Daintree, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland
How to explore our country (welcomed by Indigenous elders)
Australia is home to more than 250 nation/language groupings which are unique and distinct while remaining very connected. Spend time on Country with an Aboriginal guide to truly experience a destination.
In Aboriginal cultures, the people and land merge – they are part of each other. It is exactly this unique perspective that makes travelling with an Aboriginal guide a transformative experience. Delivered with humour, openness and optimism, the stories and teachings make these experiences truly memorable. Meet traditional owners and prominent local elders and get an introduction to country. They’ve shared some key experiences you can do while on Country to gain a better understanding of the environment, their ancient culture and the traditions that have been in place for tens of thousands of years.
1. Elder: Yilna Atie
Location: Nundjurr – Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory
Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with the Traditional Owners of the Litchfield National Park region on a day-tour or multi-day adventure from Darwin with Northern Territory Indigenous Tours. These adventurous tours will take you off the standard tourist trail with exclusive access to stunning rainforest, woodland and stone country, along with stories of their significance.
Operated by Tess Atie and her husband Greg Balding, Northern Territory Indigenous Tours also offer guests access to small group tours that promote intimate and authentic discussions with guides that have familial connections dating back countless generations.
2. Elder: Noel Butler
Location: Yuin Country – Narrawallee, Shoalhaven, New South Wales
Embark on a cultural tour of Yuin Country to understand the influence that the natural landscape has on the lifestyle of its Traditional Owners. You will explore the differences in the river, coastal and mountain terrain that surround the region while hearing stories of how these have impacted on the way of life. Learn how to read the land, seek out bush tucker growing wild around you and share in the traditional knowledge of your elder guide. Nura Gunyu offers full and half-day tours for private groups, tailoring your experience to your interests.
3. Elder: Bennett Walker
Location: Kuku Yalanji Country - Mossman Gorge, Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
Explore the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge with an Aboriginal guide to unearth the incredible wonders found in this unique ecosystem. There are a number of tours here, each with its own story to share. Connect to country with Juan Walker from Walkabout Cultural Adventures to learn about the different tools and medicines the Kuku Yalanji people took from the Daintree Rainforest and the surrounding environment and try your hand at traditional hunting practices.
Head to Cooya Beach to meet a Kuku Yalanji Traditional Custodian with Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours. Your guide will share knowledge of artefacts and rare stories from their land. Adventure North Australia’s Daintree Dreaming Tours takes guests into the rainforest for an interactive experience, cruising the river, swimming at Mossman Gorge and visiting a nearby art gallery.
4. Elder: Margret Campbell
Location: Gadigal Country – Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney, New South Wales
Arguably one of the most fascinating perspectives on Aboriginal culture is its diverse relationship with nature today. While modern city buildings may change Sydney’s landscape, natural environments remain unchanged and are intrinsically linked to Sydney’s billion-year-old sandstone foreshore.
Join recognised Dunghutti – Djerinjah Elder and respected knowledge holder Aunty Margret’s Dreamtime Southern X tour – a leisurely 90-minute walking or four-hour coach tour – and be touched by the continuing strong culture and spiritual significance of nature for Aboriginal people today. Hear creation stories that shape Sydney’s five Aboriginal languages and Clan borders, discover diverse purposes of native trees, plants and birdlife habitats amidst urban streets and visit sacred art engraving sites hidden in the heart of the city. Margret’s tour will open your eyes to Sydney's first human history and culture, well before Europeans arrived and continuing here today.