Take a trip across the water from Darwin to discover the beautiful Tiwi Islands and find out why they are nicknamed the 'Island of Smiles'.
The Tiwi Islands are famous for their traditional lifestyle, art and love of AFL. Take a day tour from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands to find out why they are nicknamed the ‘Island of Smiles’.
The Tiwi Islands comprise two islands – Bathurst and Melville, which are 80 kilometres north of Darwin.
Tiwi Islands map and travel guide (PDF)
Annual football and art sale
Take the opportunity and have a truly fantastic day day out. Visit Bathurst Island for this special day and a chance to view and buy Tiwi island artwork and watch the grand footy final.
The sale venue is the Tiwi Design Art Centre with a gallery of additional arts and crafts from Jilamara Arts and Crafts and Munupi Arts and Crafts from Melville Island.
Sales begins at 9am on Sunday and conclude around 1pm when the Football starts.
This is a day you won’t forget and your cheeks will be hurting from so much smiling.
Art and culture
The Tiwi people are famous for their art, which hangs in galleries around the world. Everywhere you look you will see art decorating schools, on carved burial poles, adorning the altar of the white wooden church and in the islands’ renowned art centres.
Visit an art centre to meet the artists, watch them paint, weave, sculpt and carve and learn the story behind their distinctive pieces. You can purchase artworks directly from the artist at reasonable prices.
Sit down with the ‘morning tea ladies’, a group of Tiwi women elders who serve damper and billy tea. Learn how to weave pandanus and get a feel for what everyday life is like. Then witness dancing and a smoking ceremony and find out the meaning behind these traditional rituals.
Stay at a beachfront lodge or join a guided fishing trip from Darwin to experience the Tiwi Islands’ world-class fishing. Bluewater, reef and estuary options are all on offer in this pristine environment.
Australian Rules Football is akin to religion on the Tiwi Islands. People from far and wide come each year in March for the football grand final and art. It is a hugely popular and very special event, and the only day in the year when permits are not required for travel to the Islands.
Diverse coastal landscapes
Join a tour led by a local Indigenous guide to explore the islands’ different landscapes that range from tropical rainforest to clay-like cliffs, white-sand beaches, dense jungle and inviting rock pools. Swim in the clear, shady waterhole at Tomorapi Falls.