Georgia Hopkins

Tiwi Island Retreat

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Tiwi Island Retreat Out on the buggy with Siggy exploring the pristine 4 Mile Beach one morning

Out on the buggy with Siggy exploring the pristine 4 Mile Beach one morning

Tiwi Island Retreat After arriving on a tiny 6-seater plane, you will be met at the red dirt runway by the friendly retreat staff (in our case, Robbo), where your luggage is collected and led down to a little tin boat that takes you around the croc-infested (!) mangroves to the retreat

After arriving on a tiny 6-seater plane, you will be met at the red dirt runway by the friendly retreat staff (in our case, Robbo), where your luggage is collected and led down to a little tin boat that takes you around the croc-infested (!) mangroves to the retreat

Tiwi Island Retreat The excitement levels build as the little tinny pulls up to the retreat on the south-western side of Bathurst Island

The excitement levels build as the little tinny pulls up to the retreat on the south-western side of Bathurst Island

Tiwi Island Retreat Waking up to the magic of the Tiwi Island Retreat, where the sun beats down on this quiet and remote island paradise

Waking up to the magic of the Tiwi Island Retreat, where the sun beats down on this quiet and remote island paradise

Tiwi Island Retreat The bedrooms are cozy and simple but are freshly renovated, sparkling clean and super comfortable

The bedrooms are cozy and simple but are freshly renovated, sparkling clean and super comfortable

Tiwi Island Retreat Reminiscent of the old barramundi fishing lodge days can be found all around the retreat. We used the rods to go fishing, might not have caught anything but it was a really fun day out

Reminiscent of the old barramundi fishing lodge days can be found all around the retreat. We used the rods to go fishing, might not have caught anything but it was a really fun day out

Tiwi Island Retreat Claudia, the resident croc — she makes sure guests are kept safe (and reminded not to go swimming!) by doing laps back and forth along the island shore

Claudia, the resident croc — she makes sure guests are kept safe (and reminded not to go swimming!) by doing laps back and forth along the island shore

Tiwi Island Retreat Island transport. The only way to get around (or quickly, anyway!) is by buggy, but exploring by foot is just as good an option

Island transport. The only way to get around (or quickly, anyway!) is by buggy, but exploring by foot is just as good an option

Tiwi Island Retreat The retreat gives you so much time and space to rest, relax and enjoy laid-back afternoons like this one

The retreat gives you so much time and space to rest, relax and enjoy laid-back afternoons like this one

Tiwi Island Retreat As the sun goes down, the sky changes into a kaleidoscope of colors all around you which presents the perfect opportunity for a sundowner in the little 'Great Northern Bar'

As the sun goes down, the sky changes into a kaleidoscope of colors all around you which presents the perfect opportunity for a sundowner in the little 'Great Northern Bar'

Tiwi Island Retreat Dreamy colored skies and beach bonfires. I loved sharing a drink with other guests at the extraordinary sunsets here

Dreamy colored skies and beach bonfires. I loved sharing a drink with other guests at the extraordinary sunsets here

Tiwi Island Retreat The communal dining space is air-conditioned and is a friendly, relaxed space from which to enjoy your meals while looking over the sea

The communal dining space is air-conditioned and is a friendly, relaxed space from which to enjoy your meals while looking over the sea

Tiwi Island Retreat Not another person in sight. The empty, beautiful 4 Mile Beach — all yours

Not another person in sight. The empty, beautiful 4 Mile Beach — all yours

Tiwi Island Retreat Boat trips with Robbo are always fun — out looking for mud crabs — dropping off the cages in the morning, and going back later in the day to see what has been caught. Success!

Boat trips with Robbo are always fun — out looking for mud crabs — dropping off the cages in the morning, and going back later in the day to see what has been caught. Success!

Tiwi Island Retreat The setting here is so beautiful no matter what time of day. I loved coming back to the retreat after a day out on the boat — the most idyllic tropical getaway

The setting here is so beautiful no matter what time of day. I loved coming back to the retreat after a day out on the boat — the most idyllic tropical getaway

Tiwi Island Retreat One of my favourite evenings on the island was the sunset buggy tour with Robbo where we were taken to a very special corner of 4 Mile Beach to enjoy a cold drink while the sun went down around us

One of my favourite evenings on the island was the sunset buggy tour with Robbo where we were taken to a very special corner of 4 Mile Beach to enjoy a cold drink while the sun went down around us

Tiwi Island Retreat This will do :) If you opt to do the sunset buggy tour, you will be treated to a sensational platter like this one. This was a truly memorable moment

This will do :) If you opt to do the sunset buggy tour, you will be treated to a sensational platter like this one. This was a truly memorable moment

Tiwi Island Retreat The view over the Tiwi Islands from the plane is just as extraordinary as the island experience itself

The view over the Tiwi Islands from the plane is just as extraordinary as the island experience itself

Highs & Lows

  • The remote location. You would be hard pressed to find anything else as remote as this.

  • The simple luxury — that's where the beauty lies.

  • The wildness. Quiet, pristine and totally removed from the rest of the world.

