New tours are giving visitors to the Northern Territory’s Tiwi Islands the chance to immerse themselves in “the island of smiles”, famous for its traditional lifestyle, art and love of Australian football.
|Tiwi Islands Grand Final|
Operated by SeaLink in partnership with the traditional owners of the Tiwi Islands, through Tiwi Island Adventures (TIA), guests can stay in a coastal wilderness lodge, enjoy a traditional smoking ceremony, Tiwi Art, join a sunset turtle discovery tour and take a scenic flight to Melville Island to the remote Milikapiti township.
SeaLink is committed to growing new tourism markets in the Northern Territory and this new tour will benefit the Tiwi Island people through a unique business agreement.
The three day Ultimate Tiwi Island tour is limited to just 12 guests per tour and is based at the remote Bathurst Island Lodge, which has recently undergone a $2m investment. An optional add-on is also available extending the tour by a day, taking in the wilderness of Melville Island and a remote adventure along the Goose Creek river system.
The Tiwi Islands are made up of Bathurst and Melville islands and located 40 nautical miles north of Darwin.
SeaLink NT General Manager Paul Victory said until now, Bathurst Island Lodge had only opened its doors to fishing enthusiasts.
“These tours provide a unique glimpse into life on the Tiwi Islands and provide a rare opportunity to experience Island life in the Northern Territory,” he said.
Mr Victory said SeaLink had established a Tourism and Transport Committee on the Island to help build the Tiwi Island’s tourism potential and was working with the Northern Territory (NT) Government to develop a floating pontoon system and tourism arrival precinct into the Tiwi Islands.
“SeaLink is a natural tourism partner for the Tiwi Islands after recently signing a new ferry service Agreement with the NT Government to operate three return ferry services to the Tiwi Islands per week aboard our Tiwi Mantawi (Tiwi friend) vessel.”
The tours are being launched in a partnership with NT Tourism nationally and internationally and will be offered through Australia’s tourism trade to assist market penetration and distribution.
The Ultimate Tiwi Islands tour includes SeaLink ferry or flights from Darwin, an art workshop with local artists, walking tour, accommodation, meals and non-alcoholic drinks, a wilderness adventure cruise, fishing options, turtle tour, a scenic flight to Melville Island and museum and art centre tours and is priced from $2425 per person.
A day trip out of Darwin to the Tiwi Designs centre is also available on Thursday and Friday’s and will operate from 1 April to 11 December from $319 per person.
|Bathurst Lodge (supplied)|
The Tiwi Island’s & The NT Government
The Tiwi Islands is 40 nautical miles across the Arafura Sea north of Darwin. Bathurst and Melville Island and five smaller islands total 800,000 hectares and include a coastline of 1016 kilometres under freehold title by 2000 landowners. The Tiwi people have largely unrestricted access to use their own land and have a number of business enterprises including forestry and tourism. Melville Island is the second largest island in the Australian mainland spanning 570,000 hectares.
SeaLink have been working with the NT Government, through the Department of Transport, Chief Minister’s Office and Tourism NT, on tourism services development in the Tiwi Island’s and on the Mandorah and Cox Peninsula route’s it is also servicing.
Tiwi Island Adventures
Tiwi Island Adventures is a business entity of the Tiwi Land Council and has been operating for a number of years with a variety of partnerships to support the business.
Tiwi Island Adventures (TIA) is a Tiwi owned enterprise, operated by an independent Board, including the traditional land owners. Tiwi Island Adventure’s own and operate three successful fishing lodges and provide one of the best ‘fishing’ experience’s in Australia. The product is at the premium end of the commercial fishing tourism market. http://tiwiislandadventures.net
The Tiwi Islands are not new to forming strategic partnerships and have demonstrated this in the tourism, agriculture and marine sector with partnerships with AAT Kings in the tourism sector for ‘day trips’ and commercial marine partners from Singapore, for the Port of Melville to assist with forestry.
Tiwi Land Council
The Tiwi Islands have a strong business structure, supported by the Tiwi Land Council and Tiwi Enterprises for tourism and governance. This new tour support’s the development of economic development on the Tiwi Island’s. There are some excellent examples of success in the community, none better than the Tiwi College, the leading education college on the island.