Experience Aboriginal Culture in Melbourne
Immerse yourself in the history and modern culture of the Kulin nation with these experiences and guided Aboriginal tours right in the heart of Melbourne.
By Allie Metz
A city of incredible cultural diversity, Melbourne offers the chance for visitors to connect with people from all corners of the globe. It’s also home to a strong and close-knit Aboriginal community that is eager to share its stories. Discover these unique inner-city experiences for authentic insights into the living context and legacy of Australia’s First Peoples.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens - Aboriginal Heritage Walk
Explore and experience Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens on this cultural tour with an Aboriginal guide. The Heritage Walk provides a unique insight into the history of both the Gardens (ancestral lands of the Kulin nation) and its Traditional Owners. The tour includes a traditional smoking ceremony, a guided walk through the gardens and discussion about the traditional uses of plants as a source of food, tools and medicine. Your tour will finish with a delicious cup of lemon myrtle tea.
Koorie Heritage Trust cultural walk
An Aboriginal-owned and managed organisation, the Koorie Heritage Trust offers visitors to Melbourne an excellent opportunity to discover an authentic and immersive urban Aboriginal cultural experience. Start by exploring the Trust’s collection of art works and artefacts on display at their location in Federation Square before joining a guide for one of the cultural walks. These historical and cultural tours will take you along the Birrarung (Yarra River) to explore beautiful art installations as well as significant sites that date back thousands of years.
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Housed inside the Melbourne Museum, Bunjilaka presents the Koorie experience in an immersive and moving permanent exhibition, complete with interactive features for a self-guided tour. Be sure to visit the Milarri Gardens to discover plants significant to the First Peoples of Victoria. You can also watch eels being fed in the garden pond as guides discuss the history of this important food source for local people. The art space, Birrarung Gallery, also features temporary and touring exhibitions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
The gourmet kitchen of Charcoal Lane is also notable for its innovative apprentice and trainee program, providing hospitality training for Aboriginal and disadvantaged young people. The team focus on native ingredients in their creative dishes, including the cocktail list. While the menu is constantly evolving, you can expect to find things like kangaroo, emu and Victorian eel flavoured with traditional ingredients like wattleseed, pepperberry and lemon myrtle. There’s a well-curated wine list that features mostly local wines, or opt for one of their tasty cocktails featuring native flora.
Mabu Mabu Tuck Shop
About twenty minutes outside Melbourne's city centre you'll find Mabu Mabu Tuck Shop. Head chef and owner Nornie Bero, originally from Mer Island in the Torres Strait, creates dishes all about two things: generosity and flavour. The menu at Mabu Mabu perfectly blends Indigenous ingredients with contemporary cuisine, and you can even purchase a range of small batch native spices and tropical sauces to use at home.