I’m going to start by saying I am in no way shape and or form an avid fisherwoman. Its never been a great aspiration of mine to angle a blue marlin or to snag a striped bass. What is more, I am zealously terrified of anything bigger than 10cm that lives in the water. So when I got the news that I would, in fact, be heading to the Tiwi Islands and staying at one of Australia’s foremost fishing lodges, I was semi anxious and moderately aghast. Silly, foolish me. Little was I to know that in a few days’ time I would be giving Rex Hunt a run for his infamous money.

A quick boat ride from Darwin lies the peculiarly pink shores of Bathurst and Melville Island. Populated by the hilariously cheeky Indigenous Tiwis, stepping onto the Islands is like stepping back in time. Sweeping rusty dirt roads meander through the eucalypt forest and are interspersed only by small communities and freshwater springs. Every square inch of the island screams heritage, culture (and occasionally crocodile).

Located on Melville Island, sits the charismatic Clearwater Island Lodge. After a 15-minute charter flight we were met at the front door by Michael, who was accompanied by the world’s biggest smile and fridge full of ice cold beer. Needless to say, he had us at hello. The next morning our local Tiwi guide Clinton loaded us into the boat and began what was to be the best tour of my small but substantial life. With the wind whipping through my hair and the pastel pink shades of dawn on the horizon, we arrived at Rainbow beach. Now as far as names go, this one could not be more accurate if it tried. Turquoise blue water lapped at a peaches and cream shoreline, all overshadowed by burnt orange cliffs spotted with pastel green foliage. Think rainbow paddle pop meets coastline and you’ve pretty much got the picture. From here we played spectator as our guides showed us how to find turtle eggs, pointed out salt water croc’s in the water (I thought it was a log) and how to spear mud-crab (I squealed like a 7 year old girl). At this point in time I was genuinely concerned for my ability to survive in the wild if the need arose.

And then came my shining moment. While cruising the mangroves on the lookout for mud crabs for lunch, Clinton handed us fishing rods to try our luck at snagging one of the sought-after thread fin salmon swimming below. Low and behold mere seconds after my lure hit the water, a 70cm salmon practically threw itself at my line. Fast-forward an hour –and our trusty guide Clinton has cooked us mud crab and salmon on the coals of a beach fire, and I am modestly basking in my newfound status as professional angler and all round survival expert. In a nutshell – the fishing here is so good; it makes even the lowliest amateur feel like a master.

The Tiwi Islands feel like a place only your imagination can dream up. It’s a place where the culture is cherished, the people are warm and the fishing is phenomenal. It’s perfectly displays what makes Australia so incredibly unique.

_ _

Visit the Tiwi Islands

The Sealink ferry to Tiwi islands from Cullen Bay, Darwin. // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Photo @caitmiersphotography

Melville Island town // Photo @saltywings

Jacob and Emily getting to know the Tiwi indigenous art and culture // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Jacob getting prepared for the ceremony // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Local Tiwi lad prepares himself for ceremony with traditional face paint // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Local ladies creating magic // Photo @caitmiersphotography

 

The Tiwis are famous for fishing, being known as the smiling islands and for AFL footy players becoming super stars. AFL football is almost a religion in the Tiwi's. Expect to see this guy in the big league real soon // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Emily and Jacob strolling through Melville island // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Emily Hutchinson in the Tiwi Islands // @thrillsco // Photo @caitmiersphotography

The puddle jumper from Bathurst to Melville islands // Photo @caitmiersphotography

More fascinating Islands of OZ - Tiwi Islands - the smiling islands // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Jacob and Emily boating in search of lunch while enjoying the cruise through the mangroves // Photo @caitmiersphotography

What a unique and special place - Tiwi Islands // Photo @saltywings

Rainbow "Paddle Pop" Beach // Photo @saltywings

Emily @emelinaah doing a little croc watching // @roxy // photo @caitmiersphotography

Emily catching her cheeky salmon // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Fresh fish caught and cooked on the beach - Tiwi style - YUMMY // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Rainbow Beach // Photo @saltywings

Emily and Jacob feeling groovy in their Tiwi Aboriginal cultural experience // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Clearwater Island Lodge sunset beers // Photo @caitmiersphotography

Tiwi Island sunset // Photo @caitmiersphotography

**Visitors need to apply for a permit to enter Tiwi before travel. We recommend booking a Tiwi Islands adventure through AAT Kings or Clearwater Island Lodge which will include an approved permit in the tour.
If you are not travelling to Tiwi Islands through an approved tour, apply for a visitors permit through the Tiwi Land Council before your trip. For more information visit: http://www. tiwilandcouncil.com/permits/index.htm

_ _
Credits

Emily Hutchinson // @emelinaah & Jacob Boylan @jacobmandude
Style // Thrills Co @thrillsco, Fallen Broken Street @fallenbrokenstreet, ROXY @roxy
Location // Tiwi Islands Northern Territory @ausoutbacknt
Photography // @caitmiersphotography
Aerial drone photography and film // Jampal Williamson @saltywings
Film // @edtriglone @saltywings @summersite
EDIT // Ed Triglone @lagooncollective
Music: Next Time – Ben Evolent @Ben_evolentmusic