Arnhem Land

A Land of Mysteries and Secrets

An Aboriginal homeland, Arnhem Land is a mystical land in Australia’s Northern Territory where only Aboriginal people are allowed to enter (except for the peripheries of the land). The Land Region is one of the five main regions of Australia’s North and is located in the North Eastern portion of the area. It is located 500 kilometers from the capital territory of Darwin. Situated in a tropical region, the climate is monsoonal wet and dry. Over 1,500 millimeters of rain can fall during the wet season. The only way into Arnhem Land during the wet season is by an aircraft. It was named after a Dutch ship, Arnhem, which explored the coast in 1623.

The land is owned by the Aborigines and is made up of wild coastlines, islands and rivers teeming with aquatic resources, lush monsoon forests, savannah woodland and soaring escarpments. It is only one of the few unspoiled areas in the world. Majority of Arnhem’s population is indigenous, whose Aboriginal culture remains intact and untouched. The land is also known for its distinctive Aboriginal art.

Considered as one of the best fishing spots in the whole world due to its seldom-fished waters, World Heritage Site  Kakadu National Park, the Mary River and Gove Peninsula house around a third of Australia’s entire bird species, making it a must-go place for enthusiastic bird watchers.

Arnhem is a home to one of the oldest cultures in the world where hundreds of different languages are spoken and customs and laws, if woven together, will tell a story of more than 50,000 years of old. Arnhem is an important and attractive tourist destination not only in the Northern Territory but in the whole continent as well because of its aboriginal art and culture that is the centerpiece of a total Arnhem Land experience.

Interestingly, the Aboriginal homeland is still called by its European name but among the Australian Aborigines who live there are many indigenous names for Arnhem which invoke their Aboriginality and their history.

An Untouched Paradise

Declared as an Aboriginal Reserve, a tourist will need a permit to visit the sacred homeland of the Aborigines. It remains one of the largest Aboriginal reserves in the continent and is known for its isolation, the distinct art of its inhabitants and its strong traditions that have lasted for thousands of years. To the northeast of the land lies the home to the indigenous Yolngu people, one of the largest in Australia. They have successfully maintained a vigorous aboriginal culture and are believed to have had contact with the Macassans and the Malays prior to European settlement of Australia.

Arnhem is known internationally for its bark paintings and as the origin of the didgeridoo or yidaki. It is also notable for its Aboriginal rock-art, with some of the most important examples of which can be found in Injalak Hill, Ubirr Rock and the Canon Hill area. Many tourists visit Arnhem on a four-wheel drive tour but a permit is required. There are also scenic flights offered to really take a bird’s eye view of the vast scenery of the rich land.

Witness the Beauty, Experience the Marvels and Mystery

Tourists are offered with several exciting experiences in the region. They can learn and view the many world-famous galleries of rock art on a guided tour. These aboriginal tours are led by aboriginal tour guides. Sightseers can explore magnificent bush environment, searching the traditional cuisine and medicines while adventurers can cruise billabongs and rivers while learning about the didgeridoo story.

Majority of Arnhem Land remains a mystery because of its isolation, but everyone has the opportunity to have a glimpse of the gates to this beautiful paradise of rich indigenous culture, teeming with ancient art and history.

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