5 Indigenous Experiences Around Australia That Take You Deeper

Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel

Uncover ancient secrets inside the heart of big cities or have your soul moved by the storytellers in remote outback communities – the Australia you never knew is the Australia you’ll never forget.

Take these Aboriginal-guided tours to meet Traditional Custodians who will bring the lore, culture, art and wildlife of our iconic seas and landscapes to life.

Venture into a lost world inside a dormant volcano

Rising dramatically from a lake inside a volcanic crater, the forest-clad peaks of Tower Hill near Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road have always been of great significance to the Dhauwurd Wurrung people. After the arrival of Europeans led to their displacement and the rapid degradation of the landscape, this place became the state’s first national park in 1892 and has since been revegetated – the natural environment returning to its original condition as a State Game Reserve.

Now, with Worn Gundidj @ Tower Hill, you can stand inside the sleeping volcano alongside a Traditional Owner. See the region’s entire history play out, from the explosive forces that formed the crater around 30,000 years ago to the present day; learn about traditional uses for the native plants; and get up close with Australian fauna such as koalas, roos, echidnas, emus and sugar gliders.

Discover sacred sites beneath Perth’s skyscrapers

In and around the foundations of Perth’s gleaming CBD lies an extensive network of ancient campgrounds, lakes and sacred sites. Walk along the waterfront on Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experience’s Goomup (Elizabeth Quay) Walking Tour, guided by Noongar man Walter McGuire, to unlock the secrets of this ancient landscape.

After a traditional welcome, learn how McGuire’s ancestors fished, hunted game and harvested plants that still grow in the city centre. Hear songs and the stories that explain how the surrounding landscape was created and named and discover what happened to the vast ring of lakes that were important meeting points up until the 1940s.

Live off the land in the heart of Australia

Australia’s dusty Red Centre can look like a harsh and unforgiving place but seen through traditional eyes, it transforms into a land of plenty. Between Alice Springs and Uluṟu, in the shadow of Watarrka National Park’s spectacular gorges and ridges, Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Tours shares the knowledge that turns the surrounding desert into a native supermarket brimming with flavours, medicine and essential hardware.

Hunt out and eat witchetty grubs, honey ants and other bush tucker on the Aboriginal Cultural Tour then discover the lifesaving properties of common plants that can be used as bush cures. Once you’ve mastered the tools of survival, get an insight into Luritja and Pertame (Southern Arrernte) culture as guides explain the secrets of dot painting and show how mulga wood is shaped into spears, boomerangs and clap sticks.

Explore a secret canyon in one of the oldest landscapes on Earth

Once taller than the Himalayas, South Australia’s Flinders Ranges are now home to 500-million-year-old fossils and a dramatic natural amphitheatre whose walls turn blood-red at sunset. These geological marvels are brought to life through the rich spirituality of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners.

One of the most important sites is the cathedral-like Sacred Canyon, which can only be visited with an Adnyamathanha guide on the Sacred Canyon - Yura Mulka - Cultural Walk, starting out from Wilpena Pound Resort. From your accommodation at the outback resort, you’ll make the pilgrimage south past gnarled gums and into a narrow gorge to discover a place of quiet contemplation where the sheer sandstone walls are decorated with ancient petroglyphs of animal tracks, waterholes and camp sites that can be deciphered by your guide. 

Swim with ancient spirits at the Great Barrier Reef

You don’t need a scuba tank to go deep beneath the blue surface of the iconic Great Barrier Reef. To see its breathtaking colours, marine life and coral in a whole new way, head out with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel and connect with unbroken oral histories that record the formation of the coral reef 6000-8000 years ago. 

Feel the wind in your hair as you cruise to the outer reef and learn about the complex relationship between man and the natural environment from Indigenous sea rangers representing the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji, Gunggandji, Mandingalbay and Yirrganydji Traditional Custodian groups. As you snorkel through a dazzling underwater world inhabited by brightly coloured fish, rays and turtles, you’ll meet some of the Totems and characters from Dreamtime stories.  

SEE ALSO: 15 Incredible Aboriginal Cultural Experiences Around Australia

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Image Credits: Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel

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