New South Wales is now the most popular state for International travellers to experience Indigenous tourism, with the sector increasing by more than 60% in the past 12 months. This phenomenal growth has not only seen the expansion of already Aboriginal owned and operated businesses, but also six new exciting companies established.
Queensland was formerly the most popular State for international travellers to experience Aboriginal tourism. More than 332,000 international travellers took part in an Aboriginal cultural experience in NSW, and these visitors spent an estimated $1.3 billion during their visit.
In addition to Indigenous businesses rapidly noticing growth across NSW, six new Aboriginal owned and operated businesses are just beginning their journey and Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours is one of them.
Clark Webb, who has recently started Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours, a social enterprise on the Coffs Coast, believes his tours share the stories and language of the Gumbaynggirr people, while also having fun stand-up paddling boarding and kayaking.
“Gumbaynggirr are Saltwater people, so it makes sense to get people out on the water. On our tours people get the chance to paddle with the direct descendants of the world’s first paddlers, feel a sense of adventure in unspoilt marine park waterways, and connect, feel and taste the soul of our country,” Mr Webb said.
“Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours is a social enterprise, where we educate visitors about the Gumbaynggirr culture and educate the local Aboriginal community so they know the stories and language of their ancestors. In this way we encourage our community to be strong in both culture and education and create employment opportunities as tour guides.”
"These tours provide a chance for mutual understanding and ensure that local language, cultural sites, ceremonies and stories are passed on.”
Seeing Aboriginal art, craft or cultural displays were the top experiences during the year ending March 2017. Of the total 332,000 international travellers, 161,000 took part in one of these activities, a growth of 76 per cent on the previous year.
Also popular were Indigenous dance or theatre performances, which were attended by more than 119,000 visitors, up 53 per cent on the previous year. Aboriginal galleries were up 28 per cent, after attracting more than 72,000 visitors.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Sarah Mitchell, says it gives her great pleasure to see a focus on Indigenous tourism.
“Aboriginal owned and operated businesses are experiencing more bookings and providing more opportunities for visitors to engage with Aboriginal people and experience their culture.”
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall says ‘NSW is home to Australia’s largest Aboriginal population represented by many different tribal groups each with a unique story to tell.’
“The NSW Government remains focused on promoting NSW as a destination where Aboriginal culture is strong, vibrant and diverse, and we will continue to support the development of Aboriginal tourism experiences through our Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan.”
Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase says NSW is a destination where Aboriginal culture is strong, vibrant and diverse.
“Across Sydney and Regional NSW, new tourism operators are taking tours to new locations and sharing the story of their people, language and cultural traditions as a way to educate visitors and locals. These tours provide a chance for mutual understanding and ensure that local language, cultural sites, ceremonies and stories are passed on.”
Exciting new and booming Aboriginal Tourism Experiences in NSW:
Bundyi Cultural Tours
Bundyi Cultural Tours in Wagga Wagga, is run by Wiradjuri man, Mark Saddler, who shares aspects of this culture, including the language, significant places and stories. Take a half or full day experience where you’ll learn about bush tucker and how important cultural tools were made, or for more immersive experience book into one of the overnight tours. You are guaranteed to be entertained and learn about the Wiradjuri culture and its people through Dreaming stories, visiting cultural sites and learning about the Wiradjuri language and culture
Local personality Tim Ella, of the Dharawal-Yuin people, and his mate, Grant Hyde, have recently started Kadoo Tours at Watsons Bay and La Perouse. These immersive two-hour tours begin with a traditional ochre ceremony and Welcome to Country. They provide visitors with the chance to try bush tucker and learn about the traditional uses of plants and animals for food, medicine and ceremony. Tim will share his personal history and Dreaming stories as he guides you along the coastline and through native bushland
Guringai Aboriginal Tours
Feast on lunch of barbequed Kangaroo and Emu in the heart of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in Sydney, with the newly formed Guringai Aboriginal Tours. Guringai descendant Laurie Bimson and Yuin descendant Les Mcleod, run a four-hour tour, visiting the park’s sacred sites, rock engravings and share the stories that their ancestors would have told their children a long time ago.
Unkya Cultural Eco Tours
Unkya Cultural Eco Tours offers authentic tours at Scotts Head and Gaagal Wanggan National Park on the Mid North Coast. Hear the creation story of the ocean and how the first wave was made, and learn about traditional fish traps and hunting on the Gurruuja Juun (Whale Tail) Tour, which visits Little Beach and Scotts Head headland. You will also taste traditional bush tucker, participate in Gumbaynggirr ceremonies, engage in the Gumbaynggirr language and learn about native plants use as medicine
First Lesson Cultural Tours
Experience the Wiradjuri and Kamilario/Gamilaraay country near Dubbo with traditional land-owner Peter Peckham, from First Lesson Cultural Tours. Hear the stories of this land and its people from a real bushman as you visit a scarred canoe tree, an axe grinding site, and discover bush tucker and medicine plants. Peter also offers overnight camping tours, for a real taste of Outback NSW.