Trip Planner

Tourism East Arnhem continues to monitor the respiratory illness outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and the impacts this has on visitors to East Arnhem Land.

FROM 10:30pm on Thursday March 26, East Arnhem including the towns of Nhulunbuy and Alyangula have been designated biosecurity areas as of 10:30pm ACST Thursday 26 March 2020. This means that the entire East Arnhem region including all of Groote Archipelago (Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island). Anyone wishing to enter East Arnhem Land will need to self-quarantine for 14 days before they can enter.

For more information, please click here.


FROM 4pm on Tuesday March 24, anyone arriving in the Northern Territory from interstate will be required to quarantine for two weeks. This applies to both visitors and residents of the Northern Territory. 

For updates for East Arnhem Land, please click here.

For updates for Groote Eylandt, please click here.

For residents or contractors of East Arnhem Land, please read current advice here.

Please visit coronavirus.nt.gov.au for more information on current regulations around social distancing, self-isolation and other coronavirus questions you may have.

East Arnhem LanD

The Northern Land Council (NLC) has suspended all existing non-essential permits for access to East Arnhem Land and no new non-essential permits will be granted until further notice. 

What does this mean for visitors to East Arnhem Land? 

For the safety and protection of Aboriginal people and their communities, all non-essential travel to East Arnhem Land including transit along the Central Arnhem Road to Nhulunbuy (Gove) should be postponed until further notice. 

Permits will not be issued to people who are tourists or visitors.

What if I already have a permit for remote travel?

The NLC has suspended all existing permits to Aboriginal communities for non-essential travel, for example, travel to Gapuwiyak to visit the Gapuwiyak Arts Centre. No new permits for non-essential travel will be granted until further notice.

If I am driving the Central Arnhem Road, where can I stop?

  • If you are are granted a permit to drive the Central Arnhem road, you must take all possible steps to minimise contact with remote community residents.
  • Measures you should take include:
    • Do not deviate from the Central Arnhem Road.
    • Do not stop at or enter any remote communities along the Central Arnhem Road. This includes any homelands, Gapuwiyak, Bulman, Beswick and Barunga.
    • Do not access the shops or fuel at any remote communities (including at any homelands, Gapuwiyak, Bulman, Beswick and Barunga). Mainoru Store can still be accessed.

Am I able to fly to East Arnhem Land?

Air access from Cairns and Darwin to Nhulunbuy via Airnorth has not been affected. Gove (Nhulunbuy) Airport is continuing to work closely with Airnorth to minimise risk for passengers. Extra steps have been taken to ensure the cleaning of the airport is meeting advised standards. 

Access to other communities such as Galiwin'ku (Elcho Island), Ramingining, Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak (Lake Evella) require permits from the Northern Land Council. You should postpone any non-essential travel to communities outside Nhulunbuy until further notice. 

For more information, please contact the Northern Land Council

Are there restrictions on people travelling from Nhulunbuy to Yirrkala and Gunyangara?

  • Remote communities in the Northern Territory are only open to essential travel in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Yirrkala and Gunyangara are subject to these remote community travel restrictions, as are all other communities and homelands in East Arnhem.
  • This means that permits to enter these communities will only be granted for essential travel.

Are the requirements likely to change?

Yes, expert advice about the appropriate response to COVID-19 is constantly changing

What is essential travel?

Essential travel is travel to transport individuals or goods that are necessary to keep the community operating. This means that following people may continue to travel for work purposes:

  • doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers and council workers;
  • workers who deliver the CDP program;
  • workers making deliveries of food or medical supplies by barge, air or road; and
  • workers who are building or repairing essential community infrastructure such as housing, police stations, health centers, and power and water infrastructure.

All individuals visiting and working in remote communities are asked to observe safety precautions to prevent the risk of transmission and take all possible steps to minimise contact with community residents. If you are unsure of whether you should travel to a remote community, please ring the NLC on (08) 8920 5100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Groote Eylandt

Last Updated: 24 March 2020
 
Until further notice, Airport services for Alyangula residents will cease after Wednesday 25 March 2020. 
If you are flying in or out on a commercial Air North flight from 26 March onwards, you will need to make other arrangements for airport drop off and pick up.
 

From Monday 23 March, Sealink NT will stop the passenger ferry from travelling to Numbulwar until further notice due to the potential spread of COVOID-19. The ferry will keep running between Groote and Bickerton, Monday to Friday.

For more information: https://www.sealinknt.com.au


The Anindilyakwa Land Council, on 18 March 2020, has asked its staff to minimise travel into communities.
In line with this, Alyangula residents are asked not to travel to Angurugu, Umbakumba, Bickerton Island and satellite communities unless it is critical and/or you have a process in place with their employer.

Any member of the public travelling on a GEMCO charter flight will not be allowed to board their flight if they have returned to Australia in the last 14 days. 

FIFO workers will not be allowed to travel to Groote Eylandt until they have self-isolated at home for 14 days. GEMCO workforce residing on Groote Eylandt will be required to isolate at home but will not be permitted to travel on charter flights to reach the Groote Eylandt.


GEMCO is working closely with the Anindilyakwa Land Council and the Northern Territory Government to support community preparation to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

GEMCO have put in place restrictions to help keep their workforce and Groote Eylandt communities safe.

This includes:

  • stopped all non-essential travel to GEMCO
  • all ships coming from high-risk countries must spend a minimum 14 days at sea before arriving on Groote
  • regular cleaning of public places including the Alyangula supermarket, fuel bowsers and arcade
  • regular communication to the workforce regarding hygienic hand washing and cough / sneezing protocols

GEMCO will be conducting health checks on all passengers travelling on GEMCO charters from Monday 16 March. If any passenger is unwell or displays a temperature over 37.3C, they will not be permitted on the plane.

