Walkabout Cultural Adventures, Daintree National Park, Queensland © Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Learn from Australia’s Indigenous cultures
Share the ancient wisdom of Australia’s First Peoples on these fascinating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-run experiences.
By Lee Atkinson
Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the custodians of the oldest living culture on Earth, one that goes back more than 60,000 years. So they know a thing or two about the land and how to make the most of it – whether it’s food, medicine, understanding the seasons and the way animals behave, or how to live a sustainable life. Immersing yourself in this rich culture on one of these tours will do more than give you an insight into Australia’s unique Indigenous customs, it will open up your heart and mind to a new way of thinking and change the way you see the world.
Master the art of living off the land
The land in and around Kakadu National Park has been home to the Bininj/Mungguy people for more than 65,000 years – possibly longer. It’s a place where culture is very strong, including traditional ways of hunting and gathering food.
Patsy Raichiwanga Raglar, who grew up in Arnhem Land and knows just about everything about living off the land in these parts, leads small groups across the national park. Join her in digging for yams, roots and water chestnuts, learn about bush medicine and law and how to follow animal tracks. You’ll finish the day with a feast of barramundi, magpie goose, buffalo, and whatever other meats and vegetables you've found, cooked in paperbark parcels in a campfire ground oven, served picnic-style beside a billabong as the sun sets. Once you’ve learned how to forage and cook like this, you’ll never look at the Aussie bush in quite the same way again.
- How to experience it: Hunt and gather with Patsy in Kakadu on an afternoon tour from Cooinda in Kakadu National Park.
Discover the secrets of the ancient Daintree
You’ll learn about more than bush tucker on this full-day cultural tour. Join local Aboriginal guides – Traditional Owners of the land who have an intimate connection with the landscape – as they lead you through the rainforest and beaches that form their backyard. Along the way you’ll gain an insight into how culture and landscape is entwined, learn how Kuku Yalanji people have harvested the rainforest, rivers, and ocean for food and medicine for centuries, be taught about ancient lore, and spot some amazing wildlife. By the time your day is done you’ll have a much deeper understanding and connection to the land and those who call it home. You’ll also know how to spear a mud crab and the best way to cook it, leaving you full of food as well as knowledge.
- How to experience it: Delve deeper into the Daintree on a cultural tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures.
Learn how to weave on the beach
Famous for its dazzling white sandy beaches, bird-filled campgrounds and winter whale watching, Booderee National Park is owned by the Koori people of Wreck Bay, and the Booderee Botanical Gardens (inside the park) are the only Aboriginal-owned botanic gardens in Australia. The scenic park sets the scene for weaving workshops run by Galamban Extraordinary Aboriginal Experiences, using natural materials that have been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years. While sipping billy tea, you’ll learn traditional basket weaving techniques while you listen to ancient stories – and probably share a joke or two. Other workshops include learning how to make an axe, and bush survival skills that include fishing tricks and secrets. Whichever course you choose, you’ll come home with much more than just a cool souvenir.
- How to experience it: Sign up for a half- or full-day Aboriginal craft or bush skills workshop in Booderee National Park.