East Arnhem Land is a remote area, but air access to Nhulunbuy (also known and Gove) is regular via Darwin and Cairns Airports. It is possible to drive from Darwin, but this is a serious undertaking. There is also now a seaborne option to travel from Darwin to Arnhem Land.
Nhulunbuy (also known as Gove) is serviced by daily Air North flights from both Darwin and Cairns (schedules subject to change). Air North is a code share partner with Qantas and flights can be booked through the Qantas site earning frequent flyer points. In most cases it works better to fly in from Cairns due to more convenient flight connections. If travelling from Perth, Adelaide or Darwin, then the Darwin flight is best.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If travelling via Cairns, please ensure that your flight to Cairns arrives with sufficient time to make the Air North flight to Gove. Missed connections due to flight delays out of Sydney and Melbourne are common and may result in a day’s layover in Cairns, and missing the first day of the tour. Flying via Darwin to Gove is generally a better idea although it may mean stopping overnight in Darwin.
Nhulunbuy is approximately 1,000 kilometres from Darwin by road via the Central Arnhem Road which connects with the Stuart Highway 50 kilometres south of the town of Katherine. The journey includes 600 kilometres of gravel road and very few refuelling options. A high clearance four wheel drive vehicle and additional fuel is recommended. Transit permits for this road are also required for the Central Arnhem Road from the Northern Land Council.
It is now possible to travel between Darwin and Nhulunbuy aboard a working cargo ship. Sea Swift operates cargo ships that supply many of the coastal communities of the Northern Territory and the ship that services Nhulunbuy can take passengers. The journey takes several days and stops in at communities along the way. Guests have cabins and are provided with meals onboard. (Information current at the time of publishing). You will need to contact Sea Swift to confirm availability.