With captivating stories and traditions that have been passed down by their ancestors, Australia’s First People and the traditional custodians of the land will introduce you to a side of Australia that has been carefully preserved through generations, thereby making it an unmissable experience of a lifetime.
By Nishant Kashikar,
Though widely seen as a young country, Australia in fact has a distinct heritage that spans centuries beyond its colonial past, as it houses the world’s oldest living culture. And you can immerse yourself into this rich cultural journey along with the indigenous Australians – the Aboriginals themselves as your guides. With captivating stories and traditions that have been passed down by their ancestors, Australia’s First People and the traditional custodians of the land will introduce you to a side of Australia that has been carefully preserved through generations, thereby making it an unmissable experience of a lifetime.
From getting first hand access to their incredible Aboriginal collections from the past to engaging yourself into their way of life, here are some of the best Aboriginal experiences that must feature in your travel bucket list:
Indulge in a centuries-old culinary experience
There is perhaps no better way to start your journey than to visit the sacred Uluru, a landmark of spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people. At the Ayers Rock Resort that is located just 20 kms from Uluru, sign up for a masterclass in bush foods to partake in the hunting practices used by the local Indigenous people to gather food. After which, you can learn how to cook with the traditional ingredients through a cooking class. You can also gather the tricks of some unique and ancient hunting techniques like using bamboo spears to fish from the Kuku Yalanji people of Tropical North Queensland. Once done, you get to enjoy a delectable sit down feast with your seafood haul as your guide narrates the deep history of their ancestral lands.
Learn more in the company of nature
Explore the picturesque coast of New South Wales and the traditional Yuin country with the Ngaran Ngaran Cultural Awareness initiative, which takes guests on an ascent to the sacred Gulaga Mountain and around the thickets of the surrounding National Park accompanied by local guides. Settle into the night after a hearty Aboriginal meal to the ambient sounds of the traditional yidaki wind instrument as Yuin elders share folktales and stories of their ancestors. For an aquatic adventure, cruise along the Corroboree Billabong to spot salt water crocodiles, after which you can pay a visit to the neighbouring Gunbalanya Aboriginal community to explore the stone country and wetlands of Kakadu. Complete your trip to the Northern Territory with a tour of the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre, where you can interact with traditional artists and embark on an exploration of some of Australia’s best Aboriginal rock art.
Dive into their culture in the midst of city life
Widely known for its presence in Australia’s Outback and more regional towns, Aboriginal culture and history also stretches far into the bustling city life as well, if you know where to look. Partake in a guided tour of Aboriginal Sydney by signing up for Dreamtime Southern X. Led by ‘Aunty’ Margret and her family, who hail from the coastal Dunghutti and Djerrinjah Nations, this tour will help you understand the deep connections shared between the land and her people. You can also take a trip to Cairns and pay a visit to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, one of the largest employers of Aboriginal Australians. It is home to an array of musical and theatrical performances that narrate Dreamtime stories, as well as a mini village where you can skill yourself in the art of dot painting, throwing a boomerang or even playing the didgeridoo.
Aboriginal culture reaches far beyond 50,000 years. It stretches beyond the Pyramids and the Acropolis of Athens, and is among the few rare gems of the world that is in existence today for people to experience from the custodians themselves. So, draw up your itineraries for a journey into Australia’s legendary past for your next trip Down Under!
The columnist is Country Manager- India & Gulf, Tourism Australia. Views expressed are the author’s own.