Nhulunbuy, often referred to as Gove, is the largest town in Arnhem Land (lets see how that goes with the closure of Riotinto's bauxite refinery 2014) and is the fourth largest town in the Northern Territory.
Nhulunbuy was established in the 1970s to service the large Bauxite mine and refinery in the area. The town is home to some 3000 people and is spread around the slopes of Mount Nhulun after which it was named. The land on which Nhulunbuy sits is leased by the mining company from the Traditional Aboriginal Owners.
Brief History of Nhulunbuy
The Gove Peninsula was an important military area during World War Two. There were a number of military installations in the region such as a fighter airstrip and seaplane base. Many Yolηu played a significant role in WWII as soldiers and bush guides in the Northern Territory Special Reconnaissance Unit.
Nhulunbuy has a number of food outlets such as; Lattitude 12 Restaurant in the Walkabout Lodge, Macassans Restaurant in the Arnhem Club, Waterfront Kitchen at the Gove Boat Club. There is also the Peninsula Bakery & Cafe, CCCs cafe in the Captain Cook Centre, Gove Chinese takeaway, Gove Pizza, Munch & Crunch Cafe and Kamayan Cafe in Endeavour Square.
Australia Post operates a full service post office in Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy.
Banking: Westpac has a full branch in Endeavour Square.
Health: Gove District Hospital in Nhulunbuy is a well appointed regional hospital. There is also a GP clinic in Nhulunbuy - Tel 08 8987 3044.
Nhulunbuy has a large primary school as well as a high school. There is also a private school, Nhulunbuy Christian School
The Nhulunbuy Corporation maintains a full sized olympic pool adjacent to Endeavour Square. There is also a nine hole golf course, Gove Country Golf Club, a surf lifesaving club, several sporting fields, tennis courts, squash courts and bowling greens.
Gove Motors are an authorised Toyota and Nissan dealer. There are also several other mechanical workshops as well as a BP Service Station in Nhulunbuy.
Liquor permits for take-away alcohol
If you are travelling to the Gove Peninsula, there are some important local alcohol rules that apply to everyone.
The East Arnhem region is a ‘dry area’, including the town of Nhulunbuy and the surrounding communities of Gunyangara (Ski Beach) and Yirrkala. Drinking in public places is prohibited, with the exception of some popular recreational areas that are sign posted.
The region has a liquor permit system. You can drink in a licensed premise, for example a hotel, club or restaurant, but you need to obtain a liquor permit to buy takeaway alcohol and drink in a private home.
Temporary visitors will need to provide an intinerary, invoice or other information confirming the travel arrangements and a Photo ID (such as Drivers Licence) to obtain a Liquor Permit from local Department of Justice, Shop 6 Endeavour Square in town, Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Phone 08 8987 0505
Access to aboriginal land
While visiting, take the time to explore the wilderness and unique culture of East Arnhem Land. Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation manages approximately 20 designated recreation areas in the vicinity of Nhulunbuy on behalf of the traditional Yolngu (Aboriginal) land owners.
To visit any of the designated recreation areas a visitors permit is available from Dhimurru, situated next to the Warehouse or by phoning 08 8987 3992, for all other areas in Arnhem Land please contact the Northern Land Council. (Phone 08 89872602).
To travel the Central Arnhem Road from the Stuart Highway via Bulman to Nhulunbuy requires a permit from the Northern Land Council (NLC) in advance. Permits can take up to two weeks to process. The road is not suitable for caravans or boat trailers, only sturdy off-road camper trailers. The NLC office in Nhulunbuy is contactable on 08 8987 2602 and the Katherine office 08 8972 2894. Severe penalties apply for moving throughout the region without a permit and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of the traditional owners in this regard.
The distance from either Katherine or Mataranka through to Nhulunbuy is approx. 715km. Fuel is available from Katherine, Mataranka, possibly Bulman Community Store and Mainoru Safari Lodge.
Car Hire and Transport Services
• Kansas Pty Ltd 08 8987 2872 Airport shuttle bus, car hire, mini bus hire and guided tours by arrangement.
• Gove Rentals 4x4 & Cars 08 8987 1700 or 0418 197 373
• Manny’s Car Rental Pty Ltd 08 8987 2300
• Gove Bus Service 131 008 or 08 8987 1144
• Thrift Car Rental 8924 2466
• Green Taxi & Bus Service 8987 3333 or 0448 248 682