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Port Essington  Northern Territory

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On the north-west tip of Arnhem Land is the Cobourg Peninsular, and to its north is Port Essington. It is a tropically beautiful and secluded natural harbour that has wonderful opportunities for fishing, wildlife watching and relaxation. However, getting to this area is a major undertaking by boat or 4WD and access is by limited permit only.

The Cobourg Peninsular is a remote wilderness area of the Northern Territory with two national parks: Cobourg Marine Park and Garig Gunak Barlu National Park.

The parks conserve a variety of habitats from sand dunes, swamps, lagoons, coral reefs and grasslands to mangroves and rainforest.

Dugong, sea turtles, crocodiles and dolphins are just some of the marine life found in the area. These animals are protected and can only be hunted by Aboriginal people using traditional hunting methods.

The remains of an old British settlement can be found at Victoria, abandonded in 1849 because of the harsh conditions. There you can find evidence of early Aboriginal occupation and the influence of Macassan trepangers in the area.

A permit is needed for road travel in Arnhem Land and can take up to two weeks to finalise. It can be organised at the Northern Land Council offices in Darwin or Jabiru. Many visitors prefer to see Arnhem Land through an organised tour operation.

Attractions

  • Gurig National Park - fishing for a large variety of catch including queenfish, trevally, barramundi and mangrove jack as well as shellfish, squid and mud crabs
  • Tours - Port Essington and Victoria Settlement, wetland huts for birdwatching

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