Indigenous NSW

By | Category: Travel destinations
This year's NAIDOC poster

This year’s NAIDOC poster

Australia has recently celebrated NAIDOC week.  The week – National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee – highlights awareness of the status and treatment of indigenous Australians.

It also means that the week becomes a popular activity for both international and domestic visitors with some 300,000 people plus taking the opportunity to learn more about the culture and background of the country.

According to the NSW tourism minister, Stuart Ayres, indigenous tourism contributed $A968.4 million to the NSW economy in the year ending March 2016 International visitors who engage in an Aboriginal tourism experience stay an average of 37.3 nights in NSW, giving them plenty to time to enjoy everything our State has to offer.

In Sydney there were Aboriginal art and craft markets and workshops held at Bare Island, La Perouse and special events such as NAIDOC Week celebrations at Barangaroo and harbour cruises concentrating on Aboriginal heritage and culture. You might not think that much of a pre-colonial past remains in central Sydney but in the Rocks area, the Botanical Gardens and the harbour foreshore, there are tours pointing out this past that is often dwarfed by later settlement.

Just north of Sydney, you can join tours visiting parts of the Hawkesbury River and into the Yengo National Park to explore the Aboriginal heritage. Here you can meet elders and share their way of living. Except that these days some tour operators provide luxury tent accommodation so you don’t have to rough it.

finger art in a cave near the Hawkesbury River but on private land

finger art in a cave near the Hawkesbury River but on private land

It was south of the Hawkesbury many years ago that an owner of pastureland and breeder of horses took me up tracks to see Aboriginal rock art and birthing pools hewn from the rocky outcrops. Even on my last trip, few people are aware of their existence there and even fewer visit them since they don’t appear in any tourist guide I know about.

birthing pool

birthing pool

For those with more time on their hands, venture into the outback to see a wider range of life. The  Wiradjuri people around Wagga Wagga in south western NSW provide visitors with a range of tours to see their cultural heritage as do the Darkinjung on the central coast. The Bundjahung people based in northern NSW offer include daily walks up the mountains overlooking Wollumbin and Night Cap where you can listen to Dreamtime stories from local Elders, prepare native food and camp overnight under the stars.

Sixty years ago, there was little indigenous culture to see unless you made a significant effort to find it. Today it is the opposite. Destinations highlight that pre-colonial heritage and almost any local tour operator will offer visitors package tours to soak up that mystical past.

For more about indigenous NSW, click here

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , , , , ,