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New Australian indigenous experiences for groups
From an immersive light and sound show at Uluru to a thought-provoking walking tour of Hobart, these new Indigenous experiences for business events groups reveal more of Australia’s 60,000-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture than ever before.
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, one of Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences, has launched a new immersive light and sound show at Uluru that combines ancient Anangu storytelling with state-of-the-art drone and laser light technology. Developed in close consultation with the Anangu custodians, Wintjiri Wiru - which refers to a ‘beautiful view out to the horizon’ in the local language – sees more than 1,000 drones take flight each night to bring to life a chapter of the Mala ancestral story, accompanied by a narration and soundtrack with traditional inma (traditional ceremonial music) recorded with members of the local Anangu community. The Sunset Dinner experience can be booked exclusively for groups of up to 130 guests and includes cocktails on a purpose-built viewing deck and a gourmet picnic hamper featuring native ingredients, or groups can choose the After-Dark experience which includes a light refreshment.
Following a sold-out breakthrough season in 2022, new Tasmanian walking tour company Blak Led Tours has gone from strength to strength. Takara nipaluna – ‘Walking Hobart’ – is a gripping 90-minute walking tour that gives voice to the palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) perspective, history and continued presence within Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart, and exposes the layers of history beneath the surface. Created by palawa/warlpiri woman Nunami Sculthorpe-Green in collaboration with Tasmanian playwright Sarah Hamilton, takara nipaluna is informative, provocative, entertaining and surprising. Private tours of takara nipaluna are available on request for groups of up to 35 guests, and the company is working on expanding their offering to incorporate private group tours of other nearby sites of significance.
Just 40 minutes from the city of Adelaide/Tarntanya, Gemtree Wines – part of the Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia collective – has recently collaborated with local Ngarrindjeri elder, Mark Koolmatrie to develop the Wuldi Cultural Experience. A nod to the belief that the eagle or ‘wuldi’ in Ngarrindjeri language keeps a watchful eye over how humans interact with the environment, the Wuldi Cultural Experience shares ancient stories of the Traditional Owners and the way they cared for the land, waters and ecosystem. The experience for up to 20 guests begins with a gentle one-hour guided walk along Gemtree’s peaceful Eco Trail, followed by a native food tasting plate featuring ingredients grown onsite at Gemtree’s organic garden or sourced locally, paired with commentary from Mark. Guests will also enjoy a wine tasting flight of four certified organic and biodynamic wines enjoyed amongst the beautiful natural surroundings of the Gemtree property.
Onboard Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel, one of Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences, groups visiting Cairns can now discover the 60,000-year-old connection between Australia's Indigenous culture and the Great Barrier Reef whilst simultaneously giving back to the reef. The company, which weaves a narrative of storytelling and cultural education throughout its tours via its Indigenous Sea Ranger cultural guides, now offers a new experience where guests can contribute to the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef through dedicated ‘Reef Recovery Days’. Available for private groups of up to 50 guests, Reef Recovery Days combine science and culture with a full day at Hastings Reef involving hands-on action where guests help to attach coral fragments to special ‘Reef Stars’ - hexagonal steel structures that provide a stable base for coral fragments to grow. Groups leave with a better understanding of modern approaches to reef preservation along with traditional ecological reef management by the Traditional Owners of Queensland’s Sea Country.
Aboriginal Art Co’s gallery space in Brisbane/Meeanjin is a multi-purpose facility with gallery and retail, outdoor courtyard and artist-in-residency studio space. Located in South Brisbane, just a short stroll from the Southbank Promenade, the gallery was established in late 2021 to promote and connect visitors to authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products and tourism experiences. Its offering has evolved to incorporate guided tours of the First Nations public artworks in nearby Fish Lane, after which groups will return to the gallery for lemon myrtle tea and a yarn (informal conversation). Experiences can be tailored to include a weaving or traditional jewellery making workshop, a private talk from an exhibiting artist, or a sneak peek behind the scenes of Aboriginal Art Co’s social enterprise fashion label Magpie Goose which has its warehouse upstairs. The gallery also collaborates with local Indigenous chefs to serve native-infused canapés for groups on request.
In the heart of Melbourne/Narrm, Koorie Heritage Trust – one of Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences – will soon be expanding to become a stand-alone First Nations arts and cultural centre occupying all three floors of the Yarra Building at Fed Square. With construction underway and slated for completion by August 2023, the expansion will introduce new exhibition galleries, community engagement and education spaces, and an expanded retail experience. First Nations architect Jefa Greenaway of Greenaway Architects has worked with Lyons and Architecture Associates to develop a considered culturally sensitive plan for the building interior design and fit-out that reflects Country and place. The expansion aims to facilitate a seamless visitor experience of the largest collection of Koorie art and artefacts in Australia, as well as increasing the size and scale of the annual temporary exhibition program and creating more flexible public spaces. After exploring Koorie Heritage Trust, groups can enjoy an Indigenous dining experience at Big Esso by Mabu Mabu, an Indigenous-owned bar and kitchen which is located next door.
Well-known Western Australian Indigenous tourism venture Dale Tilbrook Experiences, also a member of Discover Aboriginal Experiences, has recently relocated its art gallery to Mandoon Estate in the Swan Valley. Just 30 minutes from Perth/Boorloo, Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery specialises in fine art by Indigenous artists from Western Australia, displaying works that are contemporary, colourful, and connected to Country. Groups visiting Mandoon Estate – one of the Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia – can kick off their day with glass of sparkling and a private tour of the gallery hosted by Wardandi Bibbulmun woman Dale Tilbrook, followed by her signature bush tucker experience. Affectionately known as 'The Bush Tucker Queen', Dale shares her deep knowledge of Australian native edibles, Indigenous farming methods and the history of the Traditional Owners of the area, the Noongar peoples.
Published: 14 June 2023