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| BNE July/August 2016


These tours share

the stories of

Australia’s ancient

history that you

won’t find in a book


Willie Gordon (

pictured left)

is a Nugal-warra Elder and

passionate about his Aboriginal culture and spirituality. His

grandfather lived on the land and as a young boy growing

up in Hope Vale and Cooktown in far north Queensland Gordon

would join his own father on hunting trips, learning about the land,

its bush tucker, bush medicines and the stories of his people.

Gordon left his homeland for high school in Brisbane but returned

in 2003 to show visitors the land where he grew up and a signature

of his award-winning Guurrbi Tours are the rock art sites that can

only be shown in the company of a Nugal-warra guide. The sites are

accessible only on foot and it’s a short climb, rather than a walk, to a

couple but the terrain is not difficult. “We call this area Wangaar-Wuri,

or ‘White Person Playing’,” Gordon explains. “The story goes that

my clan, the Nugal-warra, found a young white girl who was lost and

alone. She was brought into the clan and taken care of for many years,

living with my people in the area now named after her. It is a very

peaceful place and still much the same as when I was a boy and would

come hunting here with my Dad. It’s an area rich in bush tucker and

bush medicines and home to many bush creatures and hidden away in

the escarpments and amongst the giant boulders are the cave paintings

left by my ancestors.”

Tours from two hours to just over five hours, departing from

Cooktown, prices start from $85 per person. For details and to book



Mungalla Station near Ingham in north Queensland is a

working cattle station of 880 hectares and almost a quarter

of that area is natural wetlands which has been revived from

choking weeds over the years by the Nywaigi traditional owners

working closely with the CSIRO. The dry season between September

and December is the best time to see some of the more than 200

different species of magnificent aquatic birdlife, including large

numbers of Spoonbills, Egrets and Magpie Geese. Owls inhabit the

forests, grasslands and buildings while Jabirus breed on the property

and many species of raptors can be seen hunting over the paddocks

and wetlands. However, eyes shouldn’t only be directed skyward as

large crocodiles also inhabit Palm Creek and the wetlands. Tours of

Mungalla Station are available with a traditional ‘Kup Murri’ dinner

(cooked under the earth) in July, August and September, cost $119 per

adult. For tour dates see






Photography by Richard Wallace