There are three marked coastal walking trails providing relatively short and pleasant walks; from Daliwuy to Garanhan, Garanhan to Ngumuy and Ngumuy to Baringura.
Dhimurru constructed these walking trails on Yolngu land where you will see land and sea belonging to several clans.
Elders have provided interpretative material to assist visitors in understanding the richness and beauty of the Yolngu environment. They want visitors to their country to enjoy it through understanding it. Many ancient walking trails traverse the area, both inland and along the beaches, and while this Walking Trail is not an ancient one it has been planned so that a variety of resources and their uses can be appreciated.
A short interpretive walk is also available around Gayngaru, or the Town Lagoon. This area is managed by the Nhulunbuy Corporation and the walk is complete with viewing platforms and a bird hide. There are also interpretive signs near plants of significance showing bush food and medicine used by the Yolngu people.
Daliwuy - Garanhan (3.2km)
The trail begins at a ‘corner’ of Binydjarrnga named Djadaymunbuy and ascends from the fine white sand beach into a hilly area with scattered rocks called dhumurr. This is eucalypt open woodland with Gadayka (Eucalyptus tetrodonta, stringybark) and Gungurru (Eucalyptus miniata, woolybutt) dominant.
Among the understorey plants are Dhalpi (Livistonia enermis, five fingered sand palm) and many other trees, bushes, and vines that Yolngu use for food, medicine and the manufacture of domestic containers and ritual objects.
The trail crosses a private road to a residence located in the area named Galkila. To the right of the trail is an area named Bandalal, a retja (monsoon vine thicket or jungle).
The track meets the road leading to Garanhan and passes a fenced area containing the ‘Macassan stone pictures’. The trail leads to the beach area at Garanhan where there are shade trees, Mawurraki (Casuarina equisetifolia, casaurina).
Garanhan - Ngumuy (2.5km)
The trail leads from the beach in a northerly direction inland, initially up a rather steep dune. On both sides of the trail numerous patches of large trees including Larrani (Syzygium suborbiculare, red bush apple), Ganyawu (Semecarpus australiensis, native cashew), Gunga (Pandanus spiralis, pandanus) and smaller vegetation.
The trail follows the edge of a paperbark swamp, which is a lagoon during the wet season when food plants such as Wakwak (Nymphaea macrosperma, water lillies) and Rakay (Eleocharis dulcis, water chestnuts) are collected.
North of the paperbark swamp and inland from the coastal dune may be seen areas of monsoonal rainforest that are rich sources of Ganguri (Dioscorea transversa), a favourite yam. Past this area is a band of low forest on undulating land that merges into mid-high to tall open woodland.
The trail leaves the forest and follows the edge of the bauxite headland with views south-east to Daliwuy, and north to Baringura. Following the coast the trail then descends the rock face through a patch of rainforest to the camping area near the beach.
Ngumuy - Baringura (1.5km)
The trail ascends from the beach through an area of dense monsoon vine thicket where many trees and plants not seen elsewhere occur.
Bird life is also abundant here, and a number of small animals may be seen at dawn or dusk. The trail then leads into a sparsely treed open forest and onto an extensive laterite shelf with open views eastward to the Gulf of Carpenteria.
Isolated sandstone boulders are scattered across the shelf where grey termite mounds may also be seen. The vegetation pattern characteristic of such exposed sites along this stretch of coast is attributed to the strong south-east trade winds that blow across the Gulf during the dry season.
Lateritic outcrops and sandy or shelly beach ridges support intermittent small patches of coastal vine forest. The vegetation along the narrow foreshore is subject to salt-laden abrasive winds and strong wave action, which creates mobile sand dunes and thus a fragile plant environment.
The trail leads through a stand of Mawurraki (Casuarina equisetifolia, casaurina), and then descends to a relatively sheltered white sand beach at Baringura, with rolling sand dunes bordered by a rocky ridge covered with coastal vine thicket. At the base of the ridge are large scattered rocks that form numerous rockpools, some with abundant oyster colonies.
Gayngaru Wetlands - Town Lagoon
Gayngaru (Town Lagoon) is walking distance from the town centre. This tranquil wetland has abundant wildlife and tall stands of paperbarks.
Gayngaru was once a popular and fertile hunting area for Yolngu and today the cultural significance of the area remains.
The lagoon provided an important source of freshwater and food. The men hunted the gurrumatji (magpie geese) and their eggs as well as minhala (long-necked freshwater tortoise). The women collected water lilies and räkay (water chestnuts).
The Gayngaru Wetlands Interpretive Walk surrounds the Lagoon. Along the path are two separate viewing platforms and a bird hide, which enable visitors to enjoy the birdlife. There are also interpretive signs near plants of significance showing bush food and bush medicine used by Yolngu people. There is a Winter and a Tropical Summer season walk with the tropical Summer walk being shorter due to higher water levels.
The aim is for people to obtain a better understanding of the local plant and animals species of Gayngaru and their importance to Yolngu.
Please respect the area by not damaging the plants or signs or littering. It is important to remember not to eat any plants or berries unless in the company of a Yolngu guide and to remain away from the water's edge.
Warning: This website may contain references to Yolngu people who have passed away. Every effort has been made to ensure that images portraying recently deceased Yolngu people have been removed.