Bush Tucker and Dreamtime Stories: These Aboriginal Cultural Experiences Are Unmissable

The Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture in the world, dating back some 60,000 years. Along The South West Edge – also known, collectively, as Noongar country – you’ll find plenty of ways to connect with the rich Aboriginal culture of Western Australia.

From sampling the bush foods of the Whadjuk people of Perth to visiting the traditional meeting places of the Wudjari people of Albany-Esperance, there are so many traditions to learn about and so much knowledge to be shared. The best way to familiarise yourself with it all? By visiting these unmissable local galleries or booking yourself a place on any one of these incredible cultural experiences.

 

Goolamwiin Aboriginal Tours, Mandurah

As you’re making your way down the south west edge from Perth, stop in for an overnight experience in Mandurah. Goolamwiin Aboriginal Tours offer a number of different cultural tours, but are one of the only companies to host a fully-catered overnight camp experience. Before launching into an evening of activities, owners Kerry and Trevor Stack will welcome you to Nyungar country, then, it’s a jam-packed afternoon of walking and foraging on country, Nyungar language lessons, Aboriginal dance, Dreamtime stories under the stars, and a cultural healing ceremony. In the morning, wake up to the sounds of the bush and a hot billie tea. If you’ve only got a few hours up your sleeve, the Goolamwiin Mangala beachside tour and smoking ceremony is a must-do.

An image of three people sitting on coastal rocks while an Indigenous man speaking about the cultural significance along The South West Edge road trip
Aboriginal culture, Margaret River

From sampling the bush foods of the Whadjuk people of Perth to visiting the traditional meeting places of the Wudjari people of Albany-Esperance, there are so many traditions to learn about and so much knowledge to be shared.

Dale Tilbrook Experiences, Swan Valley

She grew up on Wardandi Bibbulman country (around Margaret River and Busselton) but, now, Dale Tilbrook resides in Perth’s Swan Valley where she and her brother, Lyall Tilbrook, own the Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery. As well as selling authentic Aboriginal art, the gallery serves up some of the tastiest bushtucker going around. Dale and Lyall are known for their range of pies – think kangaroo curry or lamb and saltbush – and kangaroo sausage rolls, as well as their delectable homemade chutneys, jams, and dried spices. Take your bush food experience one step further and join in on one of Dale’s bushtucker tours, where you can sample all kinds of nuts, fruits, and leaves from Dale’s own outback garden. Time your visit right and you might even be able to snag one of the very limited spots on a bush tucker high tea.

 

Goldfields Honey Ant Tours, Kalgoorlie

Take your place foraging alongside the Tjupan guides of Goldfields Honey Ant Tours for the sweet, prized insect that gives the tour its name. The delicious nectar of the honeypot ant isn’t the only bushfood you’ll get to try on this half-day tour, based 50km out of the Kalgoorlie township. Should your foraging prove fruitful, there could be the sweet yet tart quandong, bush pear (also known as the bush banana), and wriggly witchetty grubs for you to sample too. If all that food isn’t enough, there’s the homemade damper, billy tea, and a good yarn to look forward to around the campfire at the end of the tour. As a memento of your time on Tjupan country, you can liaise with the team at Goldfields Honey Ant Tours to take home a colourful art piece painted by one of the locals.

 

Koomal Dreaming, Margaret River

Join Wadandi custodian Josh ‘Koomal’ Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming for an Aboriginal cultural walk like no other. Start with a bushwalk on Wadandi Bibbulmun country where Josh will find and talk you through the traditional medicinal plants in the region before descending into the depths of Ngilgi Cave for a fire making session and special Didgeridoo performance. All three of the tours run by Koomal Dreaming centre around the magnificent Ngilgi Cave but, if you’re looking for a more immersive food experience, booking a spot on the ‘Aboriginal Food, Cave, and Didge’ tour will take your tastebuds to another level. After a bushwalk, and prior to the cave experience, guests will sit down to a barbecue lunch featuring seasonal ingredients such as kangaroo, emu, saltbush, and emu plum.

Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tours, Bunbury

Are you ready to see Bunbury in a whole new light? Head out on a Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tour with Wardandi traditional custodian Troy Bennell, and you’ll see a side of the city you’ve never seen before. Troy will share the spirit serpent Dreaming stories specific to the region as you visit culturally significant sites along the Collie River and Bunbury Estuary, as well as teach you to make weaving twine from the bulrushes dotted between the mangroves and traditional ochre paint. Along the way, you’ll even get to sample some local bushtucker. The tour culminates at the Dolphin Discovery Centre where you can see Bunbury’s resident dolphin pods frolicking in the shallows and the spectacular ‘Wardandi Boodja’ sculpture by Alex and Nicole Mickle of Safehaven Studios.

 

Wuddi Cultural Tours and Cultural Centre, Dumbleyung

Not only is it immense, but Lake Dumbleyung plays a vital role in the history of the Wilman people of Dumbleyung. Once swimming with djilgi (yabbies) and fish, the now saline lake isn’t so much a rich food source anymore, but it’s still considered a site of cultural significance. Learn more about the lake, the hidden gnamma holes, local corroboree grounds, and traditional hunting grounds on any of the three tours run by Wuddi Cultural Tours and Cultural Centre. For the animal lovers, they also offer a weitj (emu) farm tour where you can meet the animals up close and explore the medical applications of the prized emu oil. Before moving on to your next adventure, be sure to browse the boomerangs, tapping sticks, art, and range of jams for sale back at the Wuddi Cultural Centre store.

 

Want to find more to see and do as you’re exploring the South West Edge? Check out our blog on The Best Aerial Experiences Along The South West Edge to gain a different perspective on the region, or click through to our interactive map to explore by destination.

A portrait image of the inside of a cave to show ancient landscapes on The South West Edge road trip
Lake Cave, Margaret River

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