Exploring Australia’s Aboriginal Culture with Remote Camping and Immersive Experiences
On this 17-day trip to Australia get to grips with the country's fascinating and incredibly prevalent aboriginal culture. By visiting four different areas in New South Wales, the Red Centre, the Top End and the Daintree Rainforest you'll also see lots of this diverse country.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Enjoy a traditional welcome to the country in a smoking ceremony in Boudi National Park
- See Kata Tjuta rock formations at sun rise and incomparable Uluru at sunset
- Stay in a remote campsite in the Kakadu National Park on a four-day immersive visit
- Learn to hunt and forage for bushtucker with an aboriginal guide in the Daintree rainforest
Why Book with Original Travel?
When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1-2: International Flight
There are no direct flights from London to Sydney but several airlines fly via hub cities in Asia or the Gulf, or you can even connect in Perth.
We will recommend the best carriers and timings based on your preferences. The total flight time will be around 23 hours.
Day 2: Down Under
After a long two days flying and crossing time zones you'll be pleased to land in Sydney this morning and find a friendly member of our ground team waiting for you.
From the airport you will be privately transferred 90 minutes to your hotel on the beautiful Bouddi Peninsula. When you arrive there will be some time to settle in before you are treated to a traditional indigenous welcoming ceremony. The Bouddi National Park is a significant aboriginal area with over 100 recognised cultural sites in the park. To honour the rich heritage the welcoming ceremony will incorporate traditional dance and didgeridoo around a fire, with stories told by elder aboriginals and the opportunity to participate in the celebrations. This is a great introduction to the country and will set the tone for a fun-filled and fascinating holiday to come.
Day 3: Tallow Beach
Enjoy a lie in today as you adjust to the time difference and get over the flight tiredness. After a fresh breakfast with a sea view, join a guide from your hotel to go on a guided walk to nearby Tallow Beach.
The walk is around three hours long and your guide will pack a picnic lunch for you to enjoy along the way. As you walk you'll be fed information on local flora & fauna, medicinal plants, traditional bush tucker, and traditional indigenous stories. This afternoon, after the walk, there is some more time to relax in the sun at your hotel pool.
For dinner, sample some of the finest Aussie cuisine and a good glass of local wine.
Day 4: Bushcraft Skills
This morning you get up for a spot of sunrise yoga on the deck by the pool - it's a pretty great way to wake up. There will then be some time to relax and eat brunch.
Later today, enjoy a half day cultural bushcraft experience with a guide from your lodge. Visit indigenous sites and build your knowledge on edible or medicinal wild plants, then enjoy a didgeridoo lesson and a traditional fire-making session. Throughout the course of the tour you'll traverse the Bouddi Coastal Track which is characterised by sweeping views, shady rainforest and spectacular sandstone cliffs.
Day 5: To the Red Centre
After a few days experiencing the aboriginal influences on Australia's coast, today it's time to visit the famous heart of Australia's aboriginal heritage, the Red Centre.
You'll be transferred to Sydney airport for a three-and-a-half-hour flight to Ayers Rock airport, where you will then be taken to your new lodge in time to enjoy the rich red sandstone views before a very special sunset dinner where you'll be served a delicious four course meal overlooking the iconic Uluru in the distance. As well as enjoying the views you'll also be introduced to aboriginal culture through the food you eat, which is inspired by the native herbs, spices and cooking techniques of the region.
Day 6: Rock Art
Wake up early to your first full day in the Red Centre and join an expert aboriginal guide to learn more about the region's ancient cave paintings. You'll be exploring Cave Hill, which is the site of the Seven Sisters (an aboriginal creation story) artwork.
With your guide, learn more about the story and admire the intricacies of the artwork and then climb to the top of the cave for 360-degree views of the surrounding area, including Uluru in the distance. As well as learning about the rock art and cave site itself you'll also be taught more about traditional bushtucker foraging techniques and then sit down to eat a traditional meal.
After lunch, return to your lodge and spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool or exploring on your own.
Day 7: Kata Tjuta National Park
You've got an action-packed day of exploring ahead today. The fun begins with a sunrise tour of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, where you'll walk to the best vantage point to see the 36 domes that comprise this spiritual place, just as the sun starts to shed light on them. There will be time for a picnic and then you'll visit Walpa Gorge (named for the wind - Walpa - that whistles between the massive domes of Kata Tjuta) and learn more about the geology and spiritual significance of Kata Tjuta itself.
After a break from exploring for lunch back at your lodge you will continue the tour by visiting the mighty Uluru with your guide. As you walk around the base of the huge monolith your guide will stop to show you the Mutitjulu Waterhole, as well as to teach you more about the spiritual aboriginal significance of the site. As the light starts to fade you will then stop for sparkling wine and appetisers while watching the sky glow as orangey red as your rocky surroundings.
