Aboriginal people possess a unique understanding of Western Australia’s natural environment and the use of native plants for food, tools and medicine. Fortunately for us, Aboriginal guides are willing to share their generational kaartdijin (knowledge) and the best way to do that is on a walking tour.
According to the Noongar seasonal calendar, we have entered Djilba, the season of the first spring. Coinciding with the arrival of wildflowers and warmer days, it is the best time of year to get out into nature and tackle the trails before the summer heat is here. Aboriginal-led walking tours through local boodja (country) are available from Albany to Broome.
The rugged Cape Naturaliste headland is traditionally owned by the Wadandi people of the Margaret River region. Wadandi means forest people by the sea, and the group has a deep connection with the region’s unique natural environment. In the Cape Cultural Experience, a Wadandi guide shares an indigenous understanding of the cape’s seasonal landscape and native flora. Following a 2.5km trail around the northernmost point of the cape, the guide will point out local bush foods and wildflowers, such as sea celery, saltbush, hibbertia and peppermint tree. The tour will conclude at a private Meeting Place for a gourmet barbeque and seasonal native food tastings.
Book through the award-winning Koomal Dreaming Cultural Experiences company here.
Set in Dwellingup’s ancient Jarrah and Marri forests, Kaarak Dreaming’s Bush Medicine and Forest Discovery Tour will take you back in time. Maitland Hill, a Nyoongar Barlardong man with traditional connections to the south west region, takes visitors on a cultural bush walk where he explains the six Nyoongar seasons, traditional bush medicine and bush tucker. Beginning with a traditional welcoming ceremony, you will also hear Maitland play his didgeridoo, participate in a yarning circle and watch a traditional artefact demonstration. As a Nyoongar elder, Maitland is passionate about preserving his cultural heritage, and he created Kaarak Dreaming tours to share his traditional knowledge with others. The trail is walked at a slow, gentle pace on flat, even ground that is suitable for all ages and abilities.
You can book a Bush Medicine and Forest Discovery Tour with Kaarak Dreaming Maitland’s Cultural Tours here.
Mabu Buru Tours are run by Broome local and Yawuru man, Johani. Johani is a former coordinator for the Yawuru Country Managers, the Indigenous ranger group looking after Yawuru country. Armed with a background in land management and his traditional Yawuru knowledge, Johani offers an informative guided walk along Broome’s Birndany trail.
The trail is located in the Minyirr Buru conservation park, an area traditionally known as a place of healing for its abundance of plant medicine and bush foods. On the 1.2 km walk, visitors learn about Minyirr Buru’s native flora, taste birdflower nectar and listen to Yawuru dreamtime stories. Make sure you look out for the ancient dinosaur tracks in the coastal areas of the park – a must-see on Johani’s tour!
The tour runs twice a day on Saturdays, with weekday tours possible by enquiry.
You can book a Min Min Tour through Mabu Buru Tours here.
In the season of Djilba, the usually dry Wheatbelt region bursts into colour as thousands of wildflowers come into bloom. Aboriginal tour guide, Mick, runs Njaki Njaki Aboriginal Cultural Tours in the small Wheatbelt town of Merredin. Located halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, the shire of Merredin is home to over 980 unique species of wildflowers, making it the perfect place to visit during wildflower season. On the Merredin Peak Tour, Mick takes guests on a cultural walking tour of Merredin Peak and the surrounding natural reserve. Following a granite rock trail, you will have the chance to spot a variety of colourful orchids and everlastings while learning about the area’s rich aboriginal history.
The two-hour-long tour operates from Friday to Sunday.
More information about booking a Merredin Peak Tour can be found on the Njak Njak Aboriginal Cultural Tours website here.
Deep in WA’s Great Southern region, Kinjarling Boodja (Albany) is home to the Menang Noongar people. Passionate about passing down and sharing knowledge from elders, Kurrah Mia Tours offer cultural walking tours along some of the region’s ancestral Menang Noongar trails. The Quaranup Aboriginal Walking tour follows a path walked by the traditional Menang people around the coast of Kinjarling, offering a glimpse into how Aboriginal people moved through the land. Led by an Aboriginal guide, guests will learn about the native flora and fauna, ancient stone structures and engravings, and local waterholes from an Aboriginal guide. After the tour, make sure you check out Kurrah Mia’s art and craft store for authentic artwork, traditional tools, boomerangs, hand-painted cards and fashion accessories.
Book a Quaranup tour through Kurrah Mia Tours here.