Members of the GEMCO workforce are advised not to come to work if they have:

  • flu-like symptoms (temperature over 37.3 degrees C, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath)
  • in the past 14 days been in contact with a person who has confirmed COVID-19
  • in the past 14 days travelled to one of the government identified high-risk countries

Members of the workforce can attend work if they have been:

  • overseas (to a country other than a high-risk country) in the past 14 days
  • in close contact with someone who has travelled to a high-risk country in the last 14 days

However, they are required to test their temperature twice a day for 14 days (to ensure their temperature remains under 37.3 degrees C).

In the event that someone becomes ill at work, we have a process in place to exclude them to their lodgings until we are able to confirm they do not have COVID-19.

For more information, please contact the Anindilyakwa Land Council

Important Information about designated biosecurity areas in the NT

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT DESIGNATED BIOSECURITY AREAS IN THE NT

The Northern Territory (NT) Government, together with the Australian Government and the Land Councils, has put in place significant new measures to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

East Arnhem, including the towns of Nhulunbuy and Alyangula have been designated biosecurity areas as of 10:30pm ACST Thursday 26 March 2020. This means that the entire East Arnhem region including all of Groote Archipelago (Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island).  

Anyone wishing to enter East Arnhem Land will need to self-quarantine for 14 days before they can enter.

There are exceptions for demonstrated essential workers. Approvals can be sought for special circumstances, and applications for special circumstances will be approved by delegates of the NT Government, Australian Government and Land Councils.

EAST ARNHEM DESIGNATED BIOSECURITY AREA and TRAVELLING INSIDE THE DESIGNATED BIOSECURITY AREAS

 

THE YOLŊU REGION OF EAST ARNHEM

In practical terms, the East Arnhem designated biosecurity area includes:

  • the Town of Nhulunbuy, industrial estate and all mining areas including the airport, Gove Port etc
  • the remote Yolŋu communities of Yirrkala, Gunyaŋara, Birritjimi, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak, Milingimbi, Ramingining
  • the many Yolŋu homelands which surround these communities
  • the Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) and recreation areas and the Laynhapuy and Marthakal Indigenous Protected Areas

Travel for Yolŋu is allowed between the communities, homelands and the township of Nhulunbuy. HOWEVER, the government health advice is clear, DO NOT TRAVEL IF YOU DO NOT NEED TO – YOU ARE SAFER IN YOUR COMMUNITY OR HOMELANDS – only travel from place to place for important reasons like a health emergency. Always practice good hygiene, stay safe and slow the spread of coronavirus.

Travel for non-Yolŋu people (Balanda) is more limited and focusses on making sure essential services and supplies continue to remote communities and homelands. Travel for non-Yolŋu people to the remote communities and homelands within the East Arnhem Biosecurity Area is restricted to only those who are ‘essential’ and who have a permit from the Northern Land Council. The essential travel is defined by Secure NT. To find out more about travel to a remote community in the Northern Territory, call 1800 518 189 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To be clear, whilst you might be an essential worker to enter a Biosecurity Area (like the East Arnhem Region), this does not give you approval to enter a remote community or homeland. You still must have a Land Council permit. If you travel out on the Central Arnhem Road, you must have a Northern Land Council permit – apply here. If you go to a Dhimurru recreation area you need a permit from Dhimurru – apply here. You must carry your permit with you at all times while travelling in these areas.

More specific advice about getting Approved Essential Remote Worker ID cards and Land Council permits to access remote communities and homelands will be provided very soon. See more information at Secure NT.

 

THE ANINDILYAKWA REGION OF EAST ARNHEM

The East Arnhem designated biosecurity area also takes in Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island, which include:

  • the town of Alyangula, associated industrial areas and all mining areas including the airport, port etc.
  • the Groote and Bickerton Island communities of Angurugu, Umbakumba and Milyakburra and satellite communities (homelands)

Travel for Anindilyakwa people is allowed between the remote communities, homelands and the township of Alyangula. HOWEVER, the government health and land council advice is clear DO NOT TRAVEL IF YOU DO NOT NEED TO – YOU ARE SAFER IN YOUR COMMUNITY OR HOMELANDS – only travel from place to place for important reasons like a health emergency. Always practice good hygiene, stay safe and slow the spread of coronavirus - https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/staysafe/slow-spread

Travel for non-Anindilyakwa people (Balanda) is more limited and focusses on making sure essential services and supplies continue to remote communities and homelands. Travel for non-Yolŋu people to the remote communities and homelands within the East Arnhem Biosecurity Area is restricted to only those who are ‘essential’ and who have a permit from the Anindilyakwa Land Council. The essential travel is defined by Secure NT. To find out more about travel to a remote community in the Northern Territory, call 1800 518 189 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The ALC, South32/GEMCO and the NT Government are also working on additional strategies for Groote Eylandt. For more information, contact Jesse Fatnowna at DCM on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

WHEN YOU LEAVE THE DESIGNATED BIOSECURITY AREA

There are no restrictions on you leaving a designated biosecurity area. However, anyone wishing to enter or re-enter a designated biosecurity area will need to self-quarantine for 14 days before they can enter or demonstrate they are an essential worker (as defined by Secure NT). Approvals can be sought for special circumstances, and applications for special circumstances will be considered by delegates of the NT Government, Australian Government and Land Councils. The process for this will be made clear soon.

 

MORE INFORMATION

The international, domestic, biosecurity designated area and remote community and homeland travel is a complex area and it’s important that you get it right. If you are not sure, contact the Remote Travel Hotline on 1800 518 189 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information, fact sheets and Q&As will be provided as they become available.