The Aboriginal peoples of Australia are considered one of the world’s most ancient living cultures. With a history dating back more than 50,000 years, their culture is rich with spirituality and wonder. Their deep connection to the land is showcased through their rituals, art, dance, music and Dreamtime stories – the time when their ancestral spirits created the land and all life.
A trip to Australia wouldn’t be complete without experiencing at least some of the cultural activities of the Indigenous peoples. Sure, Australia has beautiful beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, and so on – but there’s a lot more to offer when you get a more cultural and historical perspective.
Taking the opportunity to engage with Aboriginal Australia can help you learn about their fascinating culture and gain a deeper appreciation for the landscapes that surround you while seeing a side of Australia you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. A number of genuine Indigenous guides are available in Australia that wish to welcome you to their land. They can tell you stories that are thousands of years old, take you to view ancient rock art galleries, help you explore remote pristine destinations, and in some cases allow you to visit sacred and protected areas that remain closed to regular tourists.
Adding an Indigenous experience into your trip does not have to be difficult. In many cases, these guides can provide insight into destinations which you would already plan to visit such as Sydney and other popular tourist spots. For example, here are a few tips for how a truly local guide can provide some unique experiences around Australia:
- Not far from Sydney, in the Blue Mountains, is the Waradah Aboriginal Centre. Here, visitors can take a guided Aboriginal Walkabout to see sacred sites, taste “bush tucker” (Aboriginal bush food), see native wildlife, or experience traditional dance and interactive didgeridoo performances.
- Check out the Indigenous Tourism experiences hosted at the Australian Museum in Sydney.
- Take an Aboriginal heritage tour in the Royal Botanic Gardens.
- Join the Nura Diya Aboriginal Wildlife Experience at Taronga Zoo where you can get an Indigenous perspective and local introduction to Australia’s native wildlife.
- Experience rich Aboriginal history with The Bama Way and learn traditional fishing techniques in the mangroves before visiting the Mossman Gorge Centre to hear enchanting stories about the rich Indigenous heritage.
- Spend time with Willie Gordon, a Nugal-warra Elder and visit ancestral rock art sites with Guurbi Tours.
- Immerse yourself in authentic music, dance and storytelling at Tjupukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
- Take an extended tour into Arnhemland with Lords or Davidson’s to view towering escarpments, living culture, ancient rock art, beautiful billabongs and panoramic vistas.
- Take a cruise down Nitmulik Gorge and meet the traditional owners of the land.
- Take a leisurely stroll around the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide to learn about Aboriginal bush foods and plants while you enjoy the tastes of the Australian Outback by sampling some native bush food products.
- Travel the Great Southern Touring Route to the Grampians and visit Brambuk, the National Park and Cultural Centre. Visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and watch the award-winning multimedia presentations in the Gariwerd Dreaming Theatre.
- Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria.
- Get Outback and camp out with Kimberley Wild Expeditions on a short tour around ancient sites.
- Take a break from wine tasting in the Margaret River and join a Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour.
It may surprise you that experiencing Aboriginal Australia is about a lot more than just roughing it in the Outback. After all, there are cultural and historical sites and activities in every part of the country, and experiences can be catered to every type and age of traveler. Whether you’re after a rich cultural discovery, an exhilarating and active voyage, an indulgent natural escape or a tantalizing taste adventure; any visitor can benefit from the unique knowledge and insight that an Aboriginal guide can offer to travelers.
For exciting Aboriginal experiences around Australia, check out Down Under Answers.
Editor’s Note: Down Under Answers is a paid sponsor of Budget Your Trip.