Site Requires Javascript - turn on javascript!

11 transformational Aboriginal experiences

Australia is home to the oldest living culture on Earth and Aboriginal guides across the country will ensure a real connection to the place and a new way of seeing. Every part of Australia is Aboriginal country and every part of that country has a series of stories and experiences that are unique to that place.

Aboriginal guides are warm, welcoming and extremely generous of spirit. They are keen to share their story and give an insight into their culture. They will bring the landscape to life allowing you to gain a deeper appreciation of any journey to Australia.

Aboriginal people offer an exciting array of accommodation, activities and tours with options to taste bush tucker (plants and animals native to the Australian outback), experience the healing powers of nature, catch fish and mud crab, discover breathtaking scenery and ancient rock art galleries, take an art workshop, kayak, hike or camp on the beach under the abundant canopy of stars. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, cultural enthusiast, foodie or nature lover, you’ll benefit from the knowledge and insights an Aboriginal guide can provide.

See Sydney in a new light

Dreamtime Southern X, Sydney, New South Wales

Spend a day with one of Sydney’s most respected Aboriginal Elders on an Aboriginal Cultural Experience through tour operator Splendour Tailored Tours. The day starts with a traditional spiritual ‘Welcome To Country’ ceremony on a sacred piece of land overlooking Sydney Harbour. Acknowledge Grandfather Sun and experience the Aboriginal custom of gratitude for the land and the sun rising. Journey across Sydney Harbour Bridge and into now developed suburbs to learn how Aboriginal people lived not so long ago and how they maintain their cultural connection today. Guests will see historic rock engravings and sacred Dreamtime sights hidden all around Sydney.  Finish with some Aboriginal flavours over lunch – either in an Aboriginal owned café or enjoy Aboriginal catering on a picnic in one of Sydney’s picturesque parks.

Heart-warming experience north of Sydney

Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach, New South Wales

Bouddi is an Aboriginal word for “heart” and at the heart of the Bouddi Peninsula, 90 minutes north of Sydney, lie the private guesthouse Pretty Beach House and boutique hotel Bells at Killcare. The properties stand on the ancestral lands of the Awaba Darkinjung people amongst ancient trees, wild bush tucker and sandstone cliffs. Around the fire, Pretty Beach House offers a smoking ceremony as well as ancient Dreamtime stories told by traditional elders, dancing to the sounds of the didgeridoo and clappers. At both Pretty Beach House and Bells of Killcare you can book an exclusive Aboriginal cultural experience to hear the history of the local Awaba Darkinjung people and take in the knowledge about Aboriginal people’s kinship with the ocean and the land. The experiences can include a two hour walk to a whale carving and a visit to Daleys Point Cave, a favourite meditation place. As you take in spectacular views and meander through the wild landscape, your guide will explain fascinating aspects of his culture, including why his people are Star People and are buried facing the Morning Star. All this in just a 90 minute drive, short helicopter, ferry or seaplane journey from Sydney.

An immersive glamping experience on Sydney’s south coast

Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness, Narooma, New South Wales

Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness is located on the South Coast of New South Wales, near Narooma and the Tilba region on Yuin country (a 4.5 hour drive south of Sydney or a short flight) and is the perfect experience if you are stressed and tired, lacking direction or just in search of a deeper life adventure. Each day you will immerse yourself in a guided sensory journey into traditional Yuin country and listen to stories passed down for thousands of generations, led by the land’s traditional custodians. Each evening you will retreat to the comfortable and cosy glamping accommodation at Tilba Lake Camp. Your experience begins with a welcome to Yuin country, dance performance and dinner. Day two starts with a sunrise beach ceremony followed by a full day’s coach sightseeing tour of Bermagui, Tahra and Bega Valley. At the end of the day enjoy an Indigenous flavoured dinner to the majestic sound of the Yidaki (didgeridoo) set against spectacular ocean scenery and then share your day’s experience during a traditional reflection. Your tour ends on the morning of day three  with a farewell beach ceremony.

