So many Australians grow up not knowing much at all about Indigenous culture, let alone experiencing it in any way. Our education systems are still incredibly behind in the teaching of culture, First Languages and the true history of Australia. This means that so many Australians let alone international visitors never learn about the beautiful, incredibly rich culture of First Nations people. Today, we are going to be talking about four incredible locations where you can learn more about and experience Indigenous culture and art. We know that many of us are currently in lockdown, but put these destinations down on your list of must dos and enjoy reading about and dreaming about your future holidays.
East Arnhem Land. Courtesy of Northern Territory, 2021.
Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory is an incredibly gorgeous untamed landscape featuring red rock formation and beautiful wetlands. The key town in Arnhem Land is Nhulunbuy, home to the Yolngu peoples. In the 1970’s Yolngu leaders began moving away from the town and mission communities to return to their traditional lands. There are a number of tours and trips which allow you to experience this beautiful and Aboriginal culture in an authentic way. One such group is run by Nature Philosophy who run tours as a development program in the community of Mäpuru. The annual Garma Festival is another incredible way to immerse yourself in the culture of the Yolngu people. The festival takes place in Gilkula, a ceremonial meeting ground 40km from Nhulunbuy. Thousands of visitors have the opportunity to be a part of the exchange of dance, song, arts, crafts and knowledge (Traveller, 2021) .
Tiwi Islands. Courtesy of Urban List, 2021.
The picturesque Tiwi Islands are situated 80kms north of Darwin and include the islands of Bathurst and Melville, as well as nine smaller uninhabited islands. The Tiwi Islands are a place of significance for Indigenous art and culture, as the majority of the population is Aboriginal. The islands also boast incredible natural beauty with pristine waters perfect for fishing adventures (Traveller, 2021). You can take a walking tour around the Wurrumiyanga, the largest settlement on Bathurst Island. A local guide will take you through the early mission precinct and the Patakijiyali Museum where you’ll see displays of traditional art and Dreamtime stories. You’ll also have the opportunity to spend some time with local artists as they weave and paint. The islands are also renowned for their incredible art centres check the iconic Tiwi Designs, Jilamara Arts and Munupi Arts and Crafts (Broadsheet, 2020).
Dreamtime Walks at Mossman Gorge. Courtesy of ABC News, 2018
Mossman Gorge located in Far North Queensland, 20km from Port Douglas is a part of the world’s oldest surviving rainforest, the Daintree. The Daintree Rainforest is the land of the Kuku Yalanji people. For millennia they have lived here in harmony with their environment, and today visitors have the opportunity to meet local people and learn some of their stories (Traveller, 2021). The Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks are the perfect way to learn about the rainforest and Indigenous culture. Local Indigenous guides will share dreamtimes stories and knowledge about the traditional use of plants, discovery of bush foods, ochre painting, and at the end of your journey you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some traditional tea and damper. Mossman Gorge is renowned for its pristine crystal clear waters, so be sure to also go for a dip while you’re there (Mossman Gorge centre, 2021).
Uluru. Courtesy of Bookmundi, 2021.
Uluru is a truly iconic Australian landmark that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. There is no downplaying the incredible presence of this red rock and the rich Indigenous culture of the area. The Anangu people are the traditional owners of the Uluru region. Uluru is a sacred site, the ancient art, stories and landscape is represented in Tjukurpa, the foundation of the Anangu way of life. It’s important that you respect the wishes of the Anangu people and don't climb the rock. There are plenty of other ways to experience Uluru and learn more about the Indigenous culture and history of the area. You can walk the perimeter of Uluru and discover ancient rock art or join local Indigenous guides on the Lungkata Walk, which brings to life the Kuniya Tjkurpa dreaming story. Also be sure to visit the beautiful Mulgara Gallery or try out a painting workshop with Maruku Arts (Northern Territory, 2021).
We hope this gets you inspired to learn more about and experience Indigenous culture by visiting some of the incredible environmental gems beautiful Australia has to offer.
We at Yarn, acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples. We pay our respects to all Elders,
past, present and emerging.