The dilly bag is a powerful and important cultural symbol in Arnhem Land, where it was first created thousands of years ago. Woven with dyed pandanus leaves, the dilly bag has both a practical and spiritual meaning.


The practicality comes from it holding foods and medicines gathered from the bush. However, it is the spiritual meaning of the dilly bag, which has given rise to the name of this tour, as it is also used to carry knowledge.


The women of Arnhem Land wish to open their hearts to visitors and share the knowledge that they have acquired over many thousand years. Their knowledge of the bush, the ancestors, the sky and the universe.


This tour is for women and girls only. In the modern western world this could be seen as sexism, but in the Yolŋu world, there are clearly defined roles and activities undertaken exclusively by women and men. These roles have mutual respect, and many activities, such as dancing and eating are undertaken together.


The Yolŋu often say the land is their mother. It nurtures, heals and guides their lives. This is why the female visitor experience and connection to Yolŋu people is often so profound. The Gay’wu women’s tour provides female visitors with the opportunity to come together with their Yolŋu sisterhood and learn about their culture, history and country. Equally, it is an opportunity to reconnect with every aspect of their own lives – environment, spirituality, and philosophy.


You will experience many extraordinary things on this tour, and time spent with the Yolŋu women is often described as “life-changing”. You will learn about and experience Yolŋu philosophy and kinship, weaving, painting, astrology, a healing ceremony, crying ceremony  (Nathi), cooking and bush medicine, dancing, gathering oysters or mud crabs and much more. Specific activities will vary according to the season and availability of materials.


During your tour, you will visit the remarkable art centre in Yirrkala – Buku-Larrnggay here you will see beautiful local works of art painted on bark, Larrakitj (ceremonial poles), woven baskets, jewellery and much more. Buku also has an extraordinary collection of historical material and is regarded as one of the best Aboriginal Art centres in Australia.


Tour Details


This is a remote travel experience with set departure dates. This 5 day – 4-night experience departing Nhulunbuy. For a detailed itinerary, please contact


2018 Departure Dates

  • 23rd to 27th April
  • 22nd to 26th May
  • 27th June to 1st July
  • 6th to 10th August
  • 28th September to 2nd October


If you are interested in this itinerary but are unable to travel on these dates, please contact us to discuss a private tour.


Clean Travel believes that our innovative approach to tourism has the power to revitalise communities and provide financial security for its inhabitants. Find out more about Clean Travel here.

5 days
  • Destination

  • Departure

    Yirrkala, NT

Group Size

Minimum group size is 8 and a maximum group size of 10. Smaller or larger groups can be catered for on request however prices may differ. Should the minimum group size not be reached, we will contact you with an offer of a change of date or tour, or to refund your tour fees.




Three nights will be spent at a Yolŋu Homeland with simple indoor or outdoor accommodation. On the fourth night, you will be accommodated in a motel in Nhulunbuy.


Tour Price

The tour price is based on a twin share, subject to a minimum of 8 participants. The cost includes:
  • all transport in the East Arnhem Region including airport transfers and ground touring
  • all meals whilst on tour
  • cultural experiences on Yolŋu homelands
  • all camping equipment and bedding supplied
  • Yolŋu driver and guide


You will be responsible for:
  • airfares from your home port to Nhulunbuy
  • transit accommodation where necessary in either Darwin or Nhulunbuy depending on which air route is taken.


For more information, please contact us for details and availability.

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Lirrwi Tourism

Lirrwi Tourism was established in 2010 to develop, support and promote Yolŋu tourism in Arnhem Land.


Djawa (Timmy) Burarrwanga from Bawaka homeland was a driving force for this and Lirrwi owes its existence largely to his determination and vision. Lirrwi's main objective is to create a new economy for Yolŋu people in Arnhem Land through tourism. It does this by bringing people together to share Yolŋu culture, connecting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


Working from East Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory, we aim to combine the range of work traditionally carried out by economic development organisations, tourism operators and travel agents to:
  • build understanding between Yolŋu and non-Yolŋu people
  • assist Yolŋu people to enter the tourism industry
  • support Yolŋu tourism businesses
  • take ownership of tourism development in our region


Our work recognises the strong links between economic development and the benefits of engaging in meaningful employment, which can lead to greater independence and increased skill levels, ultimately improving physical and mental health or well-being.


For this reason, we strongly support the creation of flexible job opportunities and businesses that take into consideration cultural commitments as well as profitability in remote homeland areas.

In short, Lirrwi Tourism believes in taking action and creating partnerships with individuals and families so that we can work together to ultimately help improve aspects of people's lives. With an all Yolŋu Board of Directors and dedicated experienced staff, Lirrwi Tourism is committed to developing East Arnhem Land as a world-leading destination for indigenous cultural and nature-based experiences.


Lirrwi Tourism operates its main office in Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land and works with Yolŋu people who live and work across a range of homeland locations to develop, support and promote Aboriginal tourism experiences in the region.

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