  • The wildlife — keep an eye out for crocs, turtles, dingoes, dolphins, barramundi, mud crabs and more!

  • The staff — so laid-back and friendly. A big shout-out to Siggy and Robbo for making my trip so special.

  • The experiences. You can do as much or as little as you like.

  • The fact that there is only one bathroom at the retreat (one each for women, and one for men) and it is communal — while not an issue for me — might be a deterrent for some people.

  • Having to go back home.

The Barometer

  • Design
  • Location
  • Future Forward
  • Night's Sleep
  • Service
  • Amenities
  • Takeable Treats
  • Refer a Friend
  • Overall Value
  • Life Changing
Total: 46/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Remote barramundi fishing lodge-turned-laid-back island retreat

  • Vibe

    Barefoot and relaxed

  • Location

    Halfway between Australia and East Timor, the Tiwi Island Retreat sits on the south-western side of Bathurst Island looking over the sea

  • Rooms

    The retreat has 18 basic but stylish rooms, including nine queens, five twin-share and three family rooms that each contain a queen and a bunk bed. All rooms have been recently refurbished and feel fresh. I recommend booking one of the Retreat Pool View Queen Rooms. Bathrooms are a short walk away and they are shared (there is only one each for women and one each for men), but don't let this put you off, they are kept immaculately clean at all times and there was never an issue with waiting

  • Pre-Arrival Experience

    I found the booking website a little hard to navigate. Best to email the bookings office directly with any questions around availability and pricing. The arrival itself was super friendly and relaxed. Robbo met us barefoot at the red-dirt airstrip, grabbed our luggage, and wheeled it down a narrow jetty on to a small tin boat that took us around the (croc-infested!) mangroves to the retreat (a 10 minute ride). Claudia, the resident croc, was one of the first to greet us, before the very chatty and friendly Siggy met us on the beach with a buggy to collect our bags. Siggy talked us through some of the safety precautions for the island (mainly croc safety and falling coconuts), and then ran us through the menu for dinner that night. It’s a super laid-back yet unforgettable way to arrive

  • Future Forward

    Protecting the local environment is of foremost concern to everyone at the Tiwi Island Retreat. Short showers are encouraged, as are refillable drink bottles (not plastic). And no straws are used

  • Music

    Eezy breezy island tunes

  • Year Opened

    2020

  • Designed By

    The Tiwi Island Retreat was opened by wildlife personality Matt Wright (of National Geographic's Outback Wrangler) in 2020. It was formally a barramundi fishing lodge

  • Health & Wellness

    The 12-metre pool, while small, is the perfect place for a dip (especially given how the sea is out of bounds)

  • Food

    You can opt for an all-inclusive package which includes your room plus all meals. Otherwise, the room-only rate includes breakfast only. The breakfasts are a mix of cold continental and something hot. For lunch and dinner you can choose from a number of firm favourites (with fish being a big feature) — fish tacos, fish and chips, salads, pasta. If you have any luck out fishing or mud crabbing during the day, you can choose to eat your catch for dinner that night. The food is simple but very good, given the retreat’s remoteness and the challenges they face in getting fresh food onto the island. Food deliveries come via plane a few times a week. Meals are served in an air-conditioned dining area with communal tables and the feeling is super relaxed

  • Bar, Events & Nightlife

    The Great Northern Bar is a cute covered deck bar from which to enjoy a few icy cold beverages as the sun goes down over the Timor Sea. Fully licensed (you can't byo to the island), you will find a good selection of wine, beer, basic spirits, and sparkling wine

  • Minibar & Retail

    No

  • Accessibility

    Not very accessible

  • Pet Friendly

    No

  • Children

    Yes and very welcomed

  • Price

    Minimum two-night stay from $500 a person a night. All inclusive packages from $4700 for two people for two nights and $4910 for a family (two adults and two kids) for two nights. These include flights from Darwin, boat transfers, all meals, buggy picnic and two three-hour fishing and mud-crabbing excursions

  • Website

    Visit website

Tiwi Island Retreat

Tiwi Island Retreat

Tiwi Island Retreat, Timor Sea, Tiwi Islands, Australia

Barra fishing and mud crabbing

Barra fishing and mud crabbing

Tiwi Island Retreat, Timor Sea, Tiwi Islands, Australia

Tiwi Designs

Tiwi Designs

Tiwi Island Retreat, Timor Sea, Tiwi Islands, Australia

Sunset beach buggy cruise & cheese platter

Sunset beach buggy cruise & cheese platter

Tiwi Island Retreat, Timor Sea, Tiwi Islands, Australia

In the Area

Hotel Location Tiwi Island Retreat, Timor Sea, Tiwi Islands, Australia

The remote Tiwi Islands, halfway between Australia and East Timor, are 100 kilometres (or 62 miles) north of Darwin. You can reach the islands on a quick 30 minute flight out of Darwin, or a much slower ferry that travels between Darwin and Bathurst Island 3 times a week. The Tiwi Island Retreat sits on the south-western side of Bathurst Island looking over the Timor Sea.

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