Catriona Rowntree went to Queensland's far north for an indigenous experience, something she has not done before.
Kuku Yalanji runs Dreamtime Walks in Mossman Gorge, 75km north of Cairns. The area is rich in indigenous history and is the heart and soul of locals. Harold Tayley, whose Aboriginal name is Wawubuja, has a wealth of fascinating history and information, most of which he learnt from his grandfather, parents, elders, aunties and uncles. Harold was a community ranger before moving to Mossman 15 years ago and loves being a teacher.
According to their website, the Kuku Yalanji people's belief is, "We are true rainforest people who live in harmony with our environment. We are part of it and it is part of us. Our culture has always involved a deep respect for nature and an intimate knowledge of its cycles."
Harold's 90-minute walks take you through some of the most extraordinary rainforest with an insight into the traditions and way of life of local Aboriginals. It seems that everything from trees to bush nuts and leaves served a most important purpose. Soap leaves lather up and were used for bathing. Message sticks were most useful in keeping every informed.
The walk is along private, easy graded tracks and you will see 3000-year-old fig trees and 12,000-year-old rock paintings. There are cool rainforest streams and bark shelters once home to tribes. You will be shown how plants were used for food and medicine, and once the walk is finished you will be served damper and tea. That's the time to ask any questions.
The Kuku Yalangi Dreamtime Walks have been awarded the Tropical North Queensland Award in the special category "Culture, Heritage and Indigenous Tourism". They have won the award three years in a row.
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