It’s never been easier to immerse yourself in Indigenous culture. Travel almost anywhere in the country and you will find Indigenous people offering activities and experiences that introduce you to the local culture. Whether you want to discover ancient sites, meet contemporary artists, or try some bush tucker, these experiences are real eye-openers.
Walk Tasmania’s indigenous trails
Larapuna country; Bay of Fires, Tasmania
With its eucalypt and grass tree forests, its granite outcrops and pristine beaches, the Bay of Fires is just made for hiking – and the area’s most memorable walk takes you deep into Tasmania’s Indigenous history. The three-night, four-day Wukalina Walk is guided by members of the local Palawa people, who share plenty of stories and cultural insights along the way. There’s not too much hardcore about this walk: your daily mileage ranges from 5km to 17km, dinners include scallops grilled in their shells over the fire, and guests sleep in timber huts under cosy duvets. Guests also get to try their hands at a range of activities, including making clap sticks and reed baskets.
Feast on bush tucker
Noongar country; Margaret River, WA
You won’t need a restaurant booking to enjoy one of Margaret River’s most memorable meals. Simply join Josh Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming for a gourmet barbecue lunch and enjoy a smorgasbord of seasonal Indigenous flavours – anything from salt bush to emu plum. The barbecue is available on a number of Whiteland’s tours, which explore the region through the eyes of the indigenous Wadandi and Bibbulman people. Visit one of the area’s dramatic limestone caves, home to a powerful spirit, or go foraging and fishing in Meelup Regional Park before cooking up the catch for lunch.
Visit Australia’s art island
Yermalner country; Melville Island, Northern Territory
A ferry ride from Darwin takes you to Bathurst Island, part of the Tiwi archipelago and a place where art is found everywhere. On the walls, in the shops, on the backs of passersby, distinctive Tiwi motifs are captured in colourful murals and printed on even brighter scarves. Tiwi Islanders excel at turning anything into art, from pandanus that is woven into baskets to ironwood trees that are carved into burial poles. AAT Kings offers a day trip that includes the opportunity to meet local artists as well as to see a totem dance.
Hear campfire tales under a starry sky
Adnyamathanha country; Flinders Ranges, SA
The Flinders Ranges is more than just one of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes: it is also the terrain in which the tales of the Muda (Dreaming) of the Adnyamathanha people are inscribed. At Iga Warta, guests can experience those tales firsthand through guided walks, visits to ochre pits and painting sites and, perhaps most memorably, around the campfire. As the aroma of damper drifts from the fire, hear the songs and stories of this resilient people – or stretch out the experience with an overnight camping trip.
Gaze on a hidden rock art gallery
Quinkan country; Laura, Queensland
Nestled under the towering sandstone escarpments that surround the outbacktown of Laura is a series of rock art galleries listed by UNESCO as among the top 10 rock art sites in the world. Along with ancestor spirits and hunting scenes, the rock art depicts the entire lore of the traditional owners, the Kuku Yalanji. As well as visiting many of these galleries, Johnny Murison’s Jarramali Rock Art Tours introduce you to some of the area’s other memorable experiences, including bathing in natural clifftop pools.
Get caught in a piece of history
Ngemba country; Brewarrina, NSW
Nestled in the curving arm of the Barwon river in northwestern NSW sits one of the most remarkable sites in the country. Created by the local Ngunnhu people, the fish traps at Brewarrina consist of a series of pools set along a half-kilometre stretch of the river, each of which could be closed off to trap the fish inside. The ingenious traps, which locals claim are the oldest man-made structure in Australia, and which were designed to work no matter how high the river level, provided one of the abundant food sources that made the area a meeting ground for people from 20 different tribes.
Plunge into saltwater life
Bardi country; Cape Leveque, WA
Set back from one of the Kimberley’s magnificent beaches, Kooljaman is a wilderness camp run by the local Bardi Jawi people. A number of elders lead immersive tours that take you deep into traditional culture and ways of life. Bolo Angus leads a Lullumb Coastal Walk that introduces you to the mangroves, mudflats and creeks that form part of the Bardi Jawi land. As well as sharing tales of how this land was created, Bolo will teach you some essential survival skills: how to find fresh water, how to build a shelter and how to survive in the bush.
Sharpen your boomerang skills
Wadawurrung country, Victoria
Most people know what a shooting range looks like, but what does a boomerang range look like? Find out at Narana Cultural Centre, where learning the art of boomerang throwing is just one way visitors can dive deep into Indigenous culture. Discover one of Victoria’s largest collections of Indigenous art and feast on Indigenous flavours at the café (try the wattleseed scones topped with lemon myrtle cream) before having a close encounter with wildlife including kangaroos and emus in the native garden.