While you’ve most likely visited Byron at least once, can you say you’ve experienced Arakwal Bundjalung Country?


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Bundjalung people who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


  • Experience Indigenous stories, language, and culture on Country
  • Take in the stunning beaches and rainforest of Byron Bay and surrounds from a new perspective
  • Support Aboriginal-owned and led tourism

Have You Been to Bundjalung Country?

Byron Bay is possibly Australia’s most famous tourist town and over the years has been known as a whaling station, surf haven, hippie hideout, favourite family holiday spot, and more recently, an Instagram and celebrity paradise.

But like all of Australia’s great getaway destinations, there are tens of thousands of years of Indigenous history that visitors and locals alike are often largely unaware of. 

This is where outfits like Explore Byron Bay come in, offering guided tours of land, language, and culture, in this case, by well-known Arakwal Bundjalung woman Delta Kay.


Seeing Byron Bay in a New Light

‘We call that “Walgan”, or the shoulder in Bundjalung,’ says Delta, pointing to where the Cape Byron Lighthouse now sits.

‘That lighthouse was placed on land hardened by thousands of years of ceremonies.’

This is one of the many pieces of Aboriginal history we learn on a conversational two-hour stroll at The Pass, on a windy but crisp, clear winter afternoon. 



As we walk over the heavily-trafficked boat ramp to the beach, Delta points out a significant Aboriginal midden that most passers-by don’t even clock. 

Just under the earth are thousands of years of Arakwal history, which back in the 1990s, formed the basis of a recently successful native title claim for Traditional Owners – something Delta and her family were instrumental in fighting for over decades. 

‘Just imagine what else is under all this bitumen,’ says Delta, pointing to the car park and BBQ area.


Sharing Stories of Now and Then

After a welcome to Country in Bundjalung language, we’re taken to the top of the rock and hear more stories about growing up next to the then putrid abattoir, now the multi-million dollar Belongil. Delta tells us about the decades of destructive sand-mining at the now famous pristine beaches, as well as ageless stories passed down orally.

As she shares a story of the importance of the sea to Arakwal Bundjalung people, a pod of wajung (dolphins) suddenly appear as if to agree with her words, leaping and playing as we hear more about Wollumbin (Mount Warning) far across the bay, in the northern reaches of Bundjalung Country. 

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Like the middens, many stories shared for countless generations have later been ‘proven’ by western science, like the tales of ancestors who could walk on land to Nguthungulli (Julian Rocks), during a cooler glacial period around 10,000 years ago.


Tasting Country

After exploring the rocks and sand, we head into the pocket of rainforest tucked up behind the beach, where Delta knowledgeably points to plants, and with casual reverence, picks their fruit and leaves to explain the many medicinal and culinary purposes.



Of course, we get to try them as the afternoon is wrapped up with a bushtucker tasting platter spread across possum pelts and emu leather – the tastes include gulalung (finger lime) that pop like sour caviar, karkalla (pig face) that looks and tastes like ‘salty strawberry’ and native herbs akin to thyme and aniseed.

We mix these up in a local flora hot cuppa as the last bit of warming sun dips behind the trees.

Essential Gear

  • Comfy shoes that can get sandy and wet
  • Binang juri – your listening ears
  • A camera 
  • Pen and paper to take bushtucker notes if you’re keen like me
  • A booking with Explore Byron Bay

How To Get There

Tours start from the fitness station next to The Pass car park. In holiday season or weekend, make sure to arrive early to find a parking spot.