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Celebrating Indigenous Culture at Tiwi Island Retreat

The Tiwi Islands are renowned for its rich Indigenous culture and history. For thousands of years, the Tiwi people have cherished and preserved their cultural practices and ways of life resulting in distinct art, language and ceremonies unique to the Tiwi Islands.

At Tiwi Island Retreat, we respect and acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Tiwi Islands and align our everyday operations with their cultural beliefs and practices. We make sure that what we do helps keep Indigenous traditions preserved while honouring their heritage. We offer several cultural tours to guests to celebrate and learn about the unique traditional culture the Tiwi Islands holds.

Tiwi By Design – Tourism NT

The Tiwi By Design tour offers a journey into the heart of Tiwi art and heritage. This arts centre displays the rich artistic heritage of the Tiwi people and their legacy in the contemporary Indigenous art movement. Founded in 1968-69 as a humble screen-printing group, Tiwi By Design is one of the oldest and most diverse Indigenous art centres in Australia.

Guided by local elders and artisans, visitors witness the resilience and creativity of the Tiwi people and at the same time, become active participants in the preservation of Indigenous culture. Through activities like traditional ceremonies, screen printing workshops, and storytelling sessions, the tour nurtures a deep connection to Tiwi traditions. After a screen printing session with Tiwi artists, you have the option to purchase some local artwork to give back to help support the community and take your own piece of Tiwi home with you.

An Aboriginal artist painting at Tiwi Design – Tourism NT

Art is a vital part of Indigenous culture as it explores aspects of tradition, storytelling, and spiritual connection. At Tiwi Island Retreat, we also offer the Jilamara Fine Art Experience exclusive to our guests. Travel by helicopter to Milikapiti on Melville Island, where you’ll later meet a knowledgeable local artist. You’ll enjoy an exclusive tour of the Jilamara Art Centre and Muluwurri Museum, gaining insights into Indigenous art and culture firsthand. As you soak in the beauty of Melville Island from the air and land, you’ll have the chance to purchase authentic Indigenous artworks from one of Australia’s most well-regarded galleries.

The Tiwi Islands Art Sale – Tourism NT

The Tiwi Island Retreat Traditional Owner tour is also a favourite among guests who are looking for a hands on experience. One of the Tiwi Traditional Owners will join you on a buggy trip and head into the mangroves surrounding the Retreat. The Traditional Owner shows the guests how to hunt bush tucker and different food on the land and throughout the mangroves. Guests learn firsthand the knowledge of the local Indigenous people about their land and the unique skills they possess. Mud mussels are generally found throughout the mangroves and are a very common form of bush tucker. After the day is done and the tucker is found, the Traditional Owner joins the group back at the Retreat to share stories around the bonfire, and shows guests how they traditionally prepare food on the Tiwi Islands.

Through these experiences, Tiwi Island Retreat prides itself on sharing and exploring Indigenous culture with our guests. Our commitment to preserving and celebrating Indigenous heritage in remote areas is at the core of everything we do, and we understand the importance of respecting the land and traditions. We offer these Indigenous tours to guests as a way to appreciate the richness of culture the Tiwi people possess and the artistic talents they share.

Tourism NT