Home | Adventure Curated

Little Known East Arnhem Land

Share this article:
July 26 8 minute read

Arnhem Land is a truly remote region of Australia and those willing to work for it will be rewarded with an incredibly rewarding experience.

East Arnhem Land

Our first destination was Wanuway (Cape Arnhem), which many referred to as the jewel of East Arnhem Land. On big travel days, we always like to get through some kilometres early before first coffee. Barely a couple of hundred kilometres along the Central Arnhem Road from Katherine and we were already surrounded by wild country.

Arnhem Land 1
Arnhem Land 2

We took on diesel at Mainoru Store, the only fuel on the 700km stretch between Katherine and Nhulunbuy – and we planned to do some exploring along the way.

East Arnhem Land

We acquired three permits for our journey. A free Northern Land Council Transit Permit allowed us to travel along the Central Arnhem Road. A paid Dhimmurru Aboriginal Corporation General Permit was required to explore and camp in many areas, while a second paid Special Permit was necessary to visit and camp at Wanuway.

Acquiring these permits was relatively simple. The permits limit traveller numbers, a great thing for both sustainability and solitude. Plus the revenue is the key reason we visitors are welcome on these private lands and funds the local Rangers.

Arnhem Land 3

As we turned toward Wanuwuy the path narrowed to fun single track. A few kilometres and we had our first glimpses of the wild Arafura Sea.

Arnhem Land 4
Arnhem Land 5

Dusk arrived early which made navigating this remote, saltwater crocodile rich, terrain with an incoming tide and soft sand a challenge. It was a pretty exciting arrival!

Arnhem Land 6
Arnhem Land 7
Arnhem Land 8

With daybreak we took stock of our surroundings. We were the only humans. It felt like we were on the edge of the earth.

East Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land 9

There are a few campsites at Wanuwuy. Each has a fire pit and swing – my kind of land management!

Arnhem Land 10
East Arnhem Land

Arnhem Land is a real off-grid adventure. If you plan to stay a few days, and you should, you’ll want to carry plenty of diesel and water, plus be able to produce power.

Arnhem Land 11

It’s tough not being able to swim (if the crocs don’t get you the stingers will!), but the beaches are breathtaking.

What’s interesting is that one section would be pristine but around the corner another section had collected an endless amount of plastic on the incoming tide.

It’s always heartbreaking to see the impact of our modern life on nature, but I take some comfort in comparing the groundswell of action on solving the plastic issue to a few short years ago.

East Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land 12
Arnhem Land 13
Arnhem Land 14

We ventured on, heading into the breathtaking Banambarrnga (Rainbow Cliff). We camped further south, but the campsite near here looked good.

Arnhem Land 15

To the south again we weaved down another narrow track to Baningura (Little Bondi). We’d hear good things, but wow. This was an absolutely stunning beach and our campsite was about as good as it gets!

Arnhem Land 16
Arnhem Land 17

A trip up to East Arnhem Land is a big one, but it’s one we think experienced travellers will love. The permits were far more effortless to attain than we’d anticipated, and it’s an incredible place to explore away from the crowds.

East Arnhem Land

For more permit information visit East Arnhem Land. To read similar adventure in the area head over to our Northern Territory category.

Shop Our Camp Range

Related Posts

Mitchell Falls

Mitchell Falls

Mitchell Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. If you explore the... Read More
Piccaninny Gorge 39

Piccaninny Gorge, the Bungle Bungles

Within the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park lies the spectacular Piccaninny Gorge, the largest within the... Read More
Cape Range National Park, North Mandu From Microlight

Cape Range National Park

Cape Range National Park lies within the UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. The vibrant blue waters and rugged... Read More

Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.