All about Wagait
All about Wagait
All about Wagait
Wagait Beach is a special little village approximately 8 km west of Darwin, on the opposite side of the harbour. The population hovers around 450. Wagait Beach is not part of Darwin, but many of its residents use the Mandorah ferry to travel to work in the city.
“Wagait” (also spelled “Waugite”) is a local Aboriginal language word meaning beach or salt water country. It also refers to the people from that country: i.e., salt water people.
So close yet so far…
Those who live at Wagait Beach consider it Darwin’s best kept secret. When describing the area, they often laugh and say they “live overseas” and “live in paradise”, enjoying the benefits of both rural city living rolled into one.
The Sealink ferry service provides approximately 14 return services daily. Check out the up-to-date timetable and fares on their webpage.
Once accustomed to the timetable, residents find the commute on the ferry is a wonderful way to de-stress after a long day at work in “the Big Smoke”.
If you ever hear the scuttle-butt that many of the ferry services are cancelled because of bad weather, it’s a myth. Cancellations may occur on rare occasions when there is a cyclone in the area and the harbour is closed… but who would want to be on the water at such a time? Occasionally, a service is delayed—but not cancelled—because of strong winds, or on extreme low tides a service may be cancelled as the ferry is unable to navigate the exit from Cullen Bay. Sealink sends SMS messages to locals informing them of any such changes and updates.
Frankly, Wagait provides an enviable lifestyle within convenient “coo-ee” of the CBD.
The Wagait Store and Post Office is a hub for the local community, stocking all required staples, hardware, selling fuel and handling our post. The locally-owned business even provides a Centrelink service and employs many locals—from teenagers to retirees. They even do take-away food!
The Wagait Beach Supermarket page on Facebook keeps locals up-to-date with specials, important notices and what is happening in the area.
A free, well-stocked library is attached to the council office. The Council also has its own website and Facebook page to keep the community well informed of its activities.
You’ll find many self–employed and semi–retired residents providing all the handy services you need, from cleaning to mechanical and yard work.
Major Shopping — Coolalinga is just an hour away and many locals do their major shop either there or in Palmerston.
Medical Services are available through a Community Clinic, which is attached to the Community Centre. Nurses (who also work at the Belyuen Clinic 15km away) offer a service for Wagait Beach residents on a Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5 – 8pm. Should urgent medical services be needed outside of these times, it is just an quick call to the Royal Darwin Hospital and the Medical District Officer will arrange an appropriate response with the medical staff at Belyuen.
An ambulance is available and in severe cases a plane or helicopter is sent to transport emergency patients to RDH.
Our local art group — The Wagait Arts Group (affectionately referred to as “The WAGs”) welcomes new members. The Wagait area has the most amazing array of artists — so much so that an art exhibition is held annually, attracting over 200 people each year!
The group encourages the local Belyuen people to display their art as well. The exhibition provides a forum (both during and in the lead up to) for local artists to offer workshops. A Council-supported youth workshop is held at Cloppenburg Park for the Wagait Beach and Beluyen youth.
A local Bush Fire Service is very active and volunteers are always welcome.
There are no schools at Wagait, so children commute to Darwin… that’s so much more fun than a school bus!
The ferry services that depart the Mandorah Jetty at 7am and Cullen Bay at 3pm on weekdays are designated as school runs for the children. Adults can catch these ferries, but the children are given priority. A school bus service is provided at Wagait Beach to pick up and drop off the local children, with the driver supervising them on the bus and walking them to and from the ferry. A bus at Cullen Bay then conveys the children to the local schools.
A #14 Bus also connects with each ferry service to take people to and from the city.
Wagait Shire Council
The shire is one of the smallest in Australia. It employs a number of locals to maintain the area and to work in the office.
A youth worker is employed to organise regular activities with the children afterschool and of a weekend. These are mostly held in the Community Centre or Cloppenburg Park with its large sports oval, numerous courts and undercover area.
Wheelie Bins are collected every Wednesday and rubbish taken back to Darwin. A larger waste area and transfer station is under construction.
Property rates are currently the lowest in the outer Darwin Region.
The Cox Country Club is a fun place to meet and mingle, with meals and a licenced bar, along with many a liberal yarn! Boasting a nostalgic, yesteryear-Darwin vibe, it’s the perfect spot for locals and visitors to socialise, play darts or bingo and have a meal together. It’s not only offers a place for locals to relax and meet others, but a good source of employment for locals.
There are various festivals each year, with the MUFF (Mandorah Ukalele & Folk Festival) being one to mark on your calendar! It’s a fun time for locals and hundreds of visitors and is usually held in June at the Cox Country Club.
How do I get to Wagait?
The SeaLink “Mandorah Ferry” runs regular services between Mandorah (the regional name for the land that Wagait sits on) and Cullen Bay. The button below will take you to their website… just be sure to click on the “Mandorah” tab to get the correct information.