Permits for Northern Territory

This article highlights areas of interest to 4WDrivers and campers within the NT where a permit or pass (with or without fee) is required for access and/or camping. These areas include National Parks & Reserves, and Aboriginal Lands. Links to websites and contact details are included.

Northern Aboriginal Lands

For transit permits across aboriginal lands in the northern areas of NT (primarily north of Tennant Creek) contact the Northern Land Council. The NLC (Head office in Darwin) administers the permit system on behalf of the traditional owners. In most cases, there is no charge for a permit. However, entry fees apply for some destinations. Contact the NLC for the latest information.

Northern Land Council, Darwin
Phone: (08) 8920 5100

Please note that on their website they state:
The Land Council requires a minimum of ten (10) working days to process a transit or visitor permit. Depending on your plans, extra time may be needed to contact all the relevant groups of traditional owners along your route. While it is important to allow enough time for traditional owners to be contacted, it is not advisable to apply for a permit too far in advance of your trip, as this increases the likelihood of unforeseen circumstances affecting permission. The Land Council reserves the right to accept or refuse a transit or visitor permit application if it is more than 25 days before your intended trip. Weather conditions, ceremonial events or funerals can result in a permit being cancelled at short notice, so you will have to check closer to your travel dates to make sure the permit is not cancelled or delayed.

Central Aboriginal Lands

For central area permits which include the Tjukaruru Road from the Olgas to the WA border (where it becomes the Great Central Road); the NT part of the Gary Junction Road which in the NT is also known as the Kintore Road; the NT section of the Sandy Blight Junction Track and the Mereenie Loop Road contact the Central Land Council. Please note that with respect to the NT parts of the Tjukaruru Road, the Gary Junction Road and the Sandy Blight Junction Road, permits are required from both the Central Land Council and the appropriate body in the WA (see WA article) if you intend crossing the WA/NT border during your transit.

Transit Permits will normally only be issued for a maximum period of transit of 21 days within the whole of Central Area. Central Land Council's transit permits are also self-issued, meaning; once the applicant completes the online "application for a transit permit", a permit will automatically be sent to the nominated email address (excludes the Mereenie Loop permit).

Central Land Council

Street Address: 27 Stuart Highway, Alice Springs, NT 0870
Postal Address: PO Box 3321, Alice Springs, NT 0871
Phone: (08) 8951 6211
Fax: (08) 8953 2811

Please note that you cannot obtain the Mereenie Loop permit online.

Mereenie Loop Road Pass:

Permits to travel the Mereenie Loop Road are available for FREE over the counter at the Central Land Council building in Alice Springs. Not available online. They can also be obtained over the counter from the Alice Springs Visitor Information Office for $5; from the Glen Helen Homestead at a charge of $6; from the Kings Canyon Resort at a charge of $5.50, and it is also available from Hermannsburg at a charge of $6.50. The Mereenie Loop pass can be valid for a period of three (3) days. Comes with an informative colour booklet.

Docker River:

You need to apply to the Central Land Council for a permit to transit the Tjukaruru Road (also known as the Docker River Road) from west of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park boundary to the WA border via the Docker River Community. (This is the second of the two permits needed when transiting the Docker River Road. For the other permit see the Western Australia pdf and refer to Central Reserves Area). The Docker River Community offer travellers a pleasant little camping area a short way out of the Community. It is clearly signposted on the left as you are heading west.

If you are entering Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock and the Olgas) for the sole purpose of a transit to the Tjukaruru Road and you do not intend to stop anywhere within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, then you are not required to pay the normal entry fee. You will however be asked to produce your Permit, and you will be given explicit instructions that you are not permitted to stop anywhere within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Sandy Blight Junction Road

Permits to transit the NT section of the Sandy Blight Junction Road are once again being issued by the Central Land Council, but no camping is permitted anywhere along the NT section of the road. In the case of an emergency, camping is permitted within fifty (50) metres from the middle of the road on either side. (Also see the comments on the Sandy Blight Junction Road under the WA information).

