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Trip Planner

Nature

When you think of the Northern Territory, pristine beaches with crystal clear water is not typically what comes to mind but in East Arnhem Land that is exactly what you will get. With some of the most stunning coastline in all of Australia, the region’s beaches feature long stretches of powdery white sand bordered by the vivid blue waters of the Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria. Add in the rich red of the common bauxite shelves and you get jaw dropping landscapes of vibrant contrasting colours.

There are several beautiful beaches close to the region’s main hub of Nhulunbuy that do not require four-wheel drive vehicles to visit them including Gadalathami (Town Beach), Galuru (East Woody Beach), Middle Beach and Wirrwawuy (Cape Wirrawoi).

For the keen four-wheel driver, some of the spectacular recreational areas are located a bit further out from Nhulunbuy along the Dhupuma Road. These include Wanuwuy (Cape Arnhem), Bariŋura (Little Bondi), Ŋumuy (Turtle Beach), Garanhan (Macassan Beach) and Binydjarrŋa (Daliwuy Bay).

Along with its beaches East Arnhem boasts many spectacular freshwater streams, waterfalls and rivers including Wathuwuy (Latram River and Goanna Lagoon), Manaŋaymi (Scout Camp) and Guwatjurumurru (Giddy River). Many of the recreational areas and overnight camping spots are located close to freshwater, giving you the chance to wash off after a long day of exploring the region.

Although crocodiles do inhabit all waterways within the East Arnhem region, there are some recreational areas where people do swim. If you choose to swim at your own risk, it is important to remain Crocwise at all times  – read more about crocodiles in East Arnhem and being Crocwise here

Update

Baṉambarrŋa (Rainbow Cliffs)

Baṉambarrŋa (Rainbow Cliffs) is a short 10 kilometre or 20 minute drive from Nhulunbuy with the turn off located on the way to Gove Airport. Once you have turned off the main road the track in to the recreational area is a well maintained dirt road with a small creek crossing. Baṉambarrŋa is a sheer section of coastline where the exposed and weathered rock profile produces a striking colourful effect on the cliff face as it plunges over 40 meters into the sea, giving it the nick name Rain...

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Bariŋura (Little Bondi Beach)

Bariŋura (Little Bondi) is a 41 kilometres drive from Nhulunbuy and lies at the northern end of the coastal walking trail that includes the beaches of Ŋumuy, Garanhan and Binydjarrŋa. The track into Bariŋura is mostly dirt with some sandy patches at the end so make sure you are in four-wheel drive vehicle and prepared for some sand driving.  The track from the car park descends via a slope covered by open eucalypt forest that alternates near the base of the slope with coastal monsoon...

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Binydjarrŋa (Daliwuy Bay)

Binydjarrŋa (Daliwuy Bay) is located 36 kilometres from Nhulunbuy, approximately a 40 minute drive. Turning off from Dhupuma Road, the well maintained track leads down to Binydjarrŋa where there are campsites with a great view of Daliwuy Bay. There are composting toilets and picnic tables located at the campsites as well as a boat launching area, making it a popular spot for fishing. Good vehicle access provides opportunities to experience mangrove estuaries, mudflats, paperbark trees (melale...

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Dhamitjinya (East Woody Island)

Dhamitjinya (East Woody Island) is located just four kilometres from Nhulunbuy with easy access via a sealed road. The squeaky white sands of Galuru (East Woody Beach) are met by clear azure waters where you will often find shallow wading pools at low tide. The walk over to Dhamitjinya will take you about 10 minutes along a sandspit where you can walk up the rocks to take in a breathtaking 360 degree view of Melville Bay and the coastline behind you. Access to the island can sometimes be affect...

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Gadalathami (Town Beach)

Gadalathami (Town Beach) is the closest beach to Nhulunbuy and is located on the eastern side of the town looking out into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Gadalathami is a three kilometre stretch of white sand and makes for a pleasant afternoon walk to watch the sunset. You can access the beach via the Gove Peninsula Surf Lifesaving Club carpark or there is a beach access walkway located between the Gove Aquatic Centre and the Walkabout Lodge and Tavern in Nhulunbuy. Gadalathami is the site of the Gov...

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Gaṉami (Wonga Creek)

Gaṉami (Wonga Creek) is a freshwater creek located 57 kilometres from Nhulunbuy. The creek runs through an open Eucalypt forest and forms a mangrove estuary at its mouth where it flows into Port Bradshaw. The campsite is at a waterhole with rock pools and flowing water all year round. It is at the upper limits of tidal influence so be sure to be croc wise when visiting here as crocodiles inhabit the area.  Check the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation site for closure information as the tra...

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Gapuru (Memorial Park)

Gapuru (Memorial Park) is a spectacular freshwater recreational area located 65 kilometres from Nhulunbuy. Travelling along the Central Arnhem Road you will turn left onto a smaller dirt track which does have some rougher patches, this will take you to the only campsite for this recreational area. The campsite is adjacent to numerous freshwater rockpools with a set of small rapids connecting them, making for a stunning spot to set up camp for the night. There is a picnic table, fire pit and com...

