Discover an ancient culture and it could change your life. At the very least, it will open your eyes to the wonder of a community of people who lived for and on the land, respecting it and its wildlife and embracing the mysterious spirit of the outback.
If you’d like to know how to experience Aboriginal culture in Australia, stick around because we have some really cool suggestions.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock is the world’s second largest monolith (a large single upright block of stone), second only to Mount August in Western Australia. By far, however, Uluru is the more famous and is an enormous drawcard for tourists to the country. It is sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area known as the Pitjantjatjara Anangu and is one of Australia’s most instantly recognisable landmarks.
One of the more incredible things about Uluru is that it seems to change colour throughout the day and is at its most magnificent, bright red at daybreak and sunset. Climbing the rock will be prohibited from 26 October 2019 but in the interests of respecting Aboriginal culture, more than two thirds of visitors decline to climb it.
You can still experience Aboriginal culture at Ayers Rock Resort by participating in a dot painting workshop, or by taking a tour around the base of Uluru accompanied by a local guide. Walk the perimeter and explore the ancient rock art. Forage for bush tucker such as wild figs and bush plums, watch local Aboriginal artists and hear their Anangu stories of creation. The Anangu people request that tourists do not photograph particular parts of Uluru because of their beliefs.
All major capital cities feature Aboriginal exhibits in their museums and art galleries. Even in smaller centres, particularly in regions where a strong Aboriginal culture exists, you’ll find fascinating exhibits. At Aboriginal Art Galleries in Sydney, you can view extraordinary examples of ancient artworks including hand-painted didgeridoos, exquisite dot paintings and hand-woven baskets. The Amagoa Aboriginal Modern Art Gallery of Australia in Melbourne showcases one of the country’s largest collections of Aboriginal art from famous and emerging indigenous artists.
Adelaide’s National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, also known as ‘Tandanya’ is Australia’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre. There, you can view traditional art works and watch music, dance and theatre performances.
All over Australia, there are tourist operations that can put you in the middle of an immersive experience.
You don’t have to go to a formal venue or embark on a tour to catch Aboriginal culture when you visit Australia. Hang around public spaces such as Darling Harbour in Sydney, Southbank in Melbourne and Salamanca Markets in Hobart and you’re bound to hear the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo played by buskers.
Aboriginal arts and crafts are often sold in local markets and you can often watch traditional craftspeople making them right there on the spot. Explore the local City Hall or Council library for temporary or permanent Aboriginal cultural exhibits.
Check the local entertainment magazine or online directory for upcoming performances, art shows, talks, lessons or excursions. Some cities and towns also hold Aboriginal festivals that you can go along to and experience bush tucker, arts and crafts, music, dance and talks.
When you visit Australia, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the ancient Aborigines and how they lived millennia ago. Their fascinating stories and ingenious tools and medicines will have you enthralled.