Across Australia, there are many incredibly informative, moving, and valuable cultural tours led by local Aboriginal people – from short nature walks and bush tucker tours to multi day hikes and camping experiences on sacred country.
Whether you want to spend your entire holiday immersed in Aboriginal culture, or to add in a local tour to your adventure, there’s an educational and exciting experience to suit.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best Aboriginal-led cultural tours across Australia and chatted to a bunch of the tour operators about the importance of learning about the local Aboriginal culture while on country.
Why Should I Include an Aboriginal Cultural Tour on my Next Holiday?
Understanding the context and history of the land you’re exploring is important no matter where you are. What happened on the land before you arrived changes how you interact with it and enhances your experience of exploring it.
‘It’s important for people to understand the cultural significance of the place that they’re visiting,’ Kamla Webb from Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours told me.
‘When people come on our culture Gumbaynggirr experience we hope that they leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of not only the Gumbaynggirr culture but also First Nations people in general,’ she said.
Before COVID-19, many Aboriginal tour operators found their biggest market in international tourists. However, as Juan Walker from Walkabout Cultural Adventures told me, he’s had to make an enormous shift towards Australians travelling domestically instead.
‘We have been very successful and are enjoying sharing our tours, our knowledge and our culture with the domestic travellers,’ Juan said.
‘[Cultural tours] Provide a deeper insight and understanding to the area and the people they are visiting. For example, on a visit to the rainforest many [people] see various shades of greens and a variety of plants, but on tour with us, we explain the foods and resources that the plants provide for our people,’ Juan said.
There are Aboriginal led and owned cultural tours in every state and territory across the country, so you’ll always be able to add in a cultural experience on your adventures. This list is non-exhaustive and we’ll be adding to it over time!
Aboriginal Cultural Tours Around Australia
New South Wales
1. Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness – Narooma/Tilba
Yuin Retreat – 2 nights 2-8 pax
2. Bundyi Cultural Tours – Wagga Wagga
- Aboriginal Special Places Tour – 4 hours
- Aboriginal Cultural Tours – Taste of Wiradjuri – 6 hours
- Aboriginal Walkabout Tour – 2 hours
3. Explore Byron Bay Guided Aboriginal Tours – Byron Bay/Northern Rivers
- Bangalow Bush Tucker Tour – Every Thursday arvo
- Cape Byron Aboriginal Tour – 3x a week
- Broken Head Aboriginal Tour – Every Friday arvo
4. Sand Dune Adventures – Port Stephens
Aboriginal culture, sand boarding & quad bike tour – 1.5 hours
5. Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout – Blue Mountains
3.5km hike through rainforest – Daily 10:50am – 4:10pm
6. Minga Cultural Experiences – South Coast
Bingie Dreaming Track Tour – 1-2 hours 2-10 pax
Culture Camp in South Coast National Park – 1-2 nights 4-12 pax
7. Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours – Coffs Harbour
- Paddle adventures (SUP or kayak) around Solitary Islands Marine Park – 2.5 hours
- Full day Cultural Tour: Paddle & Walking Tour – 5 hours
8. Mossman Gorge Centre Voyages – Cairns
Mossman Gorge Dreamtime Walk – multiple times a day
Read more: Mossman Gorge Dreamtime Walk
9. Walkabout Cultural Adventures – Cairns
Guided rainforest walk, bush tucker, Aboriginal hunting practices – Full or half day tours
10. Adventure North Australia – Cairns
- Art and culture experiences
- Traditional Aboriginal fishing experiences
Not currently operating due to COVID
11. Dreamtime Dive and Cruise – Cairns
- Tour of the Great Barrier Reef – Full day
Only cultural reef experience
13. Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services – Canberra
- 2 hour tours – Mount Majura, Mount Taylor, Black Mountain
- Half day tours – Driving tour around Canberra to visit areas of Aboriginal occupation
- Full day tours – 4WD tours to Flea Creek, Namadgi National Park, or Scottsdale Reserve
14. Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures – Shark Bay
- Didgeridoo Dreaming Night Tour – 2 hours
- Kayak and Wildlife Adventure – Full day
- 4WD Tours – Full day
- SUP Tours – Full day or sunset tour
- Cultural Youth Camps
15. Koomal Dreaming Cape Cultural Experiences – South West Coast
- Ngilgi Cave Cultural Tour – 2.5 hours
- Didgeridoo Cave Tour – 1.5 hours
- Aboriginal Food, Cave, and Didge Tour – 3 hours
- ‘Kaya’ Cape Experience – 1.5 hours
- Cape Cultural Experience – 2.5 hours
- Djiljit Coastal Fishing Experience – 5 hours
16. Ngurrangga Tours – Pilbara
- Rock Art Tout – Nganjarli or Yaburrara – 2 hours
- 4WD Tag-along Tour – 10 hours
- Bush Tucker Tour – 4 hours
- Barrimindi Day Tours – Available on request
- Overnight and multi-day Tours – Available on request
17. Lirriwi Tourism – East Arnhem Land
- Bawaka Yolngu Day Tour
- Gove Gululu Day Tour
- Art Centre Day Tour
- Women’s Tour – Gay’wu (Dillybag) – 5 days
- Crossing Country – Yolngu Dhukarr – 5 days
- Art Tour – Arnhem Land – 4 days
18. Nitmiluk Tours – Nitmiluk Gorge
- Canoeing Trips
- Gorge Tours
- Helicopter Flights
- Cultural Tours
19. Yellow Water Cruise – Kakadu
Cruise along the Yellow Water Billabong – 90 or 120 minutes, up to six times a day
20. wukalina Walk – East Coast
- 4 day guided trek
- Max 10 pax
- Walk departs from Launceston each Sunday at 8am from late Sept/early Oct to Easter
- larapuna (Bay of Fires) and wukalina (Mt William NP)
21. Wilpena Pound Resort – Flinders Ranges
- Guided tour of Wilpena Creek – 2 hours
- Guided tour of Sacred Canyon in the Ikara-Finders Ranges National Park – 2 hours
Feature photo thanks to James Fisher/Tourism Australia