"Maningrida" Maningrida by 1+1

Maningrida Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 12 photos

Maningrida isn't your usual sort of town or tourist destination. It's situated in north central Arnhem Land on the shores of the Arafura Sea. Being in Arnhem Land, a permit's required prior to getting access. It's Aboriginal land and permits must be obtained through the Northern Land Council (Darwin office 08 8920 5100).

There are no facilities for tourists and it's not really feasible to stay unless you have friends there who are able to accommodate you.

Three ways of accessing Maningrida are :

By air : there are regular flights daily (weather permitting, which is okay 99% of the time) from Darwin. Charter flights are also an option.

By road : Maningrida is some 600 kms east of Darwin. Half of that distance is unsealed and only accessible during the dry season. For the unsealed section it's preferable to have a 4WD vehicle, otherwise a 2WD with very high clearance. There are about 6 major bed-level river crossings after leaving the bitumen at the East Alligator River. In between there are also numerous smaller creek crossings, which are dry later in the dry season but remain quite rough. Chances of puncturing a sump and losing all your sump oil are quite high in an inappropriate vehicle. Most of the rivers are also inhabited by Salt-water Crocodiles (regardless of whether the water in them is salt or fresh) and a lot of care is needed.

By boat : there are no ferry or regular commercial boats which take passengers to Maningrida. If you have your own, or access to that of a friend, then this is a possibility.

The population is in the order of about 1,000, mainly Aborigines. There are two stores, mechanical workshop and fuel supply, medical clinic, police station, take-away food outlet, airfield, and that's about it. There's no banking facilities but the local council office runs a limited post office service.

The name Maningrida is an anglicised version of Manayingkarirra which in the Ndjebbana language means "place where the dreaming changed shape". Maningrida has its origins as a government outpost set up in the late 1950's. There was a great concern that local Aborigines were moving in large numbers to Darwin and other settlements and becoming fringe dwellers. The plan was to provide resources and facilities which would encourage people to remain on, or near to, their tribal lands. In other parts of Arnhem Land this had been done by missionaries.

If anyone needs more information, or has any comments, just email me.

Maningrida Arts and Culture (89 795946) has paintings, artefacts and crafts for sale.

The photo above is of a Hooded Parrot. It's rare and endemic to the Top End of the Northern Territory. Nests are in holes in large termite mounds.

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Okay, now this is how it's done.

Kunbarllanjnja Open Day face painting is popular with the kids.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:An environment quite unlike that of any other part of mainstream Australia
  • Cons:Difficult access and no facilities.
  • In a nutshell:Another world!
  • Intro Updated Jan 25, 2008
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Reviews (4)

Comments (8)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    Interesting tips on life in the outback!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2008 at 10:24 PM

    Interesting stuff, you have a good knowledge. Should have digested more of your pages before I did my trip!

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2008 at 5:57 AM

    Did that crocodile enjoy having its teeth cleaned? LOL!! Gillybob greetings

  • pattypoo's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2007 at 7:28 AM

    Your pages have thrilled me thanks agin Zig and the kids look lovely.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2005 at 5:59 PM

    wonderful page again :-)

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2005 at 9:20 PM

    You are very lucky to have visited there Zig. Fancy getting lunch from the local school tuckshop lol !! Cheers, Ann :o)

  • MattTB's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2004 at 5:56 AM

    You found a great place here! Thank god there are still some areas out of the mobile phone network! Even when I was on safari in Africa I heard mobiles!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Dec 26, 2003 at 4:37 AM

    What a fascinating page. Thank you so much.

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