It’s time for all of us to get better acquainted with Indigenous Australia’s rich history and culture.
After chatting to some friends about our time in primary and high school, it became apparent that most of our history ‘lessons’ about Australia and its Aboriginal people were nothing more than a couple of picture books about Dreamtime and a one-sided story about two white people who got lost in the bush and claimed it as ‘exploration’ after they were saved by an Aboriginal man.
The point is, why not explore our own backyard beyond hitting up pretty places and taking a few happy snaps? Let’s fully immerse ourselves, team.
Enter Walkabout Cultural Adventures of our sunniest state, Queensland – there’s science behind this claim, I’m sure of it.
Taking place where two heritage sites meet – the oldest surviving rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef – Walkabout Adventures sightseeing and cultural tours will give visitors an insight into the culture of the Kuku Yalanji people.
100% Aboriginal owned and operated, Walkabout Cultural Adventures tours are led by Kuku Yalanji guides like Juan, who has been teaching visitors about his culture for 15-plus years.
“I am of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. I am an Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal man from Mossman. The Kuku Yalanji are the original peoples of the world’s oldest living lowland tropical rainforests known as the Daintree in Tropical North Queensland Australia. I grew up in this area and was lucky enough to have learnt quite a lot about my culture and how to use the land,” Juan explains.
“To my family and Kuku Yalanji, the Daintree is a very special place. It is where our people’s history and culture came from. It is where I played and learnt about the land, it is what my children will learn about too. To my family and people this place is home.”
The half-day or full-day tours give you the option to do a cultural tour or a sightseeing tour, but, even if you choose the sightseeing option, you’re guaranteed to walk away from the tour with a plethora of knowledge about how the Kuku Yalanji people used nature to their advantage.
Both tours also involve bush tucker sampling, treks through the Daintree Rainforest, Mossman, Mossman Gorge and the Daintree River, plus you’ll learn about medicine which, as Juan points out, is still prevalent in today’s society.
“I think what most people don’t realise is the history of Australia and the Aboriginal people, and in this area, how recent all of the changes in our peoples have had to adapt to – and how many of our local bush medicines are still known and how our people used them.”
But wait, there’s more:
“A typical tour starts with a pick-up from accommodation. We then travel north to Daintree and guests will learn a little about the history of the Kuku Yalanji people and the local region.
“We travel to a local beach and do some spear throwing and have a try catching a mud crab or fish [before stopping] for a picnic lunch. We next visit the rainforest for a guided walk learning about natural medicines, native foods, plants, animals and then allow a little free time to have a swim in a local freshwater stream before finishing the tour.”
Even my childhood crush, Masterchef’s Justine, and the crew over at SBS have participated in this tour, and I love me some SBS – they know how to respectfully go about pretty much everything.
When you compare how long you line up for rides at Disneyland with the length of a full-day tour (8am – 5:30pm), it just makes you realise that the time you spend angrily wishing that people in front of you would hurry up so you could get sprayed with water on a 50-year-old roller coaster, you could instead be learning about the 40,000+ year culture of our own country.
Juan puts it much better though, so maybe just ignore my clunky Disneyland analogy:
“I like to show people on tour everything I have learnt about the land and natural ecosystems here. It gives me great pride in showing off the amazing place I live in and how, if you learn about the land, you begin to appreciate it more.”
You can have a full peruse of the tours here and if you’ve put it high on your to-do list, you’ll be happy to know that the tours have officially reopened.
Here’s Juan to deliver the good news personally: