Wild Women on Top has had a long association with World Expeditions, which offers a range of authentic First Nations cultural travel experiences throughout Australia. We spoke to Sue Badyari, CEO of World Expeditions, about its work in this area and some of the must-do experiences on offer:
How long has World Expeditions been focused on including cultural experiences in your trips?
It’s been a core philosophy to weave in First Nations cultural experiences from the outset. So for the last two decades, we’ve enjoyed our associations with Traditional Owners, believing it’s a fundamental element of not only bridging understanding but, knowing the benefits that our travellers receive when experiencing our beautiful country through the lens of peoples who’ve inhabited these lands for over 60,000 years.
Which of your hiking adventures include an Indigenous focus and to what extent is this focus?
Our Larapinta treks on Arrernte Country include bush tucker talks and dining experiences with Rayleen Brown, an Indigenous cook with a passion for bush foods and flavours. We also include the First Nations cultural experience at Standley Chasm near Alice Springs for our guests to dive deep into the history and spiritual significance of this region. Our guides know which water holes we can and can’t swim in. Some are sacred to the Arrernte People and some are just for women or just for men. Our walkers do not enter any of these waterholes out of respect. Kakadu, Nitmiluk, the Blue Mountains, Tasmania and Western Australia are also other regions where we have integrated welcome to country ceremonies that are launched on the first day of the trip.
The Jatbula Hike from Nitmiluk Gorge looks spectacular – tell us what hikers will experience…
This is a truly special hike in a significant Indigenous region of the Northern Territory and filled with the stories of the Jawoyn People. Our hike follows a songline path through magnificent gorges, waterfalls, dreaming pools, rock art and ancient cave shelters. Walkers gain a deep understanding of the local Jawoyn culture with visits to ancient rock art sites where our guides reveal the significance of the art. Every step taken has been thought through with respect to Indigenous sacred sites.
What makes hiking in Kakadu so compelling?
The Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage Area covering some 20,000 square kms. Waterfalls tumble from the red cliffs off the Arnhem Land escarpment into shady pools; tranquil wetlands teeming with animal and bird life, while 40,000 years of Aboriginal cultural heritage is on display in the numerous hidden rock art galleries. It is impossible not to feel moved by the ancient history and sacred energy of Kakadu.
How can we help make a meaningful difference to Indigenous communities?
World Expeditions supports I-CAN through our Regenerative 2030 project that partners with the Indigenous Communities for Activity & Nutrition. The team at I-CAN educate school children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about the importance of physical activity and improves their awareness of physical wellbeing and nutrition. Our Regenerative 2030 project aims to fund 8-week I-Can programs at nominated schools in Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Island. We are accepting tax-deductible donations through World Expeditions Foundation in support of the program.