spot on one of the suggested tours. Then you'll be in the hands of some really knowledgeable local guides who will graciously share their people's history while also assisting you in creating your own.
Explore the galleries in town
The art galleries in Darwin are ideal for learning about Aboriginal art and artists from all over the region. Mbantua Fine Art Gallery and Mason Gallery, for example, are well-known galleries in Darwin's CBD. For a more comprehensive glimpse of the Territory's art scene, see the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art in Parap.
Mason Gallery, Cavenagh Street, Darwin City N...
Time your run to MAGNT
Allow plenty of time to visit the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, which provides a fascinating and comprehensive overview of the region's Aboriginal art and history. The museum and gallery, which overlooks the Arafura Sea, houses a collection of over 1.2 million natural history specimens as well as over 30,000 works of art and material culture. You may also get a drink and a bite to eat at the cafe, which has a great view of Darwin Harbour.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territ...
Sunset beer at the Darwin Ski Club
Just before nightfall, cross the street from the Art Gallery for a different kind of cultural experience. The Darwin Ski Club is a fantastic way to round off your first day in Darwin. Watch the sun set over Fannie Bay while sipping an ice-cold beverage and ordering appetizers or a heartier meal from the bistro.
Darwin Ski Club
Darwin Ski Club, Conacher Street, Fannie Bay ...
A quick coffee in Cullen Bay
You'll have to get up early today since you'll be boarding the SeaLink Ferry to the Tiwi Islands at 8 a.m. So get up early and make your way to Cullen Bay (where the SeaLink port is located) in plenty of time to fuel up with coffee and breakfast. If you want cuisine with a view of all the boats floating in the marina and bowl-sized coffees, go to the Boatshed Coffee House.
Cullen Bay, Larrakeyah NT, Australia
All aboard the Tiwi Islands ferry
SeaLink offers day trips to the Tiwi Islands, allowing you to immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of this fascinating location. The boat voyage from Cullen Bay to Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island takes 2.5 hours - sit back and relax as you cruise through the Beagle Gulf. The cultural immersion begins with a traditional totem dance and smoking ceremony when you arrive at Wurrumiyanga.
Tiwi Islands, NT, Australia
Explore the art and culture of Tiwi Islands
Wurrumiyanga boasts three art centres, the Patakijiyali Museum, the old Catholic mission precinct, as well as Pukamani (burial) poles in the cemetery. Your local Tiwi guide will walk with you around the town, where you can see the paintings, carvings, tutini poles and ceramics the islands are famous for; as well as contemporary screenprints, woven accessories and sculptures. You can also meet and purchase work directly from the artists. During the day, sit down for morning tea with artists and enjoy a traditional lunch with the Tiwi ladies.
Patakijiyali Museum, Puruntatameri Lane, Wurr...
Load up your 4WD for a Kakadu adventure
After experiencing the Tiwi Islands' unique culture the day before, it's time to embark on the next stage of your cultural tour of the Top End. Today, you'll travel a few hours east of Darwin to Kakadu National Park, which is noted for its flora and fauna. Hire a 4WD, get on the road early, and prepare to visit one of the most incredible sites on the planet.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park, Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT, ...
Watch for crocs at Cahill’s Crossing
Head to the notorious Cahill's Crossing, which takes you through the East Alligator River and into Arnhem Land, before checking into your Jabiru hotel. Before crossing, take a moment to see the locals fishing off the shallow crossing, which is believed to be home to a significant number of saltwater crocs. To access Arnhem Land, you'll need a permit, which you can get before leaving Darwin.
Jabiru NT, Australia
Call in to see artists at work in Arnhem Land
Gunbalanya is the first community on the western side of Arnhem Land after crossing the river from Kakadu (Oenpelli). Visit the famed Injalak Art & Craft Centre to watch artisans at work and to purchase baskets and paintings. Visit Injalak Hill with an indigenous guide to witness ancient rock art and hear Dreamtime legends.
Settle in at Jabiru
The Anbinik Kakadu Resort in Jabiru, the little village in the heart of Kakadu, will be your home for the next two nights. After a day of excitement, take a swim in the pool to refresh yourself. Then it's only a short walk to the town center, or you can simply unwind at the resort's cafe or Anbinik restaurant.
Anbinik Kakadu Resort
Anbinik Kakadu Resort, Jabiru Drive, Jabiru N...
Meet your Kakadu tour guide
Today you'll be spending the day with a fantastic guide from Ayal Aboriginal Tours, who will take you on a tour of historic sites. To say the least, this day-long cultural immersion into the stories and history of the people of this region is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
View remarkable rock art at Ubirr
Ubirr is regarded as one of the world's most important rock art locations. Your guide will explain the Aboriginal culture surrounding some of these fascinating works of art, including how they lived, hunted, and obtained food. You'll find paintings of spirit characters as well as the well-known x-ray art revealing the interior structure of some of the country's animals.
Ubirr (Rock Art)
Ubirr (Rock Art), Ubirr, Kakadu NT, Australia
Rest beside a billabong
The stunning Anbangbang Billabong, known for its outstanding wildlife and paperbark swamp, is also included in your tour. Enjoy spectacular views of Nourlangie across the billabong while learning about local Aboriginal bush tucker.
Anbangbang Billabong Track
Anbangbang Billabong Track, Kakadu NT, Austra...
Find a treasure at Marrawuddi Art Gallery
The Marrawuddi Art Gallery is your final destination on this magnificent tour of Kakadu, where every piece of original artwork was created by locals living in and around Kakadu National Park. Find anything you like and buy it with the knowledge that all proceeds from this gallery go back into the community.
Visit a 20,000-year-old outdoor gallery
On your travel through Kakadu, you must stop at the Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art site. For tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal people gathered here, among towering rocks and enormous spaces. Your guide will tell you incredible stories about the images left to him by the region's three caretaker Aboriginal clan groups, and you'll hear about how Aboriginal people lived here during the wet and dry seasons.
Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Parking lot
Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Parking lot, Kakadu N...
Overnight at Jabiru
Spend one more night in Jabiru at the Anbinik Kakadu Resort before hitting the road the next day to catch your flight back to Darwin. Consider everything you've seen and the numerous things you've heard as you journey west. You've just witnessed the greatest of Australia's oldest culture.