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Monday, March 25, 2013

Yolngu Communities to Host Arnhem Land Tours


Travellers to Australia's Top End will soon be able to stay with Indigenous families in some of the most spectacular corners of Arnhem Land under plans to host guided tours of Yolngu homelands.


Lirrwi Tourism is preparing to launch multi-homeland tours that will enable visitors to experience Indigenous life and culture while camping with Yolngu families.


From later this year, the Yolngu Dhukarr tours will operate monthly for groups of up to 12 people, travelling with Indigenous guides to three different communities over five days.


Lirrwi Tourism Chairman Djawa Burarrwanga announced the tours at the Sydney Opera House on the weekend, where visiting Yolngu participated in the annual Message Sticks Festival of Indigenous arts and culture.


"Yolngu families are preparing to welcome travellers and share their way of life in the most authentic way possible," Mr Burarrwanga said. "Visitors will be able to make a personal connection with the world's oldest living culture while exploring some of Australia's most beautiful and remote landscapes."


The tours represent the next major step in the Yolngu Cultural Tourism Masterplan, which aims to develop dozens of Indigenous-owned tourism businesses and create a sustainable economy for Yolngu.


They will allow visitors to witness dance and ceremony, help gather and prepare bush foods, learn about Yolngu art, language and kinship, participate in hunting and fishing expeditions and visit locations rarely seen by outsiders.


Lirrwi Tourism Manager Matt Grooby said tour dates and prices would be announced in coming months, with the first tours to depart from Nhulunbuy later this year.


"These tours will allow Yolngu to share their culture with visitors while providing an economic foundation for their future," Mr Grooby said. "Tourism of this kind - developed by Yolngu themselves – will allow for several generations of a family to participate, helping them to remain on country and strengthen their culture."


Tours will include all ground transport, drivers, guides, camping equipment, bedding, meals and cultural experiences on three different Yolngu homelands.


To register interest contact Lirrwi Tourism by phone 08 8987 2828, email or visit



Photograph: Lirrwi Tourism Chairman Djawa Burarrwanga

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