Authentic Indigenous Experiences in the NT

Groups experience a cultural experience at famous Ubirr, Kakadu | Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught
Groups experience a cultural experience at famous Ubirr, Kakadu | Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught

Join in cultural conversations, sample authentic bush tucker, explore hidden rock galleries or experience a traditional Welcome to Country, these top cultural experiences provide a genuine insight into the Aboriginal peoples' continuing connection to the lands and communities across the Northern Territory.

As you delve into their stories and heritage on our immersive adventures, our wilderness guides and Indigenous guests offer a deeper understanding of the need to conserve their culture and respect their place and lifestyle.

These active travel experiences provide a cultural platform for a beautiful exchange as you learn about Indigenous Australian history.

Follow a 'Dreaming Pathway' or songline on the Jatbula Trail

A culturally significant area, the Jatbula Trail follows a songline that has many dreaming story crossroads. The trail is named after Peter Jatbula, a traditional owner who fought hard for the area to be returned to the Aboriginal people in the 1970s and 80s.

Tracing ancient passages, the hike through the exceptional Arnhem Land escarpment and Stone Country in the Northern Territory is elevated as you visit ancient rock art sites, which bring to life the Dreamtime stories handed down through the generations.

Exploring the magnificent Jatbula Trail |  <i>Larissa Duncombe</i> Gain a deeper understanding of the local Indigenous culture with visits to ancient rock art sites |  <i>Linda Murden</i> Remote trekking along the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

Interesting sites include the Jawoyn Aboriginal rock art hidden in the many stony outcrops and overhangs en route to Crystal Falls. You also explore the Amphitheatre, which is a rainforest gorge, with its rock shelters exhibiting the art of the Jawoyn Traditional Owners.


Taste authentic bush tucker in the Red Centre

Ever tried bush muesli? Well, there are plenty of unique bush foods on the menu on our Central Australian trips.

On our Classic Larapinta Trek in Comfort, local Indigenous specialist, Rayleen Brown leads a cultural talk and presentation along with a bush food platter that showcases a range of dukkhas, native herbs and spices, bush tomato and more.

Food glorious food; our menu includes many native bush foods |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

The meals served on our Northern Territory tours are sometimes based around the bush foods that she supplies, such as Lemon Myrtle Chicken.


Marvel at hidden rock art galleries in the Top End

In addition to the rock art found on the Jatbula Trail, Kakadu National Park offers an array of hidden rock art, which recount ancient stories, lore and songs significant to Indigenous Australian culture.

Coupled with the vast landscapes and rich wildlife, a visit to these rock galleries adds a unique element to your hike. Over 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage of both the present and past is on display in the Top End.


Joining a guided walking or cycling tour allows you to easily find these harder-to-get-to galleries and gain a deeper understanding of the local culture, with our insightful tour leaders strongly focused on highlighting its importance.


Experience the magic of the Standley Chasm still run by Traditional Owners

A sight to be seen, the beautiful Standley Chasm is just outside the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park and is a private reserve proudly owned and operated by its Traditional Owners as part of the lwupataka Land Trust.

Hiking in Standley Chasm, Larapinta Trail |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>

A cultural conversation is led by one of their local guides on our Larapinta walking holidays, where you learn about the site’s significance, being one of the areas where Aboriginal land has been passed back to them.

Exploring Standley Chasm on the Larapinta Trail |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i>

Also known as Angkerle Atwatye to the local Indigenous people, the site's rocky slopes rise an astonishing 80 metres above the chasm, which has been carved out over millions of years by a tributary of the Finke River system – purported to be the oldest river in the world.

There are even opportunities to immerse with the land by camping overnight on our trips, such as the Best of the Larapinta Trail and the Larapinta End to End, for a truly magical experience to connect with the ancient land.


Visit original ochre sources used in ceremonial rituals

The natural earth pigment used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years is a fundamental part of their life and culture, and a visit to the ochre deposits gives a fascinating insight into the history of how the land was used by Indigenous Australian tribes.

An Indigenous guide shows coloured ochres during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Matt Cherubino</i>

It was customary for men to dig the ochre, which became a significant commodity for trade with neighbouring nations and clans.

Along with the source of thousands of years of cultural connection and expression, ochre is believed to have a spiritual power that is released through ceremonial ritual.

You can also view the vivid colours of the mineral ochre pits on the Larapinta Trail in the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Exploring the Ochre Pits |  <i>Graham Michael Freeman</i>

Connect with the land with a traditional Welcome to Country

A long tradition among Aboriginal Australian groups, a Welcome to Country serves not only as a greeting for visitors but as a symbol that signifies the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' presence in Australia.

Limilngan-Wulna Aboriginal people welcome us to their country |  <i>Rhys Clarke, WE Guide</i>

When exploring the ancient land of Kakadu National Park, our active itineraries include a meeting with Wulna Aboriginal elders for a traditional Welcome to Country.

It provides a significant introduction to the Aboriginal connection between both an ancient environment and a surviving and celebrated ancient culture that makes this region truly worthy of dual World Heritage listing.

An Indigenous guide shares his knowledge of Aboriginal music during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Nick Pincott</i>


Better understand Indigenous Australian heritage on a cultural talk at Kings Canyon

Part of the climactic scenes that make up the ancient wonders of the Northern Territory is learning about the significance of each site visited.

Gain insights on Indigenous Australian culture and learn about Aboriginal art |  <i>Tourism NT/Archie Sartracom</i>

Working with the local Indigenous community of Wan­mar­ra, we partnered with a small family-run business at Kings Canyon that aims to pre­serve and main­tain Lurit­ja and Per­tame (South­ern Aran­da) lan­guage, cul­tur­al knowl­edge and her­itage to empow­er the younger generations.

The Indigenous guests offer one of the most informative, professional and interactive cultural tours in the Red Centre.

Gain insight into Aboriginal bush tucker during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Archie Sartracom</i> Guides showcasing bush foods during an Indigenous cultural experience |  <i>Tourism NT/Chris Tangey</i> karrke cultural kings canyon

The experience allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the need to conserve the Aboriginal cultures and respect their place and lifestyle in Australia, which time and time again proved to be a massive highlight for our travellers.

Visits to rock art at Uluru is also tied in with the tour, which is one of the few rock art sites open to the public in Central Australia.

With our knowledgeable wilderness guides leading you through scenic and iconic trails across Australia, each of these indigenous experiences will add an extra layer of meaning and cultural awareness to your active outdoor adventure.

Australian Walking Holidays respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of all of the areas that it operates in and thank them for sharing this beautiful land with us.

Indigenous Experiences, Australia travel

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