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Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Timeless Story - Aboriginal Western Australia

#imm #ate14

The world's most ancient living culture, Australia's Aboriginal people have a continuous history spanning at least 50,000 years.

Theirs is the oldest story on Earth and Aboriginal tourism operators help to keep their culture alive, and create employment opportunities for their families, by sharing their stories with visitors from around the world.

In Western Australia, you can connect with more than 65 Aboriginal tourism experiences in coastal, urban or outback environments.

Here are a selection:

See the world's largest collection of rock art

One of WA's newest Aboriginal experiences - Ngurrangga Tours - showcases the world's largest collection of rock art.

Taking people 'on country' has been a dream for Ngarluma man Clinton Walker for more than a decade. Ignited by a passion for sharing Aboriginal traditions and history, Clinton's dream is now a reality with the recent launch of Ngurrangga Tours, operating out of Karratha,in the Pilbara region of mid-north Western Australia.

Home to the world's largest collection of rock art, the Burrup Peninsula, located within the Murujuga National Park, is the highlight of Clinton's half day rock art tour.

“We're taking people on a journey to the real Pilbara, a place with the same historical significance as the Great Pyramid of Giza, with ancient petroglyphs that date back more than 30,000 years,” Mr Walker said.

“Everywhere you look there are signs of what life was like for the first inhabitants of the land, you just have to take the time to stop and look around…”

“By teaching people stories of past generations we are promoting a deeper understanding of our culture, which will assist the preservation of sacred and significant sites now and into the future,” Mr Walker said.

Ngurrangga Tours offer half day tours, with full day trips, 4WD tag along tours and overnight camping adventures also available.

Meet the Ardi people of the Dampier Peninsula

North of Broome, in the dramatic Kimberley region, you can join the saltwater people of the Dampier Peninsula – known locally as the Ardi region. They have survived for thousands of years by living off the region's plentiful seafood. Their knowledge of the pristine local beaches and waters will ensure you enjoy this coastal wilderness that is home to fish, turtles, dugongs, mud crabs, whales, dolphins and sharks.

Try your hand at catching mud crabs with Aboriginal elder Brian Lee on his Hunter's Creek Tagalong Tour - Or join Bundy's Cultural Tours and sample local bushfoods, have a go at spear making or take in a spot of night fishing.

While on the Dampier Peninsula, stay overnight at one of the region's coastal retreats such as Mercedes Cove (, Goombaragin Eco Retreat (, or award winningwilderness camp Kooljaman at Cape Leveque ( and dine at their beachfront restaurant.

Land and water based adventures

If 4WD adventure is more your style, Neville Poelina from Uptuyu Aboriginal Adventures runs a series of cultural bush tours that depart Broome. Neville is an expert at traditional spear fishing, and loves to cook, so you won't go hungry on his tours.

Passionate fisherman and Aboriginal guide Kurt Williamson from Barradict Sportfishing Charters ( has grown up fishing throughout the Kimberley. Kurt's knowledge of the region is extensive and he runs both land and sea based adventures, including tours departing Eco Beach south of Broome.

Explore geological wonders and take a spiritual journey

Between Broome and Kununurra, near Fitzroy Crossing, you'll find Mimbi Caves. Part of the 350 million year old Devonian Reef system, your guides Rosemary and Ronnie will take you on a guided tour of this spectacular geological site, which is also a place of spiritual significance to the Gooniynandi

Deep in the heart of the majestic Kimberley region, Dillon Andrews and his team welcome you to Bunuba Country. Learn the ancient Dreamtime stories of how this land was created and see the rock art that brings these stories to life. Tread in the footsteps and hear the amazing true story of Jandamarra, the freedom fighter whose magical powers are the stuff of legend, and explore Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge.

Heading east toward Kununurra, Wundargoodie Aboriginal Safaris, based out of Wyndham offers a range of unique Indigenous experiences, including a Womens only Kimberley Spiritual experience. Explore the ancient landscape and see age old rock art, including Wandjina and Gwee-arn (Bradshaw) art, much of which pre dates the last ice age.

Go foraging and cook your catch

On WA's mid north coast at Monkey Mia in the Shark Bay World Heritage area, learn about Aboriginal heritage and culture with Darren 'Capes' Capewell, owner of Wula Guda Nyinda Aboriginal Eco Adventures.Offering both day and night guided bush walks and kayak tours, Capes is increasing his focus on sourcing local, seasonal foods for beach 'cook ups' and tastings on tour.

In the popular Margaret River wine region, just three hour's drive south of Perth, experience a didgeridoo performance inside a cave or share in stories and food tastings around the campfire amidst the forest with Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming. Josh is also a passionate cook, and shares his culture and love of bush foods with chefs from around the world each year at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

To learn more about Aboriginal culture from the region, head to the Wardan Aboriginal Cultural Centre ( Further south near Albany you'll find Kodja Place – a unique collection of stories , photographs, art and objects from Kojonup's Noongar-Aboriginal and settler cultures.

Urban and coastal adventures

In Perth, Western Australia's capital, head to Kings Park & Botanic Garden and learn how the park was used as a place of ceremony and celebration by the local Noongar People. Next stop is the historic port city of Fremantle, where your guide from Indigenous Tours WA willshare stories from the Dreamtime until white settlement.

Urban Indigenous Tours ( is another Perth based operator that offers a fresh insight into the Perth Aboriginal community. The day trip includes an art class with a local Indigenous artist; contemporary bush tucker tastings, lunch at an Aboriginal Café in the heart of Perth and a didgeridoo lesson in Fremantle.

Home to Australia's whitest beach, Lucky Bay, the small coastal town of Esperance in WA's south east is home to 'Doc' Reynolds and his family. Doc runs Kepa Kurl Eco-Cultural Tours (, and coastal coffee hotspot the new Lucky Bean Café. This pop up café located at Lucky Bay serves espresso coffee with a view, and in the company of the local kangaroos who sunbake on the beach each day.

WAITOC leads the way in Indigenous tourism

The Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Committee (WAITOC - supports the growth of the Indigenous tourism industry in Western Australia and now represents more than 65 Aboriginal tourism operators ranging from accommodation, traditional dance and Dreamtime stories to contemporary history, bush tours and art.

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