Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Oenpelli NT


Postcode: 0822

Oenpelli (now often referred to by the inhabitants as Kunbarllanjnja or Gunbalanya) is an Aboriginal community town in west Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The sealed Arnhem Highway links Darwin to Jabiru, the town adjacent to Kakadu National Park. About four kilometres before Jabiru, the sealed road turns off to Ubirr, the Border Store, Cahill’s Crossing on the East Alligator River and Gunbalanya/Oenpelli. The road is dirt from the East Alligator to just before Gunbalanya, a distance of about 16 kilometres. While this road is generally navigable by four wheel drive vehicle, the river crossing is a causeway which is closed by flooding during the wet season (November to April) and at high tides.

Dry season travellers are able to drive the 300 km from Darwin in about three hours and 70 km from Jabiru in under an hour. Northern Land Council permits are required to cross the East Alligator River, the western boundary of Arnhem Land, and travel east to Oenpelli.

Oenpelli has a sealed all weather airstrip.

Oenpelli’s community-owned Injalak Art & Craft Centre displays and sells bark paintings for which Arnhem Land is famous.

A permit is required for road travel in Arnhem Land which can take up to two weeks to finalise. It can be organised at the Northern Land Council offices in Darwin or Jabiru. Many visitors prefer to see Arnhem Land through an organised tour operation.

An Open Day is held in August each year and access for this is allowed without permit.