Apply for a Permit
The Tiwi Islands are privately owned, they are not Crown land nor public land. The permit system is simply a system of regulated access to Aboriginal land. The system complements Aboriginal responsibility for country and is consistent with the land title held under Australian law. The permit system protects the privacy of Tiwi landowners, promotes awareness and respect for Tiwi land and culture, safeguards the natural environment, protects sacred sites, provides a policing tool for unscrupulous behaviour, and promotes visitor safety.
If you want to visit, work, conduct research, camp, fish, hunt, or live on the Tiwi Islands, permission must be obtained in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. All permits require a host or resident organisation and are issued on a purely discretionary basis. They may be revoked at any time in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Aboriginal Land Act. Weather conditions, ceremonial events, funerals or other unforeseen circumstances can result in a permit being cancelled at short notice. On rare occasions permits may not be required. Please visit here
for more information.
The Tiwi Land Council requires a minimum of 15 working days to process permit applications. For companies, organisations and research institutions already registered with the Tiwi Land Council, permits will be processed within 24 hours.
Protocols are appropriate ways of behaving, communicating and showing respect for Tiwi people, knowledge, history and culture. Tiwi Land Council Permit Protocols are available here
Types of Permit
Two types of Visitor Permit are available for people wishing to visit the Tiwi Islands.
1. Staying in communities
A permit for visitors to stay within community boundaries
and drive on the main road between communities. This permit is free and is valid for up to 3 months.
2. Travelling outside of communities
A permit for visitors to travel outside of community boundaries
for recreation. This permit costs $100 and is valid for 3 months.
The Tiwi Land Council is responsible for overseeing media access to the Tiwi Islands on behalf of Traditional Owners. Media Permits are issued once a Media Access Agreement has been signed.
Work Permits (including volunteers)
1. Companies and organisations based on the Tiwi Islands
Companies and organisations based on the Tiwi Islands for more than three months can apply for a Business Login, which enables them to issue Work Permits to their employees.
2. Companies and organisations with a Business Login
If your company or organisation is registered with the Tiwi Land Council and has been allocated a Business Login, you can issue Work Permits to your employees. Please note, permits can only be issued for work purposes. Work Permits do not cover fishing or hunting on the Tiwi Islands.
3. Companies and organisations based elsewhere
Companies and organisations not based on the Tiwi Islands need to apply for Work Permits for their staff to work on the Tiwi Islands.
Permits to conduct research on the Tiwi Islands are only issued once a Research Proposal has been approved by the Tiwi Land Council, and a Research Access Agreement has been signed.
Non-Tiwi Resident Permit
Non-Tiwi Resident Permits are issued to the partners, family members or close associates of Tiwi people. These permits allow non-Tiwi residents to reside on the Tiwi Islands for more than three months.
Recreational Fisher Camping Permit
Three camping areas, only accessible by boat, are available on the Tiwi Islands for up to seven days. They include Camp Point and Robertson Creek on Melville Islands and Shaggy’s (Tinkanrow) Campsites on Bathurst Island.
Residents of the Tiwi Islands over 18 years of age can apply for an annual Hunting Permit. Hunting Permits expire 12 months from the date of issue. Non-Tiwi Island residents can apply for a 14-day Hunting Permit if their Tiwi host has a valid Hunting Permit. A current Shooters Licence is required for applications to be processed.
No Permit Required – Yellow Access Zone
Intertidal waters marked yellow on the Fishing the Tiwi Islands
map do not require a Fishing Permit. Please note that the Tiwi Islands are private property. Fishers can apply for a Recreational Fisher Camping Permit
to stay at one of three designated campsites – Camp Point and Robertson Creek on Melville Island, and Shaggy’s Camp (Tinkanrow) on Bathurst Island.
Permit Required – Red Fishing Exclusion Zone
Permits to fish in the Exclusion Zone, marked red on the Fishing the Tiwi Islands
map, are only issued to permanent non-Tiwi residents and their approved guests upon application. Annual Exclusion Zone Fishing Permits expire 12 months from the date of issue.
No Permit Required
1. SeaLink ferry Wurrumiyanga day visitors and hosted tours
Day visitors travelling on on the SeaLink NT
ferry to Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island or visiting the islands on a hosted tour, such as Tiwi Tours
, do not need to apply for a permit. Day passes will be issued to visitors.
2. Leaseholders on the Tiwi Islands
If you lease a parcel of land in any community on the Tiwi Islands you do not need a permit to access your lease to carry out your business.
3. Permit-Free Days
From time to time Tiwi Island communities designate Permit-Free days, such as the annual Football Grand Final and art sale held in March at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island. Permit-Free days are advertised in advance.