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Trips with Aboriginal Guides

Learning about the art

Since we began operation in 1986, all of our north and central Australian trips have taken place on Aboriginal Land or on land to which the traditional Aboriginal owners still have strong cultural ties.

In addition to providing information about our trips, this page gives links to other pages which describe contemporary Aboriginal culture in the Top End.

Helping hand

Our first long trip accompanied by traditional Aboriginal guides was the Jawoyn Explorer in 1999. Since then, we have developed a number of different trips which use Aboriginal guides.

Almost all of these trips take you to places you could not get permission to visit on your own.

The trips

Stow tributary falls

March: Edith Falls - Stow Creek Loop. This walk is the second section of Kakadu Highlights No. 2. It's a route we used to use in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It should be a fairly leisurely trip and will include a lovely series of waterfalls on Jawoyn Land just outside of Nitmiluk National Park. The photo at right shows one of the waterfalls.

The draft trip notes give more information about how the trip will run.
The final five photos on the New Year 2005-06 trip page were taken where we'll go on this walk.

Guides Lazarus and Lloyd; Photo D Radford

April: Koolpin - Waterfall Creek walk. This is the second section of Kakadu Highlights No. 3. Two Jawoyn guides accompanied the trip in 2003. One of them had now done several trips for us.

The photo at left was taken by client Dorothy Radford and shows the two Aboriginal guides relaxing at one of the camp sites.

Aboriginal elder at art site; photo R Whear April-May: Aboriginal Art Special

This is a new trip concentrating on visits to Aboriginal art sites. We would spend the first couple of nights at the Nipbamjarn camp owned by the Manyallaluk Aboriginal Community, acclimatising and doing short walks in the area. We then do a longer walk carrying packs with the Aboriginal guides accompanying the group and telling them a bit about the art, their culture and the environment.

At the time of writing, we were still negotiating for an Aboriginal guide to accompany the second section. If we succeed, our venue will be at their choice, possibly in Kakadu, possibly in Arnhem Land. If we are unable to get an Aboriginal guide, our walk will take place in the Baroalba area. For more information, please see our Aboriginal Art Special web page.

The drive from Manyallaluk to northern Kakadu takes several hours so we will spend a night in Jabiru and to the Guluyambi Aboriginal Cultural cruise on the East Alligator River.

The Guluyambi Culture and Country page gives a good background to the Aboriginal culture in the north Kakadu region.

Aboriginal guides fishing May-June: Jawoyn Explorer

Since our first trip in 1999, this has become our best known trip with Aboriginal guides. It begins near Manyallaluk, goes through a part of southern Kakadu and extends into Arnhem Land. It includes visits to a variety of art sites and an almost unknown gorge on the upper Katherine River. The photo at left was taken by client Helen Dauncey on our 2004 trip.

On some trips, the dates allow us to spend the final night camped at Barunga and get involved in the Barunga Festival. Those who get in early can help us decide.

Campfire tales

May: Manyallaluk to Katherine Gorge. This is the second section of Kakadu Highlights No. 4.
I've (Russell Willis) been dreaming of exploring the area to the north and east of Katherine Gorge since I first flew over it in 1993, dreaming all the more after hearing stories about the area from a local old-timer, one of the few non-Aboriginal people ever to have walked through the area.

This is by far the best time of year to do the walk. The Katherine River will be low enough to cross safely and the smaller creeks and waterfalls we will explore will still have plenty of water.

For more information about Manyallaluk and the tour which begins this trip, see the Manyallaluk page on the Aboriginal Australia web site.

Creek crossing

June-July: In Leichhardt's Footsteps. This is our one historical trip as we retrace part of Ludwig Leichhardt's original 1844-45 exploratory route across part of Kakadu and Arnhem Land.

This will be only the second time we have done this walk. Those taking part will have the benefit of the first group's experience while still being among the first to have done the walk.

Upper Katherine Gorge

August: Manyallaluk to Katherine Gorge.
This is the second section of Kakadu Highlights No. 7. It is a shorter, easier version of the Manyallaluk to Gorge walk in Kakadu Highlights No. 4.

For more information about Manyallaluk and the tour which begins this trip, see the Manyallaluk page on the Aboriginal Australia web site.

Want more information?

If you would like more information about Aboriginal art and culture, we recommend the sites below in addition to the ones listed above.

The Australian Government Aboriginal Heritage page has some good background information as well as links to other sites with more detailed information.

Aboriginal Art Online has a number of pages of good background information. We particularly recommend

Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

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