6 Aboriginal cultural experiencesfor kids on holiday in the NT
A family holiday in the Northern Territory is a great way for children and teens to get immersed in Australia’s Aboriginal cultures and learn on Country.
Discover family-friendly ways to learn and connect with the diverse Aboriginal cultures found throughout the Top End and Red Centre, whether it’s by taking a locally guided tour; connecting with community at a cultural festival or taking a road trip to one of the NT’s national parks.
1. Explore Nitmiluk Gorge
Take the kids on a cultural cruise through Nitmiluk Gorge near Katherine, 320km south-east of Darwin, with Nitmiluk Tours. On the 2-hour Nit Nit Dream 2 Gorge Cultural Cruise, learn about the significance of the first 2 gorges to the traditional landowners, the Jawoyn people. Or, if you’re feeling more energetic, hire a double canoe and explore the second and third gorges at your own pace.
2. Day trip to the Tiwi Islands
What about an excursion from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands (the collective name for Bathurst and Melville islands, 80 km north of Darwin). Take a 2.5-hour ferry ride with SeaLink, which is fully airconditioned and has a snack bar inside. The tour includes morning tea and a welcome smoking ceremony with Tiwi women; a visit to arts and crafts centres, and insights to Tiwi culture.
3. Immerse in a cultural festival
In the Top End, one of the best Indigenous immersion experiences in the NT is at Barunga Festival, held annually in early June. Barunga is an action-packed 3 days filled with musical collaborations, top notch team and individual sporting feats, fantastic activities for kids, foodie experiences and some of the best Territory dry season camping around.
Head to Alice Springs in the Red Centre during April to experience light installations at Parrtjima – created in partnership with Aboriginal artists and set against the majestic MacDonnell Ranges. Alongside the artworks you can enjoy a program packed full of live talks, events and music by local and national musicians.
4. Star talk on Country
Ayers Rock Resort runs two Outback Sky Journey astronomy sessions nightly, with the Family Astro Tour starting 30 minutes after sunset. The one-hour tour covers 3 areas – past, present and future – with discussion of the past focusing on how Indigenous people used the night sky for orientation, to predict upcoming seasons and as inspiration for mythological stories. The best part for parents is that kids aged 15 and under can join the sessions for free.
5. Join a cultural tour
The kids will be fascinated by the one-hour Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tour, hosted by an Aboriginal couple keen to keep their heritage alive by passing their knowledge on the next generations. Located near Kings Creek Station on the Luritja Road, at Karrke (it means western bowerbird in the Arrente language) the kids will learn about bush tucker, traditional bush medicine, throwing a boomerang, dot painting and jewellery making, including pretty hand-painted seed necklaces.
6. Discover ancient rock art
The rock art along the 1.5 km circuit at Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) is one of the most prolific sites in Kakadu National Park which served as a shelter for thousands of years. Between May – September, time your visit with one of the free ranger guided tours.
In the main (Anbangbang) gallery you’ll see the Creation Ancestor Namondjok, and the Creation Ancestor Namarrkon, the Lightning Man. Climb to the Kunwarddewardde Lookout, and be rewarded with sweeping views of both Kakadu’s escarpment and Burrungkuy (Nourlangie Rock).
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