UPDATE JANUARY 2019: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE WE CANNOT OFFER THE INJALAK ARTS ROCK ART TOUR IN 2019
SINCERE APOLOGIES TO OUR PARTNERS AND THOSE PLANNING TO VISIT US THIS YEAR. YOU CAN USE THE BOOKING FORM TO RECORD YOUR INTEREST & WE WILL NOTIFY YOU IF CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE.
Visitors travel to Gunbalanya from all over the world to visit Injalak Hill and experience its
outstanding ancient rock art galleries. Injalak Arts has been given exclusive permission by the
Traditional Owners to facilitate Rock Art Tours led by trained local guides. Tours take place in
the morning and are approximately 3 hours in duration.
Injalak is not registered for tourism vehicles therefore guests joining the Injalak Rock Art Tour may need to provide transport for their guide from Injalak Arts to the base of Injalak Hill where the tour begins. This will be confirmed at time of booking.
The main gallery is the first contact with rock art and is the most intense. It is an extensive shelter featuring layered paintings created over thousands of years. Other rock art gallery sites visited include Yingana or Warramurruggunddji, (the Creation Mother) and Andungun (this was told to Charles Mountford) a namarnde (evil) spirit who kills and eats people.
The rock art on Injalak Hill reveals facets of Pre-Estuarine, Estuarine and Contact periods identifying them as between 100 and 8,000 years old. Injalak Hill likely had continuous occupation. In 1912, the Aboriginal Protectorate Baldwin Spencer noted people heading up the hill every evening with smouldering fire sticks. This helps to explain why Injalak Hill boasts such extensive rock art galleries.
Getting to Gunbalanya
Travelling by road to Gunbalanya from East Alligator Ranger Station requires crossing a river that is seasonal and also affected by tides. We suggest you check tide times for Cahill’s Crossing prior to arrival.
Permits to visit Gunbalanya must be arranged in
advance via Northern Land Council in Darwin or Jabiru.
Please be at the art centre by 8.45 am for an 9.00 am start.
Tours are approximately 2.5 – 3 hours in duration.
Maximum adults per group 12.
Bring: Good walking shoes, water, hat, insect repellent and sunscreen.
Guides: Each group is led by a trained and experienced local guide with detailed knowledge of the rock art sites you will visit.
Customised Tours: Contact us if you want to book a group or require an alternative time for your tour, we will endeavour to accommodate you.
Injalak Rock Art Tours operate only in dry season when the art centre is accessible by road.
Tours do not operate on Sundays or Public Holidays
Injalak Arts was entrusted with the custodianship of Injalak Hill by Traditional Owner Donald Gumurdul (deceased 2013).
With Mr Gumurdurl’s permission and now his family’s continued blessing, Injalak Arts continues to facilitate very special tours of Injalak Hill, a superb sandstone monolith, rich in ancient rock art with five key sites or ‘galleries’ and many more incidental paintings. The tour also encompasses majestic panoramic views of the floodplains and the escarpment as the hill is elevated.
Initially the Rock Art Tours began informally. In the early 1990s visitors to Injalak Arts frequently made requests for tours of Injalak Hill because they had heard it was a renowned rock art site.
The Hill is a landmark and clearly visible five kilometres to the east of the art centre. The tours began informally and they were guided by whichever artists on-site were available and willing at the time.
By 1997 the tour guides had printed their own tour guide T-shirts and were leading visitors around the art centre and up Injalak Hill for a modest fee. In 1998 and 2002/3 formal training and support was organised for the guides through Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University).
A number of guides have now been able to transfer their local knowledge and experience into an Accredited Certificate I and II in Site Guiding. The feedback from tourists has been consistently positive and for most people the cultural exchange with Aboriginal people and the uniqueness of the Injalak Rock Art Tour are special highlights of their Top End visit.
We regularly get rapturous feedback via email and also some reviews can be seen on our Trip Advisor page:
“Wow, what a fantastic day. It was an honour to spend time with our guide in his country and learn so much about the dreaming, his family, customs and the life of the Indigenous people of Arnhem Land. It was an insightful tour, filled with laughter and fun. Our kids who are 4,7,9 enjoyed every moment from the climb up the hill to the descent.”
Tracey R, Sydney. 2013