In light of NAIDOC Week 2021 and its theme Heal Country, we'd like to shine a light on the importance of recognising and protecting the sacred sites at the core of Australia’s culture and heritage.
To help you discover more about these significant First Peoples sites, we’ve compiled a list that explores and celebrates Australia’s rich history, while allowing visitors to be part of the ongoing journey.
1. Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park, Northern Territory
This one should be a must on your bucket list, especially if you live in Australia! The Central Desert, Uluru and Kata Tjuta in many ways represent the geographical, spiritual and symbolic centre of our continent. These unique and fascinating rock formations are sacred territory to Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara Anangu people who lived in the region for at least 10,000 years.
Today, they still abide by the ancient traditions and significance of these sites, helping to further protect the culture and heritage of the area while educating visitors along the way.
This place offers a lot and you can rest assured it won’t get boring. You can take different historical tours, art tours, day trips, walks and hikes in the area, just to name a few. Not to mention it’s perfect for some major Insta-worthy pics.
For more information, visit Parks Australia Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
2. The Garma Festival, Northern Territory
This magical, four-day festival celebrates visual art, dance, music and ancient storytelling by the Yolŋu people of north-east Arnhem Land.
Although the festival is filled with fun activities and learning events, it’s also about creating opportunities for the Yolŋu people to celebrate their culture and history through community development, education, self-governance, enterprise and youth leadership. The festival focuses on enhancing, protecting and sustaining First Peoples culture, and cultivating better understanding between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Once you’re there, enjoy traditional dances each day from 4 pm until sunset, as well as traditional music, cultural workshops, performances, film programs, open galleries and so much more.
For more information, visit Yothu Yindi Foundation.
3. Rainforestation nature park, Queensland
This is one of many great ways to explore the culture of First Aussies in Queensland.
The Rainforestation Nature Park is an award-winning pioneer of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism sector in Tropical North Queensland and works closely with traditional owners to provide a wealth of options for visitors.
Discover the world’s oldest surviving culture with the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, watch traditional dance performance or a spear presentation, and tune in to the live performances with a didgeridoo. When you’re done, head to the Koala & Wildlife Park and treat yourself to a well-deserved tea or coffee break and explore the surrounding areas.
For more information, visit Rainforestation Nature Park.
4. Kakadu national park, Northern Territory
Kakadu National Park is another must-visit location and experience. Rock art within the region indicates First Peoples have occupied Kakadu for 40,000 and 60,000 years – the longest record of continuous human occupation of any area on Earth.
Kakadu is dual-listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its outstanding natural and cultural significance and offers a wealth of natural beauty and history.
There’s a long list of activities that you can check out, including walks, croc spotting (the park has more than 10,000 crocodiles, eeek!), ranger-guided activities, birdwatching, fishing, boating and so much more.
For more information, visit Kakadu National Park.
5. South Australian Museum, South Australia
If you’re not into outdoor activities but you’re still eager to educate yourself on Australia’s rich history – there are plenty of museums, galleries and events just waiting to be explored.
One of these is the South Australian Museum – home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Australian-Aboriginal cultural material in the world. The museum works with Traditional Custodians and Owners of the Land to bring the collection and its stories to life, which provide visitors with the chance to see, hear, and learn all in one place.
For more information, visit South Australian Museum.
6. Purnululu national park, Western Australia
Also World Heritage-listed, Purnululu is pretty much the most iconic visual representation of the Australian Outback. The area is traditionally the land of the Kija people of the eastern Kimberley region, and their neighbours, the Jaru people are from the desert region.
The local communities still maintain a strong connection and association to this ancient landscape, which is filled with stories of the Dreamtime. As a visitor, you can camp here, explore on foot or even take scenic flights for an extra memorable experience.
For more information, visit Purnululu national park.
Image via The Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park, Western Australia © Jewels Lynch Photography
Keen to learn more about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements? Keep reading below:
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