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The best Aboriginal experiences without leaving the city

These new inner-city experiences offer authentic ways to gain insights into Aboriginal way of life. 

By Jessica Wilkinson
Published: 20 April, 2017

When visiting Australia, whether you are in a city, travelling the outback or enjoying a coastal holiday, there are Aboriginal tourism experiences that can connect you with the world’s oldest living culture. Here we explore what new Aboriginal experiences there are to explore right in the heart of the capital cities. 

Kadoo Tours, Sydney

Kadoo tours, Watsons Bay, Sydney Harbour National Park, New South Wales

Tim Ella, of the Dharawal-Yuin people (a well-known local personality), along with Grant Hyde recently started Kadoo Tours at Watsons Bay Sydney Harbour National Park and La Perouse in the Kamay Botany Bay National Park. The immersive two-hour tours begin with a traditional ochre ceremony and Welcome to Country provide visitors with the chance to try bush tucker and learn about the traditional uses of plants and animals for food, medicine and ceremony. Tim will spin a bit of a yarn and share his personal history and tell some Dreaming stories as he guides you along the coastline and through native bushland.

Guringai Aboriginal Tours, Sydney

Set in the heart of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in Sydney, the newly formed Guringai Aboriginal Tours takes you to the park’s sacred sites with Guringai descendant Laurie Bimson and Yuin descendant Les Mcleod at the helm. During the tour you will see rock engravings while Bimson and McLeod share traditional stories that their ancestors would have told their children. If you choose the lunch option, you’ll be treated to a barbeque lunch that includes kangaroo, emu and fish with salad and fresh made damper (johnny cakes) with honey or golden syrup and tea and coffee to finish. 

GoCultural tours, Perth

Go Cultural tours, Elizabeth Quay, Perth, Western Australia

The GoCultural tours are run by husband and wife team, Walter and Meg McGuire and take you on an Indigenous walking tour of Perth’s new waterfront precinct, Elizabeth Quay. On the tour you’ll listen to dreamtime stories of Perth and its surrounding areas from a local Nyungar guide, as well as an interactive session with Indigenous artefacts and heirlooms. You will get to find out about the city’s sacred sites located in Perth’s CBD and surrounding suburbs which you can explore after the tour. 

Derbal Yerrigan Tour, Perth 

For a different way to see the Swan River, try the recently launched Derbal Yerrigan Tour which takes groups of up to 10 people on a cruise of the Swan River, to explore the culture and history of the Whadjuk people of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River). On the tour you will experience the land owners’ connection to the waterway and surrounds through language and stories, while enjoying the picturesque sights of the Swan River. The two-hour tours depart from and return to Elizabeth Quay via the Little Ferry Co.

The Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Melbourne

The Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria

Explore and experience the Melbourne Gardens with a cultural tour with an Indigenous guide. The Heritage Walks provides a unique insight into the history of both the Gardens (ancestral lands of the Koolin nation) and its traditional owners. The tour includes a traditional smoking ceremony, a guided walk through the Gardens, discussion about the traditional uses for food, tools and medicine, and finishes with a cup of lemon myrtle tea. 

Dharwra Aboriginal Tours, Canberra

Yankee Hat rock art, Dharwra Aboriginal Tours, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Dharwra Aboriginal Cultural Tours is a new Indigenous tour company operating out of Canberra.  They offer a range of guided tours from two to six hours in which local Ngunawal Traditional Custodians interpret various sites of significance in and around Canberra. You’ll learn about bush foods, artefacts and their traditional uses. Locations include Mount Majura, Mount Taylor, Black Mountain, Brindabella Mountains and Namadgi National Park. You can also sign up for a range of other activities including twilight tours, traditional weaving workshops, traditional doll/animal making workshop, bush tucker cooking class and Ngunawal language introduction. Watch this space for helicopter tours and kayak tours of the area. 

Quandamooka Festival

Quandamooka Festival, Brisbane, Queensland

The Quandamooka Festival runs from July to September with over 50 events that take place across Brisbane and Redlands, including Aboriginal cultural tours, traditional song and dance, music, art exhibitions, workshops, film nights, traditional food, markets, whale watching tours, storytelling, weaving, sand art, sporting events, speaker’s forums and much more. Also on offer are year-round Aboriginal land and sea tours of Quandamooka country with experienced Aboriginal guides, Elders and rangers.

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