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What you need to know about alcohol

If you are travelling to the Gove Peninsula, there are some important local alcohol rules that apply to everyone. The East Arnhem region is a ‘dry area’, including the town of Nhulunbuy and the surrounding communities of Gunyangara (Ski Beach) and Yirrkala. Drinking in public places is prohibited, with the exception of some popular recreational areas that are sign posted. The region has a liquor permit system. You can drink in a licensed premise, for example a hotel, club or restaurant, but you need to obtain a liquor permit to buy takeaway alcohol and drink in a private home.
Liquor permits are available:

From: Department of Justice
Where: Shop 6 Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy
When: Monday to Friday from 08.00am to 4.30pm
Conditions: You need to bring proof of residency or accommodation details and Photo ID.
Contact details: Phone: (+618) 8987 0505


Remember that during the wet season (November to April) some roads and tracks may become impassable, contact the Department of Planning and Infastructure for Road Report or with Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation for information on road access to recreation areas.


The Central Arnhem Road is not recommended for caravans, only sturdy off-road camper trailers. The Northern Land Council will not approve a permit to tow a caravan into East Arnhem Land and Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation will not issue a Visitor Recreation Permit to anyone with a caravan.

Fuel and food:

Nhulunbuy has one petrol station and two supermarkets. Travelling on the Central Arnhem Road requires carrying fuel and basic food supplies. Fuel and refreshments are available at the Mainoru Outback Store, about 256km from the Stuart Highway. Carrying an emergency supply of fuel and food is a good idea wherever you are going. It is essential to carry plenty of water, at least 20 litres.


Distances in the Northern Territory can be long and fatigue is one of the most frequent causes of serious motor vehicle accidents. Make sure you take a break regularly.

Speed Limits:

The Northern Territory has no speed limit on the open road. However, the Central Arnhem Road is not recommended for speeds over 80 km per hour.Most roads in the East Arnhem region are of formed gravel and road conditions vary greatly throughout the year. Caution should be exercised.


Seatbelts save lives. For this reason by law in the Northern Territory everyone in a vehicle fitted with seatbelts must wear it. The driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers are wearing a belt and fines are imposed for those found not wearing a seatbelt.

Road trains:

The Northern Territory is renowned for its road trains, some of which can be three trailers (50m) long. They need plenty of room and if you contemplate overtaking them ensure that you have at least 1km of clear, straight road ahead.

Flooded roadways:

Unless you are sure of the water depth, flow rate and any road damage do not attempt to cross flooded bridges or causeways. Most importantly, do not ignore signs.


There is a lot of wildlife to be enjoyed, but please take care when driving particularly at dawn or dusk when the wildlife is most active. Stock and wildlife often feed on road edges or wander across the road. Be particularly wary of road wandering buffaloes during these times.


Dust on outback roads can pose a danger, obscuring vision of the road ahead. It is best to wait for the dust to settle.

Lost or broken down:

A missing vehicle is easier to locate than missing people, so NEVER LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE regardless of the circumstances. Economise on water if you are away from a main road. If you intend to leave a main road let somebody trustworthy know of your plans, your intended route and your expected time of arrival. Importantly, let them know you have arrived safely.

Four wheel driving:

Driving on unsealed roads and tracks requires additional care and preparation. Driving a four-wheel drive does not mean you will not get bogged or that you can 'go anywhere'. It does mean that you will be able to access more remote areas though and if you are new to four-wheel driving extra concentration will be required. Braking distances on unsealed roads are longer and four-wheel drive vehicles are more unstable than a conventional care, particularly at high speeds.

Entering Aboriginal land:

Arnhem Land is a vast tract of nearly 100,000 sq km of Aboriginal owned land is one of Australia's last strongholds of traditional Aboriginal culture. The Yolngu (as the Aboriginal people of the region call themselves) have inalienable freehold title over this land, currently with the exception of the mining lease that the town of Nhulunbuy is located on. The Aboriginal Land Trust holds this title. Permission to enter Arnhem Land MUST be obtained from the Northern Land Council

Entering pastoral property:

Pastoral properties (like Aboriginal land) are private property. If you are going off-road make sure that the road is a public access road or obtain permission to pass through from the relevant landowner. When passing through leave everything as you found it i.e. closed gates should be closed again and open gates left open.

Be Prepared

Bring plenty of Water:

In the tropics you need to drink at least 2 litres of water a day and more if you are outdoors or exercising.

Dress for the tropics:

The East Arnhem region is situated in the tropics; therefore please ensure to wear a hat and light-coloured clothing that covers arms and shoulders. It is recommended that everyone, especially small children, have at least a factor 15+ sunscreen applied before venturing outdoors.

Insect repellant:

Mosquitoes are active around sunset. Insect repellent (with a DEET base) is advisable.

Travelling with pets:

Dogs and cats are best left in a care facility in Katherine when planning to enter Arnhem Land. Pets are not permitted in any NT National Parks.


The waters of the East Arnhem region look particularly enticing for a cool dip, but are home to many saltwater (estuarine) crocodiles. Accommodation establishments have swimming pools available for guest use. Nhulunbuy also has an Olympic sized public swimming pool.


The Northern Territory operates at Universal Time Co-ordinated plus 9.5 hours. We do not have daylight saving at any time during the year as other Australian states do.

Translation services

For assistance with English you can phone the Translating and Interpreter service on 131 450. This is a 24 hour service.

Consumption of Alcohol:

There are regulations regarding the consumption of Alcohol on Aborigional Land. Contact the Police on 8987 1333 or contact the Dhimurru Land Corporation to ensure you are permited to bring alcohol in the region you are visiting.

On the water?


Boating regulations should be strictly adhered to when on the water. Be cautious when traveling at high speed, as there may be hidden marine debris. If possible, avoid standing in the water when launching and recovering your boat.


Do not clean fish, or dispose of carcasses in or near the water as this may encourage the presence of saltwater crocodiles. Never wash 'baity' hands over the side of the boat!


If entering Nhulunbuy via Gove Harbour in a yacht or boat be sure to contact the Australian Customs Service for quarantine information on 08 8987 1744.

Things to know


The tropical dry season (May-October) is our 'winter' and temperatures hover around 28 degrees Celsius with superb tropical nights warm enough to dine out under the stars.

Rainfall is usually during the tropical summer season (November-April) and daytime temperatures are around 30-33 degrees Celsius with sea breezes. We enjoy temperatures up to 5 degrees cooler than Darwin or Cairns.

Australian currency

comes in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins and $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Most restaurants, hotels and shops will accept traveller's cheques and the electronic credit card/debit card facility is widely available.


Nhulunbuy has one bank, Westpac Bank and one Northern Territory Credit Society. Both institutions have automatic teller machines.

Postal services

The Nhulunbuy Post Office is located in Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy.


Electricity in Australia is 240v AC. Most major accommodation houses have alternative power points for personal appliances. Otherwise you will need to purchase a transformer plug, which is available at one of the electrical retail stores in either Katherine or Darwin.


The Australian dialing code is 61 and for the Northern Territory the area code is 08 (if dialing from outside of Australia this is just 8). Public telephones for local, national and international phone calls are available in many public areas. They require Australian coins or phone cards. Pre paid phone cards are available at post offices and newsagencies. Major accommodation houses will have telephones in rooms with STD and IDD access.

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