Indigenous tourism booms in NSW
Indigenous operators can mix in both the awesome culture and history of the region as well as the adventures.
THE INDIGENOUS tourism industry in NSW is growing at an incredibly fast rate, with record numbers of toursts undertaking an Aboriginal tourism experience in the state, and now news that six more Indigenous tourism operations have started up.
In the year ending September 2016, more than 394,000 international and domestic visitors participated in an Aboriginal tourism experience in NSW – an incredible result and up 50 percent on the previous year. It is estimated that this injects $1.14 billion into the NSW economy. Besides this economic growth, the encouraging news is that the state’s rich indigenous history and culture is now being more recognised by both visitors and state government bodies.
According to Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase, “The growth in travellers yearning to learn more about NSW’s diverse Aboriginal nations and their traditional and contemporary cultural experiences is fantastic news for the Indigenous tourism sector.”
“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.”
One of the big advantages indigenous operators have is that they can mix in both the awesome culture and history of ther region as well as the actual outdoor/adventure experiences on offer. 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.
The success of Clark’s tours has also had a positive effect on the local Aboriginal community. “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.”
Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours is one of six new NSW Aboriginal tourism operations.
Bundyi Cultural Tours, in Wagga Wagga, is run by Wiradjuri man Mark Saddler. Mark shares aspects of this culture, including the language, significant places and stories. There are options of a half- or full-day experience with Mark, where visitors learn about bushtucker, the making of cultural tours. For an even richer experience, Mark also offers overnight tours, where attendees will learn more about the Wiradjuri culture and its people through Dreaming stories, visiting cultural sites and learning about the Wiradjuri language and culture
Former Wallaby Tim Ella, of the Dharawal-Yuin people, and Grant Hyde have recently started Kadoo Tours at Watsons Bay and La Perouse, in Sydney. These two-hour tours begin with a traditional ochre ceremony and Welcome to Country, before showcasing bush tucker and also revealing Tim’s close personal ties to the area.
Visit Sydney’s Ku-Ring-Gai NP and sample barbecued kangaroo and emu as part of the fourhour Guringai Aboriginal Tours experience, led by Guringai descendant Laurie Bimson and Yuin descendant Les Mcleod.You also get the chance to check out sacred sites, rock carvings and hear the pair recount ancient stories.
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.
Experience the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi/ 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.
For info on indigenous tourism experiences in NSW, check out www.destinationnsw.gov.au
This pic Clark Webb takes tourists on a SUP adventure while sharing the stories of his people. Below Wiradjuri man, Mark Saddler, runs Bundyi Cultural Tours out of Wagga Wagga.