Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel, Cairns, Queensland © Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Incredible Indigenous experiences for families
Connect with the world’s oldest living culture while having fun with your family on these immersive, awe-inspiring days out.
By Leah Dobihal & Amy Fraser
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander travel experiences are fantastic for families. They create a wonderful opportunity for kids big and small to learn about an ancient (and thriving!) culture, and the rich Indigenous tradition of storytelling makes for brilliant entertainment. Here are ten memorable tours to add to your family holiday.
Create your own dot painting
Aboriginal culture and storytelling can be shared in many forms – dance, performance, art and more. At Maruku Arts in the heart of the Red Centre, these stories come alive through dot painting. During an intimate dot painting workshop, you’ll learn about the culture of the local Anangu people, and each family member can create their own story through art. What’s better than your own handmade souvenir?
Snorkel the reef with Indigenous rangers
A visit to the Great Barrier Reef should be on every kid’s bucket list. With Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel, your family can combine the thrill of the reef with the knowledge of the Indigenous owners of the land and sea. In addition to snorkelling over colourful coral, Indigenous Sea Rangers offer live demonstrations of traditional dances and the didgeridoo. It’s an incredible learning experience for all ages.
Go on a sand dune adventure
Ocean activities, dolphins, whales and hikes – a holiday to Port Stephens is a no-brainer for families seeking fun and adventure. Stockton Beach is where the thrills really begin. Join Sand Dune Adventures on an adrenaline-inducing quad biking tour to explore the land which has been home to the Worimi people for thousands of years. Those aged over 16 can drive their own bike while younger kids can cruise carefree with a parent.
Spot crocs on a sunset cruise
It’s not just wild saltwater crocodiles that make the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park a unique family destination. Kakadu – home to the Biniji/Mungguy people – is a mesmerising landscape brimming with culture, native plants and wildlife, as well as an abundance of rock art up to 20,000 years old. Book a cruise with Kakadu Tourism, where the whole family can spot crocodiles floating through the billabong, buffalos grazing and more birds than you can count.
Discover a landscape 800 million years old
Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park is – in a word – jaw-dropping. Families will no doubt be awed by the 800-million-year-old landscape, but to delve into its ancient history, you’ll need the help of a Yura guide. Book in at Wilpena Pound Resort to take an informative stroll past magnificent river red gums and learn about nature and biodiversity from the perspective of the Adnyamathanha people. It’s as fascinating as it is beautiful.
Walk with wonderful wildlife
Among the Great Ocean Road’s iconic beaches, national parks and mesmerising rock formations you’ll find Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, a dormant volcano home to an abundance of native wildlife. Join a two-hour walk with an Indigenous guide at Worn Gundidj @ Tower Hill to spot them in their natural habitats while learning about the fascinating histories of the landscape. If spotting your favourite Aussie wildlife wasn’t enough, the tour concludes with perhaps the best lesson of all – boomerang throwing!
Explore the world’s oldest rainforest
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tours are meaningful and educational, but don’t forget, they’re also simply fun – and a tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures is just that. Head through the forest to the beaches of Queensland’s ancient Daintree Rainforest with your Kuku Yalanji guide to collect shellfish, throw a boomerang and taste some bush tucker. If you’re lucky, your family could even catch a mud crab using traditional hunting practices.
Kayak with amazing marine life
The World Heritage-listed Shark Bay is a mecca for marine life and Wula Gura Nyinda’s Kayaking and Wildlife Adventure is the perfect opportunity for families to experience it. Kids will love the initial 4WD adventure where you’ll learn about animal tracking and the connection between the Aboriginal people, land and sea. Paddling out onto the turquoise ocean, expect to spot turtles, sharks, rays and in season, dugongs cruising beside your boat.
Discover Dreamtime, didgeridoos and dance
Just 30 minutes from Cairns sits the Rainforestation Nature Park, where you can join Indigenous guides on a fun, vibrant and immersive Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. Whether you opt for the Dreamtime Walk or Pamagirri Dance Performance, there will be no shortage of smiles as you learn to throw spears and boomerangs, join in with their spiritual dance and marvel at the sounds of the didgeridoo in a natural rainforest amphitheatre.
Scale Sydney Harbour Bridge with an Indigenous guide
With icons like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney is an exciting family destination with exhilarating cultural experiences to match. On a Burrawa Indigenous Bridge Climb Experience, your family can scale one of the most iconic attractions in Australia while hearing stories of Sydney Harbour’s Aboriginal culture, both past and present. Spine-tingling from start to finish, this epic family experience is all about new perspectives.