Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Daly River NT

Daly River

Postcode: 0852

Daly River is a river and a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. At the 2001 census, Daly River had a population of 623.

The traditional owners of the area are the Malak Malak people who live both in Nauiyu and at Wooliana downstream from the community.

Daly River town was the scene of some particularly bloody exchanges between the local Aborigines and the miners. In 1884 three miners were killed. The miners in the town wreaked vengeance on the local Aborigines out of proportion to the perceived crime. A year later, probably aware of the tensions in the area, the Roman Catholics established a mission in the town.

Today the town is little more than a pub with a few motel units, a police station, and a free caravan park. It is located on the banks of the river a couple of kilometres from the Daly River Crossing, now by sealed road from the main tourist route, the Stuart Highway. The settlement is a centre for visitors to explore the Daly River Nature Park and fishermen after barramundi. The park is home to saltwater crocodiles, reptiles, spiders, cockatoos, wild pigs, buffalos, mangroves, giant bamboos, pandanus and Kapok trees.

The Daly River is famed for its large barramundi and is one of the more popular waterways for recreational fishing. It hosts two major fishing competitions annually, the “Barra Classic” and the “Barra Nationals”.

The best barramundi fishing is generally just after the wet season when the flooded river is falling fast and clear water is pouring in off the floodplains. The floodwater carries baitfish which in turn attracts predatory barramundi. The state of the river is keenly discussed by fishermen each season.

On the road 5 km east of Daly River is a turnoff to Woolianna, a camping and caravan park on the banks of the river, one of several such parks. Just before entering the town there is a turnoff to the Nauiyu Aboriginal Community, home to the Roman Catholic Mission and Merrepen Arts Centre where Aboriginal artifacts are sold.