North Australian Research Unit campus

ANU North Australian Research Unit (NARU) campus is a research facility in the Northern Territory with accommodation and other resources for researchers working in north Australia and the surrounding region.

NARU campus is about a 15km drive from Darwin city and about 8km drive from Darwin International Airport. It was established in 1973 to specialise in research in north Australia and to provide a base and logistic support for Canberra-based members of The Australian National University (ANU) and members of other Australian and overseas institutions undertaking research in North Australia. At the NARU campus, ANU has established the Arafura Timor Research Facility (ATRF), a joint venture between the Australian Institute of Marine Science and ANU.

ANU academic and research staff based at NARU remain part of their school while at NARU. This structure frees research staff to focus on their research with the full support of their peers. This dynamic structure also allows ANU to respond to new research opportunities in north Australia.

The NARU Steering Committee is responsible for providing advice and direction for the unit.

Cyclone season

The Top End of the Northern Territory is naturally prone to tropical cyclone events with some two to three cyclones affecting the Darwin region between November and April each year.

Please check with the Bureau of Meteorology for any current cyclone warning for the Darwin area prior to your departure.

In the event of a cyclone warning being issued by the Bureau of Meteorology the NARU campus will be closed up unto the cyclone warning has been downgrade or cancelled.

In the event of a cyclone occurrence in the Darwin area please confirm with NARU administration staff if the campus has reopened prior to your arrival.

NARU Public Seminars

Each year the NARU Seminar Series delivers presentations covering a wide range of topics from researchers based in Australia and around the world. The Series offered seminars from varying disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics and politics. Presentations attract large audiences and in many cases media attention. Please use the online form if you would like to receive email alerts for upcoming seminars.

Accommodation & resources

Accommodation, office space, field equipment and a seminar room are available for rent.  Facilites are nestled among the tranquil surrounds of ANU Northern Campus and offer quiet and secure spaces to undertake research or hold seminars, meetings or workshops. Please visit the NARU Units page for more information about the facilities and booking procedures.

Aboriginal heritage values at NARU

The Darwin area is the land of the Larrakia people. It is highly likely that boundaries and ranges were fluid and varied over time. As a consequence, the patterns recorded in the recent past may represent only the situation at European contact.

Contact between white explorers and the Aboriginal people of the Darwin region occurred as early as 1837 when Captain J. Stokes made contact with 'a party of aborigines' (Stokes 1846). George Goyder, leader of the Northern Territory Survey Expedition of 1868 to 1870 reported continuous contact with Aboriginal people, describing them and making collections of spears, baskets and boomerangs (Stokes 1846; Kerr 1971). Stokes' (1846) diaries contain detailed descriptions of the Aboriginal people of the Darwin area and beyond recording many instances of both friendly contact and unfriendly contact with deaths occurring amongst both groups.

Heavy development on the ANU property since its inception has likely destroyed any traces of Aboriginal sites or artefacts on the site, however the cultural connection to this area remains strong.


NARU is easily accessible by car and is located next to the Charles Darwin University Casurina Campus. The campus is 15km from Darwin and approximately 8km from Darwin International Airport.

Our postal address is PO Box 41321,Casuarina NT 0810.