Following your busy day, unwind with dinner and drinks at your lodge and reflect on all that you've seen and learnt today.
Day 8: Heading North
Leave the Red Centre behind today and begin the journey north to Darwin where your next adventure begins.
You'll be transferred to the airport for the flight to Darwin, which takes just under four hours, including a quick stopover in Alice Springs en route. When you arrive you will be transferred to your hotel, and the afternoon is yours to spend exploring this small city at your leisure. There are numerous attractions in and around the city which our Concierge will be able to help you book, or else you might just like to relax by the waterfront lagoon and enjoy the sun.
Day 9: To Kakadu
This morning you kick-off a four-day adventure around Australia's so called 'Top End' with one of the most well respected aboriginal guides in the business.
You'll be collected from Darwin to begin a full day of adventuring which will see you head into the World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park. During the course of the day you'll see saltwater crocodiles in the Adelaide River, stop for photographs at the picturesque Leaning Tree Lagoon Billabong, have lunch at a traditional Aussie Roadhouse and enjoy a cruise on the Cooinda Yellow Water Billabong, which is famed for its abundance of amazing wildlife numbering over 280 different species.
As the day draws to a close you will then settle in at your tented camp for dinner and your first night in the outback.
Day 10: Carry On With Kakadu
Wake up to the sound of birdsong in your camp this morning, then get up to start exploring more of Kakadu National Park.
Today you'll visit Koolpin Gorge with your guide and can spend several hours walking, scrambling or climbing the seemingly endless series of gorges you'll find here. As you explore, enjoy ever changing views including of waterfalls, plunge pools, white sandy beaches and a lot more. As your guide is an expert on the area they will be able to find hidden spots to sit and rest in and enlighten you on all the history of the area too.
This evening you'll return to camp for dinner and enjoy some time gazing at the night sky views.
Day 11: Arnhem Land
Today your guide will take you to the protected Arnhem Land, where some of the most important aboriginal artwork in Australia is found. This area is only accessible to those with specific permission from the aboriginal people and so your guide's long-standing relationships with the locals is essential.
Your first stop of the day will be at the Injalak Arts and Craft Centre, where you have the opportunity to meet some local aboriginal artists. From here, carry on to see the ancient rock art on the nearby Injalak Hill, an extensive shelter featuring layered paintings created over thousands of years.
After admiring the art, climb up to the top of the hill where you can have lunch overlooking the stunning floodplains. The afternoon will then be spent relaxing back at camp.
Day 12: Barramundi Gorge
Your final day of your tour through the Top End is all about Barramundi Gorge. With your guide to lead the way you'll walk through sun-monsoon rainforest for just over half a mile to reach the base of the gorge's beautiful plunge pool.
Here spend some time swimming in the crystal clear water of the waterholes and then dry off in the sun as you enjoy the views. You will then be driven back to Darwin for the night.
Day 13: To Daintree
The last leg of your Australian aboriginal adventure begins today as you leave Darwin and head to the Daintree Rainforest.
To get there, transfer to the airport in Darwin for a two-and-a-half hour flight to Cairns and then you'll be collected at the other end for the hour-and-a-half drive to your lodge in the heart of the lush rainforest.
When you arrive, settle in and go for a walk with one of the expert guides just before dusk. As you walk you'll be taught about the local flora and fauna as well as the aboriginal history of the rainforest, which is traditionally owned by the Kuku Yalanji people.
Day 14: Meeting the Kuku Yalanji
To complete your aboriginal education we have organised one final experience for you today. You'll spend a full day with a local Aboriginal tour guide, visiting a number of culturally significant areas and learning about the amazing relationships the Kuku Yalanji still have with their land.
Throughout the day there will be numerous opportunities to hear about aboriginal culture and to experience it for yourself. As you explore the Daintree Rainforest and neighbouring coastline you'll be able to have a go at collecting shellfish, try traditional hunting practises and practice throwing a spear. You'll also learn more about the uses of the local flora and can finish the day with a cooling dip in a freshwater stream.
Day 15: Last Day
As it's your last today, make the most of it and do some independent adventuring.
First, start the day with a morning yoga class at the riverside near your lodge . Next, borrow one of the lodge kayaks or canoes as well as some snorkelling gear and paddle along the nearby billabong (backwater), stopping to snorkel with freshwater turtles, eels, Jungle Perch and even a platypus.
This evening head into Port Douglas for dinner - our Concierge will be able to recommend a restaurant, or you might like to just explore and find somewhere yourself.
Day 16: Home Time
Sadly your time in Australia comes to an end today. The journey home starts with the hour-and-a-half transfer to Cairns airport, where you'll arrive in good time for your flight.
As with the outbound journey you can choose from several airlines and routes, with a stopover in either Perth, Asia or the Middle East. The flight time from Cairns to London is about 28 hours.
Day 17: Back in the UK
After a long flight you'll land in the UK today.
Jacqui is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.