Colson Track

Please note that permits to transit the Colson Track from the French Line in the Simpson Desert to Numery Station are simply not being issued. (Again, this is due to past problems with damage caused to a number of sacred sites contained within the aboriginal land through which the track runs). Access is not permitted to the Colson Track NORTH of Madigan's Camp 5 (CLC also issues permits for the Madigan Line). Applicants will need to complete the "application for an entry permit" via the Central Land Council website.

Coburg Peninsula (Gurig National Park)

The road to Garig Gunak Barlu National Park begins at the Cahill's Crossing in Kakadu National Park. At this point you enter Arnhem Land. Only 4WD vehicles are permitted access and a permit is required to enter Arnhem Land. Contact the Northern Land Council (NLC).

Phone: (08) 8920 5100

A permit is also required to enter Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. This is obtained from the Cobourg Peninsula Sanctuary and Marine Park Board. The application form is found on their website:

Permit for Cobourg Peninsula (Garig Gunak Barlu National Park).

Fees must be paid at least 6 weeks before you travel to the park. The permit costs $232.10 per vehicle for 7 nights (this permit covers up to 5 adult passengers; extra adults cost $11 and children under 16 years old are free). Permits are only sold by the week so if you wanted to stay an extra night (8 nights total) you would pay $464.20

Access Restrictions

Hard-body caravans are not permitted, neither are quad bikes or other motor bikes. Camper Trailers (fold-up) are ok and boats on roof-top or trailer are ok. Generators are permitted (Campground 2 only) to 9pm only. No dogs or pets of any kind. No firearms or weapons. No crab pots or animal traps. Hand spear guns and cast nets are allowed. Swimming is not allowed.

Limited Facilities

There are no powered sites. Both camping areas have showers, compositing toilets, barbeques, tables and bore water. There is no store or fuel service. Absolutely no supplies are available at Cobourg.

Gove Peninsula (East Arnhem Land)

To visit Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula you will require a permit from the NLC to transit the section of Central Arnhem Highway through Arnhem Land, plus you will need a Permit from the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation. To obtain the later permit online go to the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation website, or phone (08) 8939 2700.

There are 4 types of General Permit, with a Short Stay Visitor Permit for Individuals being valid for 7 days from date of issue at a cost of $35. Concessions are available for full-time students and holders of Healthcare Cards and/or Pension Card. If more time is required, a permit valid for 2 months is available at a cost of $45 for individuals.

You can camp for a night in a few nominated aboriginal owned spots on the Central Arnhem Road as the distance to Nhulunbuy is in excess of 700 km. Some of these small sites charge camping fees. Locations are shown on the mud map of the Central Arnhem Road, which you will receive with your permit.

Access to certain areas within the Gove Peninsula require a Special Permit in additional to the General Permit, so consider your destinations carefully and ensure you have the necessary permits before travel.

Please particularly note that there is no caravan park or camping facilities within Nhulunbuy itself. The Northern Land Council states quite categorically that the Central Arnhem Highway is not suitable for caravans and they will not issue a permit to transit the Central Arnhem Road or anywhere else in East Arnhem Land if you intend towing a caravan. Equally the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation will not issue a Visitor Recreation Permit to anyone with a caravan.

Please also note that the Northern Land Council, under strict instructions from the dozens of affected traditional owners, are simply NOT issuing permits to transit the unnamed track which runs primarily east/west across Arnhem Land from Oenpelli, past Gumadeer, Maningrida and Ramingining, and then turns south to link up with the Central Arnhem Road.

If you also wish to access Yirrkala, then contact the Yirrkala Dhanbul Community Association Inc.

Yirrkala Dhanbul Community

Yirrkala Dhanbul Community Association Inc. CMB 1, Yirrkala, NT 0880
Phone: (08) 8987 3433
Fax: (08) 8987 2304

No camping is available anywhere within the Yirrkala area, but they do have a really great art centre.

Rivers, Roads, Tracks & More

Wiso Track/Warrego Mine Road

The Central Land Council are NOT issuing permits to transit the Wiso Track (also known as the Warrego Mine Road) which runs from Tennant Creek to Lajamanu, as they consider it impassable.

