Aboriginal tours in Western Australia

There are a growing number of aboriginal tours and experiences across Western Australia, from the Kimberley in the north down the coast to Perth and along the south coast to Esperance.

'Buna' dreaming tour in Western Australia. Photo by Richard MaddenAboriginal cultural tours, Monkey Mia

Darren 'Capes' Capewell is a descendant of the traditional owners of Shark Bay - 'Gadhaagudu' in the local tongue, meaning the 'two waters' of the eastern and western peninsulas. Capes takes visitors to Monkey Mia on aboriginal cultural walks through his traditional country.

Called 'Wula Guda Nyinda' ('You Come This Way'), Capes' tours look at the land from an aboriginal point of view, "from the inside and not the outside".

He runs a number of different tours which in varying ways explore the ancient traditions of the local Malgana and Nhanda people, tasting local bush tucker, learning about medicinal plants and indigenous languages, spear and boomerang throwing, animal tracking and listening to dreamtime stories accompanied by the didgeridoo (which Capes is at pains to explain did not originate in WA).

His tours include a daytime 'Buna' dreaming tour exploring the differences of White Sand and Red Sand country (saltwater spirit and desert spirit) along the Wulyibidi Yanyina (Peron Walk Trail); an afternoon 'dusk dreaming' or Maru Maru tour; and a Didgeridoo Dreaming night tour visiting old aboriginal camps and explaining their significance and the work being done to keep them alive.

The tours were started after gaining approval from the traditional elders and are run on the principles of Education, Understanding and Respect, (EUR). Capes teaches his visitors to "look, listen, smell" and to understand the "different ways country can talk to us" so that they leave with a heightened awareness of their environment and greater understanding of the land.

Darren Capewell
Darren 'Capes' Capewell - Wula Guda Nyinda Tours
"We look for different ways that country can talk to us"

Aboriginal heritage tours, Perth

Kings Park, Perth in Western Australia. Photo by Richard Madden Located on the Mt Eliza escarpment with panoramic views over the city of Perth and the Swan River, Kings Park and Botanic Garden covers an area not far short of 1,000 acres (400ha).

The location of the modern-day park has been sacred to the indigenous Nyoongar people and a central location in the Aboriginal Dreamtime for tens of thousands of years. Known as Kaarta (hill/head) Gar-Up (water-place of), it was used as a place of ritual and marriage, shelter, and for the gathering and hunting of food.

Read more about Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Greg Nannup
Greg Nannup - Kings Park Aboriginal Heritage Tour
"Greg tells the Aboriginal story of the creation of the sky and landscape, including the Wave Rock"

Aboriginal relationship with the land, Kimberley

The Kimberley is dotted with ancient aboriginal rock art and cave paintings, including the world-famous Bradshaw paintings - believed to be up to 60,000 years old. Local man, Neville Poelina talks about the deep relationship between aboriginal people and the land and why you should let the traditional landowners show you the wonders of this sun-kissed land.

Neville Poelina
Neville Poelina, Aboriginal guide and WA Indigenous Tour Operators Committee
"We've been tour guides way before Captain Cook got here - we showed white settlers how to live here - we took them in as perfect hosts"

Read more about culture in Western Australia

Find Aboriginal cultural vacations in Western Australia

Responsible Travel would like to thank the Western Australia tourist board for their sponsorship of this guide
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