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Tiwi By Design Day Tour


SeaLink Northern Territory

Your local Tiwi Islands guide will show you their community on this cultural walking tour - an authentic Tiwi experience!

Comprising Bathurst and Melville Islands, the Tiwi Islands have a  population of around 2500 and are known as 'the islands of smiles'. The Tiwi people are internationally renowned for their individual style of art including carvings and bright textile designs. Prized by collectors, many Tiwi artists have exhibited around the world.

Insights into your experience

A highly personalised cultural experience; ‘Tiwi By Design’ is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the busy day of one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia.

After disembarking in the Aboriginal community of Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island, meet your Tiwi guide who will escort you to Tiwi Design Art Centre where local artists and dancers will perform a traditional Welcome to Country with a smoking ceremony and totem dances.

Enjoy a typical Tiwi morning tea of damper and a cuppa whilst getting to know some of the Tiwi Island community members. A walking tour with your guide will take in some of the local painted buildings and the historic mission precinct where you will see the beautiful wooden Catholic church that featured in the 'Top End Wedding' movie. You will learn of the Tiwi Creation Story through the mural in the art centre and there's some free time to browse the carvings, paintings and fabric, your best opportunity to purchase authentic Tiwi pieces at Island prices.

After a rest and lunch in the shade, you’ll get to participate in an exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ screen printing workshop. Choose from contemporary or traditional Tiwi design to print onto a take-home t-shirt, tea towel or fabric – a wonderful souvenir of your Tiwi visit.
This is a leisurely day of absorbing the workings of a busy Indigenous art centre – you may see art pieces destined for international exhibitions, talk to artists who are carving or painting, and sometimes the ladies will be there weaving and chatting. It is always loud and busy with Tiwi people coming and going, Ngarukuruwala music playing on repeat.  Take the time to connect, share where you’re from and  which footy team you support, ask about the stories you see on the paintings, or ask the artists there to show you their work.
**Please note that the Bathurst Island Museum is closed until 2022, and is no longer included in this tour**


Aboriginal guide
First aid
Morning tea

You should bring

Walking shoes
Water bottle

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Things to know

The tour operates during the Dry Season (1st April to 10th December 2021) on Thursdays and Fridays as well as selected Mondays. Click the Book Now button to check the calendar for departure dates.

The tour departs Cullen Bay at 8:00am and returns at 5:45pm.

To find out cost and availability please click the Book Now button. 

Cost includes: 

  • Return ferry Darwin to Bathurst Island
  • Traditional welcome ceremony
  • Walking tour with local Tiwi guide
  • Morning tea and lunch
  • Cultural art session and take home art memento

Planning your day:

  • Bring your own umbrella, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent. Water and some food is available on board for purchase.
  • Clothing: please avoid wearing any skimpy clothing or cut off shorts as this is not culturally appropriate on the Tiwi Islands.
  • Keep hydrated: you can refill your water bottle at Tiwi Designs on our tours.
  • Photos and Social Media: please make sure you ask a Tiwi local before you take a photo of them. Do not take photos of children.
  • No Swimming: Be aware of crocodiles #BeCrocWise
  • Quarantine: Before arriving or leaving check clothing does not have any weed seeds clinging to the fabric. No Soil or fungus on shoes.

Meeting point

Cullen Bay Marina - 68 Marina Boulevard, Larrakeyah, Northern Territory. Directions: A 10 minute drive from central Darwin. Check in time: 7:30am, departure time: 8:00am, return time: 5:45pm.


The Tiwi Islands are 80km north of Darwin and very accessible via the 2.5 hour SeaLink ferry service.

Ready for an experience you won’t forget?
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