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Garanhan (Macassan Beach)

Garanhan (Macassan Beach) is a 38 kilometre drive from Nhulunbuy with the first part taking you along the Dhupuma Road before turning off to follow a well maintained dirt and sand track to the recreational areas. There is a long wide beach of white sand which contrasts with the rough-textured shelves of bright red laterite that run parallel to the coastline. Garanhan lies in between the beaches of Binydjarrŋa and Ŋumuy on the coastal walking trail. A narrow, dense strip of retja (monsoon coas...

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Guwatjurumurru (Giddy River)

Guwatjurumurru (Giddy River) is approximately a 55 kilometre drive from Nhulunbuy. After turning off the Central Arnhem Road, the dirt track will take you over small creek crossings and through open bushland before arriving at the recreational areas. The track provides access to the western side of the river where you can view the beautiful waterholes, small cascading waterfalls and mini gorges. The natural beauty here is spectacular with an area of the river re-entering into the main flow over...

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Lonely Beach

Lonely Beach is nestled near the picturesque homeland of Bawaka, approximately a one and a half hour’s drive from Nhulunbuy. Arguably the most iconic site in East Arnhem Land, Lonely Beach is a must-do when in the region. Where two azure beaches meet at a rocky island, this spot is spectacular from every angle. The waters here are teaming with marine life, and the vantage point from the top of the dunes offers a perfect location to spot from. Lonely Beach is a highlight on the Lirrwi Tour...

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Manaŋaymi (Scout Camp)

Manaŋaymi (Scout Camp) is located approximately 50 kilometres or around one hour’s drive from Nhulunbuy. Turning right off the Central Arnhem Road you will travel along a smooth dirt track with a shallow creek crossing, taking you to several campsites alongside a waterfall and freshwater pools in sandy open woodland. This area is particularly popular with families and there is one larger camping area that can be used by special arrangement for events. There are picnic tables and fire pi...

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Middle Beach

Middle Beach is located just five kilometres from Nhulunbuy via a sealed road and is at the end of the intersection leading to either Galuru (East Woody Beach) or Wirrwawuy (Cape Wirrawoi). This beach features a lovely wide stretch of white sand and plenty of shade from the several casuarina trees scattered about, making it the perfect spot to sit and take in your surrounds. If you are lucky you may even find one of the local food trucks parked up here serving the likes of fresh fish and chips o...

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Roy Marika Lookout

The Roy Marika Lookout is located at the summit of Nhulun (Mount Saunders), a sacred site of great significance to Yolŋu, and is the hill from which the Nhulunbuy township gets its name. The lookout is located on Wuyal Road and is easy to access with a sealed road taking you to the base of the lookout, and a short set of stairs to get to the top. You can also follow the Nhulunbuy Walk Trail Network Nhulun Walk from Nhulunbuy town centre to the Roy Marika Lookout for a four kilometre round ...

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Wanuwuy (Cape Arnhem)

Wanuwuy (Cape Arnhem) is a breathtakingly beautiful and pristine peninsula on the eastern tip of East Arnhem Land. The 50 kilometre drive from Nhulunbuy to Wanuwuy takes you on a wonderful journey along an escarpment, over sand dunes and along pristine stretches of beach. The first half of the trip to Wanuwuy will take you along the top of an escarpment, providing spectacular views across the surrounding areas. You will then reach a gate at the top of the escarpment. Before heading down the esc...

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Wathawuy (Latram River and Goanna Lagoon)

Wathawuy (Latram River and Goanna Lagoon) is a freshwater stream that winds its way through open eucalyptus forest and bushland. Located only a short half hour drive, approximately 30 kilometres, from Nhulunbuy you turn right off Dhupuma Road onto a smaller dirt track that takes you to the various recreational areas. The Wathawuy stream is shallow in most spots with a sandy bottom, however, there are some deeper waterholes that are mostly located at the Goanna Lagoon side. This hidden oasis has...

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Wirrwawuy (Cape Wirrawoi)

Wirrwawuy (Cape Wirrawoi) is located just five kilometres from Nhulunbuy with easy access via a sealed road. This area is popular for anglers to try their luck fishing in the afternoon or to see families and friends enjoying the outdoors with an afternoon beach stroll or bonfire. On the eastern side of the beach near the point you can walk up the sand dunes to get a higher viewpoint and one of the best seats in Nhulunbuy to take in a spectacular sunrise or sunset.

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Ŋumuy (Turtle Beach)

Ŋumuy (Turtle Beach) is located about 40 kilometres from Nhulunbuy and is a favourite of many locals. The access track is dirt with some sand that winds through a patch of retja (coastal monsoon vine forest) to the white sands and blue waters of this hidden little cove. Track conditions are generally good, though rocky and sandy in parts. A small camping area with picnic tables is set back in lush tropical vegetation giving plenty of shade during the day and with a lovely view of the beach jus...

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