It might not be the first thing you think of when the Northern Territory comes to mind, but did you know the NT has its very own island paradise?
Sitting on a remote beach on Bathurst Islands, part of the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin, Tiwi Island Retreat have created the ultimate spot to getaway, relax and unwind in this beautiful untouched paradise. It’s one of Matt Wright’s creations, bringing together a whole bunch of amazing experiences, coupled with a beautifully located resort for a very unique weekend away.
From the first time we came across the Tiwi Island Retreat on Instagram it has been high on our Top End bucket list. We thought for a minute that it wasn’t going to happen due to Covid, but luckily the resort re-opened a couple of weeks before our visit, and we were so excited to get to experience this little slice of paradise.
Getting to Tiwi Island Retreat
The only thing that’s a little bit difficult about the Tiwi Island Retreat is it’s location. You will need to make your own way there, either with your own boat or by chartering a small plane to get to the retreat. Since we don’t have a boat, we looked into booking a charter flight to take us over to the island.
There are quite a few different airlines that fly to remote locations around the Northern Territory, including the Tiwi Islands. We actually got three different quotes for our flights that were all the same, $550 each way from Darwin Airport to Port Hurd, which is the closest air strip to Tiwi Island Retreat.
When we enquired with Air Frontier they told us that there were actually a lot of flights going to Port Hurd that day, so I asked if any of the other passengers might be open to sharing their flight with us. So glad I asked this, Alex from their office helped us organise to share both of our flights to and from Tiwi Island Retreat with other passengers, so it actually only cost us $275 each way. It’s always worth asking, we managed to get a 50% discount on our flights just by sharing!
Arriving at Tiwi Island Retreat
Our flight to the Tiwi Islands was on a very small plane, so it kind of felt like it was a scenic flight the whole way. We had a great aerial view of Darwin as we were leaving, plus amazing views over Bathurst Island and the Tiwis as we were coming in to land. From the air you can see all the different rivers winding across the island, it’s just beautiful.
We landed at the most remote airstrip we have ever landed at. There was absolutely nothing there, just one other plane parked in the corner of a dusty red field. We were greeted by Rowan from the island, who led us down a rickety bridge, and onto a small parked tinny that took us to the island retreat.
As we arrived we were immediately greeted by Claudia, the resident crocodile, who swims up and down in the water along the beach. She’s the perfect reminder that no matter how much you want to, you cannot swim in the ocean up here, they’re all infested with crocodiles. We were greeted at the shore by Jessy, who loaded us into her buggy and drove us the whole 10 metres up to the retreat.
This place really is paradise. The kind of place where you absolutely don’t need shoes (we were barefoot the whole time we were on the island), and everything is open air. Our room opened right up to the pool with a beautiful view of the palm trees and the ocean, it was breathtaking.
Rowan and Siggy are the main camp hosts at Tiwi Island Retreat, and they look after all the guests at the property. It’s actually amazing that they do everything themselves most of the time, from picking people up from the airstrip to cooking everyone’s meals. Siggy was a phenomenal cook, every single meal she made was absolutely delicious. We couldn’t believe she cooked for everyone at the retreat all on her own, she does such a wonderful job!
Everything we tried was amazing, but some of our favourite meals were the fish tacos, vegetarian nachos and the grilled fish in garlic sauce, omg incredible.
Activities on Tiwi Island Retreat
Surprisingly, there is so much to do here that you can keep busy for the whole day if you want to. Or not, you could always just kick back and relax, enjoy a cocktail by the pool.
There are lots of great fishing opportunities around the island, you can fish right off the beach and see if you can catch yourself a barramundi. You’re able to bring your fishing gear to the resort if you want, but otherwise they also have some fishing rods and lures you can borrow to see how you go. There’s plenty of space to take a walk and explore a little more of the island. Or, just grab a seat in the shade and watch Claudia patrolling the shore.
Tiwi Island Retreat also offers a number of different experiences that you can book to make the most of your stay:
Fishing charter: the weekend we visited was the first day of Tiwi Island Retreat’s shiny new big cat making it’s appearance on the island. The ultimate way to head out on a fishing charter from Tiwi Island, the deep sea fishing charter will take you out for a whole afternoon, so you can try your luck at catching a huge barra.
Beach buggy cruise & cheese platter: take a ride along the beautiful 4 Mile Beach, to a secret creek where you will have the spot all to yourself. There was even a proposal at this spot during our visit, which was very exciting!
Mud crabbing & creek fishing: one of the highlights of any visit to Tiwi Island Retreat, head out to check the crab pots, try your luck fishing in the creeks around the resort, and if you catch anything during your trip, Siggy can cook it up for you to eat for dinner. What could be better?!
Important note: the experiences on the island can vary depending on when you visit. If you are really hoping to try any of the experiences above check that they are available when you make your booking, to avoid disappointment.
Rooms on Tiwi Island Retreat
There are only 18 rooms at Tiwi Island Retreat, ensuring for an intimate group and relaxing time for anyone who visits. The rooms are small and simple, but you don’t need anything else while you’re here. Apart from sleeping, you will literally spend no time in your room, outside is just way too beautiful. The rooms have a lovely clean white coastal style, like the perfect little beach house bedroom. They’re also air-conditioned, so no need to worry about the hot temperatures when you’re sleeping.
Our room opened right up to the pool which was absolutely beautiful, there is literally nothing better than opening your door to those views everyday.
It’s a shared bathroom situation at Tiwi Island Retreat, with separate male and female bathrooms. Apparently, Tiwi Island Retreat used to be more of a fishing retreat than the boutique accommodation that it is today, but the bathrooms have been renovated now and despite being shared, we actually hardly ever had to wait to use them.
Tiwi Island Retreat is just the perfect place to slow down, and do little more than swim in the pool and check where Claudia is as the day passes. It’s such a relaxing environment, as well as being so crazily beautiful, it’s definitely worth checking out when you’re researching your visit to the Top End. We really took advantage of the time to disconnect (there is no phone reception or wifi on the island), unwind and soak in every moment. Make sure you check out every sunrise and sunset during your visit. They are absolutely beautiful, so full of colour, and some of the best in the Top End.
We visited Tiwi Island Retreat as guests of Matt Wright Explore The Wild. All opinions are, as always, our own.