Bawaka Homelands, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Rob Mulally
5 reasons an Aboriginal experience is a must
Experiencing an Aboriginal tour can be eye-opening – and even life-changing. Here’s why.
By Leah Dobihal
If you think seeing Australia with your own two eyes is incredible, you’ll be blown away as you begin to view things through an Indigenous lens with the help of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guides.
There are so many reasons an Aboriginal experience belongs on your itinerary; here are just a few.
It’ll broaden your mind
With knowledge passed down through tens of thousands of years, it’s no surprise that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a distinct perspective not only of the land, but of life itself.
Have you ever thought about a rainforest as a tool box? Or a church? Because Kuku Yalanji man Juan Walker has.
"To Kuku Yalanji, the Daintree Rainforest is a medicine chest, a toolbox, a hardware store, a supermarket, a church; it’s everything all in one."
Embarking on a tour with an Indigenous guide will certainly offer you a fascinating point of view – but that’s not all. It’s also an exercise in broadening your own mind and challenging yourself to think differently.
How to experience it: Spend a day with Juan from Cultural Walkabout Adventures and learn to see the Daintree Rainforest (and indeed nature as a whole) in a new way. Between eating green ants and catching mud crabs, you’ll find those quiet moments to listen and learn.
You’ll connect with 60,000 years of story telling
They say you can’t know a country until you know its story – and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are an intrinsic part of Australia’s past, present and future.
They are Australia’s first astronomers, interpreting the southern sky to navigate the land and tell stories of Earth’s creation. They are Australia’s first artists; their rock art painted before the last Ice Age is still visible today. They are Australia’s first explorers, dancers, historians, even chefs!
When you explore with the guidance of a Traditional Owner, you share in an Australian story 60,000 years in the making.
How to experience it: Embark on a historical journey at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum, the First Australians exhibition in Canberra, or the eye-opening theatre performance at Spirits of the Red Sand near Brisbane.
It’s a whole lotta fun
At times, Aboriginal experiences can be serious and profound. But when the time is right, there is so much fun and laughter to be had. Don’t forget – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are Australia’s original comedians.
Aboriginal guides are friendly and full of life – and adventure! You might find yourself wading through a creek, eating native berries straight from the bush or sliding down a sand dune. Plus, there’s bound to be a giggle or two when you try something new, like throwing a boomerang or spear fishing.
How to experience it: The fun never ends on a tour with Wula Gura Nyinda. Located in the red-cliff landscape of Western Australia’s Shark Bay, a Wula Gura tour will have you kayaking, snorkelling and four-wheel driving, all while learning about traditional culture from a passionate guide.
You’ll be granted exclusive access
Australia is home to countless incredible destinations, and some can only be accessed when you’re accompanied by an Indigenous guide.
By booking an authentic Aboriginal tour, you’ll get to visit some of Australia’s most impressive landscapes and communities. It’s your chance to see breathtaking scenery that few others have seen, and make lasting memories with people you may otherwise have never met.
It’s a great bonding experience
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture centres around family and kinship, and visitors often come away from an Indigenous tour with a stronger connection to their “mob” (family and friends).
An Indigenous tour is a shared experience – the lessons, the emotions and the fun. Whether you learn to look at the stars as a map of the land or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with Indigenous sea rangers, your group will create a memory you’ll never forget.
How to experience it: A Ngaran Ngaran overnight experience offers the chance to spiritually connect as you participate in a sunrise gratitude ceremony, climb a sacred mountain and have a ‘yarn’ with your local guide.