The Central Arnhem Rd turn off is situated 50km south of Katherine on the Stuart Highway. The distance is 710 km between Katherine & Nhulunbuy through Central Arnhem Land. There is only one fuel stop 240 km from Katherine at Mainoru Outback Store (500 km South of Gove/Nhulunbuy). To travel the Central Arnhem Road (4WD only) requires crossing many clan lands and a permit from the Northern Land Council (NLC) is required. There is no cost for this permit but it is necessary to monitor the numbers of people on the road to maintain this region.
Below is the Northern Land Council (NLC) application form for a work (excluding research or media), transit or tourist permit, available in both electronic and PDF formats.
Once you arrive into Nhulunbuy to visit any of the beaches you will require a permit from Dhimurru, find out more here.
A high clearance four wheel drive vehicle is essential for travelling this route. Be sure to engage 4WD on all dirt roads. The Central Arnhem Highway is a dirt road, which can reduce visibility considerably. Roads are unsealed and there are some difficult river crossings (including the Goyder River crossing), large corrugations and roads are prone to washouts. Do not swim at the river crossings as salt water crocodiles inhabit these areas. Be particularly careful at night – buffaloes and other animals can stray on to the road. Be sure to drive to the conditions at all times. DO NOT SPEED! Carry plentiful food, fuel and water, spare tyre(s) and a puncture repair kit.