November 8-15 this year marks NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week – an opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.
Following this year’s theme of “Always Was, Always Will Be”, we reckon now is a great time to book a tour or experience that’ll help you understand the heritage of our First Nations people, who have occupied and cared for this land for more than 65,000 years.
Whether you want to book something in now or bookmark it for later, here is a bunch of great options around Perth and a little further to get you started.
Nyungar Tours is run by Kerry-Ann Winmar, operating a few different tours with the main two being a South Perth Walking Cultural Tour and Kings Park Yorga’s (women’s) Walk. Outside of both being just beautiful walks, Winmar offers the opportunity to examine different aboriginal artefacts, learn about plants for food and medicinal purposes and more.
Operated by George & Lee-Anne Walley and run by George, Mandjoogoordap Dreaming will showcase a side of Mandurah you never knew existed. George runs a variety of different tours, ranging 1 to 2.5 hours, with some sticking to the Mandurah foreshore areas, while others will take you by bus further out to explore things like the oldest known living bacterial life forms, the thrombolites (Woggaal’s Noorook).
Next time you’re headed down south for a holiday, why not hit up the team at Koombal Dreaming to learn about the Wadandi and Bibbulman people of Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River? They offer some really unique experiences, like the Ngilgi Cave Cultural Tour, a Twilight Didgeridoo Cave Tour and even a Full Day Cultural Tour.
Go Cultural Tours
One of the best tour operators out of Perth is Go Cultural with owner/operators Walter and Meg McGuire. They offer 90 minute tours of Goomup (Elizabeth Quay), Karrgatup (Kings Park) and Goologoolup (Yagna Square), along with a couple of different Wadjemup (Rottnest Island) tours, including an incredible 2-hour “Premium Experience”.
Kaarak Dreaming Cultural Tours
Another to consider for your next camping trip south, Kaarak Dreaming is owned and operated by Maitland. There’s a few different options to choose from, with a focus that varies from Aboriginal bush medicine and native plants to mapping, the six Nyoongar seasons, smoking ceremonies, his own fantastic art and music with didgeridoo and tapping sticks.
Kepa Kurl Eco Cultural Discovery Tours
Kepa (water) kurl (boomerang) is the Aboriginal name for Esperance, and with this operator you’ll find out how Noongar people have lived in and maintained the beautiful surrounds of Esperance. There are a few different options, including half and full day tours that explore some of Esperance’s stunning walking trails, while being educated on hunting and gathering techniques, dreamtime stories, bush food tastings and more.
Wanga Mia Meeting Place
For something a little closer to home, the Wanga Mia Meeting Place Aboriginal Experience is available as a public tour on Sundays and public holidays up in Yanchep. An excellent option for families, there’s didgeridoo demonstrations, tool exhibitions and a focus on the significance of plants and animals to the Noongar people. It’s also available as a private tour by request.
Warringari Aborignal Arts
Finding a nice mix between art and culture, Warringari out in Kununurra offer some wonderfully in-depth tours based out of their Art Centre. You can do short tours of the centre, along with larger Sunset Tours, a Mirima National Park Walk or a more intensive ‘On Country’ Culture Tour.
Another really nice cultural tour close to the city but showcasing a different area is Warrang-Bridil (enlighten to acknowledge), run by head operator Mervyn Abraham. The 60 minute walk takes you along the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River), across Matagarup Bridge and onto the Optus Stadium Precincet.
Lastly if you’re still on the hunt for other tours in different areas, WAITOC (Western Australian Indigenous Tour Operators Council) is a fantastic resource. The peak body for Aboriginal tours in WA, they’ve got a huge list of operators all over the State to check out.
Cover photo via Nyungar Tours