Hay River

For permits to travel the Hay River area north from above Poeppel Corner to Jervois Station (on the Plenty Highway), contact Direct 4WD Awareness at Alice Springs:

Phone: (08) 8952 3359.

Permit numbers are limited each year to ensure the area remains unspoiled. See ExplorOz Trek Notes for further trip planning information for visiting the Hay River.

The application process for this area should be commenced as early as possible prior to your planned departure date as some of the forms can take up to 3 months to process.

NT Parks & Reserves

As of 3 April 2023, visitors to the Northern Territory will need a park pass to visit most national parks and reserves. Camping and overnight multi-day hike fees are additional and are payable separately.

The new NT parks system is quite simple. Go to the NT Parks Pass website to read all the information and follow the links to the online booking system. Make sure you read the link given to the Terms & Conditions as this cover most of the frequently asked questions.

You will need to setup an account to access the Park Pass pricing options, however at the time of writing, a 1 day pass is $10, 2 week pass is $30, and 12 month/annual pass is $60.

All you need to do is purchase the pass before visiting any National Park or Reserve in the NT and have your digital proof of purchase available on your phone or printed ready to show a ranger if asked.

NOTE: camping fees are additional and not included in the Parks Pass. These must also be purchased online where appropriate. Camping is booked and payable on a site by site basis for the specific dates you nominate as many locations have limited availability and operate on a booking system.

Uluru and Kakadu National Parks

Neither Uluru - Kata-Tjuta nor Kakadu National Park fall under the control of the NT Parks and Wildlife Service but are managed by Parks Australia.


Kakadu has a seasonal pricing structure with lower prices during the tropical summer from November to March. A park pass includes entry, ranger guided walks/talks and interpretive materials. For current prices and details see the Kakadu Passes & Permits. The pass can be purchased online, upon arrival at the park, or in Darwin, Annaburroo, Pine Creek or Emungalan (further details about these locations is available on the website).

Kakadu has lots of park-run camping areas, or you can book into a commercial campground or caravan site. See website for camping fees & locations of camp sites.. The park-run campsites have no booking system – places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. For camping outside of designated camping areas you will need a camping permit.

Uluru - Kata-Tjuta

A parks pass is required for entry into the Uluru - Kata-Tjuta National Park. This can be obtained at the entry station on your way into Uluru. A visitor pass is valid for 3 days, otherwise you can purchase an Annual Pass. Pricing and details can be found on the Uluru - Kata-Tjuta Passes & Permits page. Note that if you are travelling through the park onto Aboriginal land, including the Tjukaruru (Docker River), Gary Junction (Kintore), Sandy Blight and Glen-Helen-Papunya roads, you will need a transit or entry permit from the Central Land Council (see section above).

There is no accommodation or camping available within the actual boundary of the Uluru - Kata-Tjuta National Park. The closest accommodation to the rock is the Ayers Rock Resort or Ayers Rock Camping Area, which is about a 10 minute drive. The campground offers powered campsites and air conditioned cabins, whilst the resort provides a variety of accommodation options for every possible taste and budget from the premium Sails in the Desert, and Desert Gardens Hotel, to the self-contained Emu Walk Apartments, or the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge. Within the resort is a supermarket, restaurants, hairdresser, spa.

Also nearby is Longitude 131° - a luxury lodge featuring the ultimate glamping experience. Guests stay in canopied pavilions of opulence. Advanced bookings required.

A little further afield is Curtin Springs where you can camp at the Wayside Inn & Cattle Station (about 100km from Uluru).

Western Lost City - Limmen National Park

Western Lost City in Limmen National Park

Day trip only access is available to the Western Lost City by way of a locked gate and a 28 km easy 4WD track. The key to the locked gate is available from the Ranger at the Nathan River Ranger Station. There are only a limited number of keys available and quite often the Rangers might be away from the Ranger Station, so it is advisable to ring ahead and ensure that a key will be available (and obtainable) at the time of your visit. And, if the Ranger doesn’t give you a mud map of the track with your key, make sure you ask for one. The Ranger Station can be contacted on (08) 8975 9940.


Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this information, no responsibility can be accepted for either the accuracy of the contents or for any errors or omissions.

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