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Cruises to Melville Island

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About Melville Island

Melville Island, known in the local Tiwi language as Yermalner, is one of the main Tiwi Islands located to the north of Darwin.

Although undeveloped from a tourism perspective, Melville still has plenty to offer cruise visitors.

Around 90 per cent of the locals are of Aboriginal descent, so there are some great opportunities to learn about their culture through a range of tours. For example, here you can spend a day with local women to learn about their customs, or you can visit an arts and crafts co-operative.

The island is also known for its fishing, but if you're not such a keen angler, you can go croc spotting, crabbing or birdwatching instead.

If your visit coincides with an AFL game then you're in luck. The game was introduced by missionaries in the 1940s and has since become a way of life.

Visitors typically need a permit to visit the Tiwi Islands, but this is usually taken care of by your tour operator.

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Why go to Melville Island?

Pros:

Discover the customs and language of the island's indigenous Australians

Cons:

The narrow entry channel, weather and tides can impact accessibility

Bottom Line:

Authentic, non-commercial setting for learning about Aboriginal culture

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Melville Island is part of Australia, so the local currency is the Aussie dollar. Most stores on the island have ATMs for use during their opening hours.

Language?

The Tiwi people who inhabit Melville Island speak Tiwi as their first language, with English coming in second.


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