Josh Whiteeland is as adept at foraging for exquisite bush flavours as he is at explaining the informative six seasons of his people’s Indigenous calendar. In three immersive experiences, he offers explorations of one the world’s major biodiversity hotspots, and the only such designated spot on the Australian continent. The bucolic yet wild Margaret River region falls within this diverse South Western zone, and the Cape to Cape walking track snakes along its rugged coastline, through its tall tree forests and along its wildflower dotted scrubland. Using the track to guide two insightful journeys, Josh describes the land’s natural history from two perspectives: through its millions of years of ecology and through generations of Indigenous eyes. As he points out rare wildflowers and invites tastings of fragrant native plants such as bush celery or saltbush, he explains the purpose of having six seasons, and what each period signifies for those who once lived exclusively off the land. He also shares Dreaming stories that bring the past and present together, the yarns threading through the region’s oceans and sea life, its rivers, animals and endemic plants.
With Cape Cultural Tours, you might choose to follow 2.5km of the track around the rocky tip of Cape Naturaliste, explore Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and its surrounding coastal bush, or go fishing for salmon, herring and bream inside spectacular Meelup Regional Park, where whales and dolphins often bob in glass-clear, turquoise waters.
The first two tours begin with a ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony and also include a mesmerising didgeridoo performance and an interpretation of Aboriginal artefacts such as hand-carved boomerangs and firesticks. For groups of 10 people or more, there’s an optional native food tasting and barbeque of Australian flavours such as kangaroo, emu and local seafood, enhanced with the tang of Geraldton wax leaves and lemon myrtle butter. All tours are suitable for children as well as adults of varying athletic abilities.
When you gaze at Elizabeth Quay’s glittering riverside playground in central Perth, you see pedestrian walkways, metropolitan eateries, and towering buildings of shiny glass and steel. But Nyungar guide Walter McGuire sees forgotten meeting sites, ancient lake systems edged by wildflowers, and hunting grounds where his ancestors once roamed.
The stories and traditions of McGuire’s people and their Whadjuk lands have been passed down over generations, and he passes them on to you during his short walking tours of Perth’s inner city. As he peels back the layers of the urban landscape, you’ll learn of the six seasons observed by Aboriginal people, and how they relate to the edible herbs and fruits still growing throughout the city surrounds.
He shares Dreaming legends that teach their listeners what to be careful of and how to live well, and he helps you understand how these spiritual creation stories connect Aboriginal people with their country. Expect to learn the Aboriginal names of iconic parts of Perth and to hear McGuire perform more than one hauntingly beautiful traditional song. By the end of the walk, you’ll see historic and modern-day Perth as one, just as he does.
Your cultural tour will begin with a traditional welcome, delivered in Nyungar language. It sets the tone for the next 90 minutes with McGuire, as he introduces you to central Perth’s animals, plants and serpentine river through Aboriginal eyes, as it was before European settlement.
For those craving greater immersion, there’s also a three-hour extended cultural tour which includes hands-on elements such as paint making using natural ochres and handling hunting weapons and other traditional implements.
The historic pearling town of Broome is revered for epic sunsets and magnificent beaches bounded by red pindan scrub, but to learn the complete story of its fascinating past and present, spend time with local Yawuru man Bart Pigram.
Bart shares generational knowledge and recounts ancient stories of the saltwater Yawuru people through fascinating daily tours. In Yawuru Aboriginal language, Narlijia means ‘true for you’ and Bart embraces the opportunity to create a deeper connection between cultures.
He draws on his professional training in cultural development to create unique experiences that include bush tucker, significant sites such Didirrgun, a massive shell midden or trailing 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints.
Whether it’s aboard a 42-foot catamaran at sunset or exploring a mangrove forest, Bart’s tours are insightful and entertaining; he comes from a family of musicians and pearling workers who share a deep connection to country. Bart offers four cultural tours in and around Broome.
The 1.5-hour Life of Guwan tour is an introduction to the local language and heritage of the Yawuru people. It’s a comfortable walking tour through the town centre as Bart recreates a timeline of Aboriginal way of life, the pearling industry and Broome’s morphosis from a lively frontier settlement to the diverse and multicultural town of today. Explore Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm’s Chinatown exhibition with pearl meat tasting.
The Beach to Bay tour is 3 hours and delves into diversity of the Broome landscape and ancient creation stories from the western beaches to the mudflats of Roebuck Bay and Dampier Creek. Touch prehistoric dinosaur footprints and taste bush tucker.
On the 3-hour Cultural Cruise Bart shares stories and bush foods such as Bauhinia nectar, gubinge (Kakadu plum) and min min (bird flower pea), also demonstrating how to make a boomerang and performs traditional and contemporary songs.
The Mangrove Tour is a 2-hour adventure through the mangrove forest ecosystem learning about the traditional use of mangrove wood, visit Buccaneer Rock and hear the Dreaming story of Randigunya the giant.
Learn about the deep spiritual connection that the local Nhanda and Malgana people have with Gutharraguda, the traditional Aboriginal name for the Shark Bay World Heritage-listed area. It translates to “two waters”, in reference to the two bays that dominate the landscape here, a saltwater paradise where the red sands of the desert meet the white sands bordering the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
This area is also home to stromatolites, the world’s oldest living organism, called the “Old People” by local Aboriginal people because, to them, they represent ancestors.
Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures owner Darren “Capes” Capewell will teach you how to understand “the way country talks to you” and gives an insider’s view of local Aboriginal culture through animal tracking, tasting bush tucker and traditionally caught seafood, and identifying the uses of various medicinal plants, as well as didgeridoo lessons and Dreamtime stories.
He offers a diverse range of “on Country” cultural experiences including didgeridoo campfire gatherings and 4WD tours as well as more active bush-tucker walks, kayaking and snorkelling adventures, stand-up paddleboard tours, camping safaris and fly/drive expeditions.