Explore where the rainforest meets the sea

Walkabout Cultural Adventures, Cairns, Queensland

Starting from Port Douglas (just an hour north of Cairns) take a private tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures to the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park to be immersed in Kuku Yalanji culture. Cool yourself in flowing streams, taste rainforest bush fruits, search for mud crabs, try your hand at throwing a spear, create your own Aboriginal inspired art piece and learn about bush tucker and medicines. Look out for unique wildlife including beautiful green lizards, butterflies and, if you’re lucky, a cassowary. Your Aboriginal guide will provide a wonderful insight into the traditional life of the local Aboriginal people and their connection to the land, marine and rainforest life of this area. If you would like to stay in this slice of paradise, spend the night at the stunning Silky Oaks Lodge nestled in the rainforest overlooking rejuvenating Mossman Gorge.

Kayak on Bulgan Creek with Jirrbal rainforest guidesa

Ingan Tours, Tully, Queensland

Just a two hour drive south of Cairns is Tully, home to Ingan Tours who provide hiking, kayaking and cross-cultural experiences. Join your Jirrbal guides on a five hour relaxing walk deep into the mountainous region of the Tully Valley, along crystal clear creeks to the beautiful Echo Creek Falls. If you love kayaking, then kayak down the beautiful and secluded Bulgan Creek. Dive in the crystal clear water or simply relax and let the current take you down the river as you watch birds skim across the water and butterflies dance in the ferns. Jirrbal guides offer extensive knowledge on the flora and fauna of the rainforest, including the seasonal collection of plants and animals, providing an understanding of how rainforests sustain life. If you would like to stay in this beautiful region, then head to the small coastal town of Mission Beach and stay on its palm fringed beach at Castaways Resort & Spa or your choice of luxury accommodation.   

Explore Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory

Lirrwi Tourism, Bawaka Homelands, Northern Territory

East Arnhem Land is a truly untouched part of Australia, rich with culture and tradition. This is remote country that is accessed via direct daily flights from Cairns and Darwin to Gove (Nhulunbuy). When you visit a Yolŋu Homeland in East Arnhem Land on a Lirrwi tour expect to be made to feel like part of the family and make lasting friendships. You will receive a welcome to country or smoking ceremony at the beginning of your stay. You will also learn about Yolŋu kinship, traditional lore and language, both spoken and sign. Throughout your visit you will participate in any number of activities from weaving to traditional spear fishing, gathering of bush foods and medicine, dance (Bunggul), storytelling or learning how the Yidaki (Didgeridoo) is made and played. Yolŋu life is in sync with the environment, wildlife and climate, so be prepared to leave your watch and phone behind and go with flow. You’ll be delighted by the unexpected - perhaps a quick beach stopover to spear a fish or catch mud crabs. This is what makes a visit to Yolŋu land so special.

Discover World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land

Lord's Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris, Darwin, Northern Territory

Specialising in luxury, private touring throughout Kakadu, Arnhem Land, and Kimberley regions, Lord’s Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris deliver unforgettable, life-changing experiences across the Top End (Northern Territory) of Australia. Sab Lord is a larger than life character and has been hosting guests in the Top End for 26 years. Sab grew up in the area that is now Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land and has a rather unique relationship with many local Aboriginal people who allow his tours access to restricted areas. Travels with Sab or his guides can include visiting the amazing landscape of Limilngan-Wulna land, just 45 minutes from Darwin, to learn about bush tucker, medicines, basket making and playing the didgeridoo; or taking a Guluyambi cruise on the breathtaking East Alligator River to learn about the local culture and spot crocodiles. Visit Injalak Arts to view outstanding ancient rock art, fine art paintings, natural fibre weavings and meet the artists. Spend time at Mt Borradaile, a paradise filled with lily laden floodplains teeming with birds, crocodiles and Barramundi and home to some of the most stunning rock art not just in Australia, but the world.

Explore sacred sites around Uluru

SEIT Outback Australia, Uluru, Northern Territory

Uluru truly is at the heart and centre of this vast continent and many Aboriginal Songlines intersect there. Just a three hour direct flight from Sydney takes you to this massive sandstone monolith, 348 metres (1141 feet) in height, whose markings tell the story of the creation period by the ancestral beings of Anangu, the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. For a truly unique experience, SEIT Outback Australia can take you beyond the boundaries of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. They provide two Aboriginal experiences on Aboriginal homelands at Cave Hill and Patji. Take a 4WD journey deep into the desert of the Pitjantjatjara Lands to visit Cave Hill, the site of the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa (creation stories), possibly the most significant art site in Central Australia, or take a 4WD adventure out to the traditional homelands of the Uluru family including viewing the sunset on a private sand dune overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta. There are many great accommodation options at Uluru including Longitude 131°, the luxury desert basecamp at Uluru-Kata Tjuta that offers guests the exclusive opportunity to visit the remote community of Ernabella, home to the oldest Indigenous arts centre in Australia.

Fly west and explore Australia’s last wild frontier

Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, Cape Leveque, Western Australia

Fly into the pearling town of Broome, Western Australia famous for the white sands of Cable Beach. Bart Pigram of Narlijia Cultural Tours is a Yawuru man who belongs to a long tradition of pearling workers and musicians and has a passion for telling the complete story of life in Broome. He is the perfect guide to take you on a tour of this town, showcasing its history and lifestyle. Unwind and relax at accommodation including Cable Beach Club and Mcalpine House before making your way to Kooljaman at Cape Leveque on the stunning Dampier Peninsula (about a three hour drive or a very scenic short charter flight). Kooljaman is a spectacular coastal wilderness camp run by the Bardi Jawi Communities who invite you to share the astonishing diversity, pristine wilderness and unique landscape of this area including majestic red cliffs, pure white sand and the beautiful turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Swim, snorkel, fish, bush walk, bird watch, reef walk, beachcomb for kilometres, explore the coast by boat or just relax and take in the uninterrupted views from your self-contained tent built high on the hillside. Between July and October keep an eye out for whales breaching just off the shoreline. Take a cultural tour with the local Bardi guides and go mud crabbing, fish trapping and swim in crystal clear waters. Visit an oyster forest, sample bush fruits and gain an insight into bush medicine, Aboriginal history and Dreaming stories of this area. Your guide will show you how to cook up your catch Bardi style on an open fire. Eat in at Raugi’s restaurant that offers spectacular views over Western Beach or grab a ready to cook gourmet BBQ dinner known as ‘Bush Butler Meals’.

Glamp in the ancient and rugged Ikara-Flinders Ranges

Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia

The extraordinary 800-million-year-old natural amphitheatre situated in the heart of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is known as Wilpena Pound and it’s the traditional homeland of the Adnyamathanha people (Yura). The Yura people own and operate Wilpena Pound Resort located 430 kilometres (267 miles) north of South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. The Resort serves as the only accommodation within the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park and includes hotel rooms, glamping safari tents and campsites that provide breathtaking views of Wilpena Pound and the surrounding National Park. As one of only a few Aboriginal owned and operated resorts, the hallmark feature of the resort is its Aboriginal cultural experiences. Visitors to Wilpena Pound Resort can set off on a journey with the Adnyamathanha people to uncover the rich history and mystique of ancient and contemporary Aboriginal culture. With 50,000 years worth of experience on hand, Yura will provide unrivalled insight into their land that is one of Australia’s natural wonders. From the ancient and rugged beauty of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges to the brilliant sunsets over the vast landscape, the Adnyamathanha people will connect you to millennia of tradition and culture on this unforgettable land.

Complete cultural immersion on a four day walk in Tasmania

wukalina Walk, Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania

The wukalina Walk is a four day Aboriginal owned and operated guided walk based around the magnificent natural landscape of the incredible larapuna (Bay of Fires) and wukalina (Mt William) areas, in North East Tasmania, the cultural homeland of the palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal culture). The walk is a genuine cultural experience that will deepen your understanding of palawa culture and community as well as immerse you in the natural and rugged beauty of wukalina and larapuna. Guests spend two nights of absolute comfort in bespoke palawa inspired (domed) huts and one night in the meticulously renovated Lighthouse Keepers Cottage at larapuna. The experience will provide an opportunity to walk with palawa guides in the footsteps of their traditional people, you will hear first-hand palawa creation stories and participate in cultural practices that have been passed down for hundreds of generations. The walk concept and design ensures guests experience a product on par with great walks found throughout Tasmania and nationally, with innovative and world class accommodation, food and interpretation.