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BNE July/August 2016 |



Juan Walker (


) is a member of the Kuku Yalanji people

whose ancestral country lies between Port Douglas and

Cooktown and he leads visitors on tours of the Daintree,

Cape Tribulation, Mossman and Cooya Beach for half day or full day

expeditions on his Walkabout Cultural Adventures. He varies the itinerary

according to the group – which is limited to a maximum of 11 people per

tour and can go with as few as two, making it a very personal experience.

Typically, the Cultural Tour is a hands-on experience and based on

the southern side of the Daintree River, visiting different environments

from the beach to the rainforest. On a coastal walk, for example, there’s a

chance to try coastal hunting techniques (such as spearing), bush tucker

collection, and there’s time for a swim in a freshwater stream. A full-day

tour can include as many as three hour-long walks.

“I like to share with visitors to the area how special the region is

but also how local Aboriginal people across Australia have a special

connection with the environment,” says Walker who shares guiding

duties with his uncle Percy. Tours operate all year round; cost from $165

per person half day and $209 per person full day with lunch. For more

information see

Juan’s brothers Brandon and Linc Walker also lead their own Coastal

Beach and Mangrove walking tours at Cooya Beach, 15 minutes north of

Port Douglas, where they, too, coach visitors in traditional spear hunting

techniques and offer a feast on the catch of the day as part of their Kuku

Yalanji Cultural Habitat tours. Prices from $75 per person. For more

information see



Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is an interactive cultural

centre and village occupying more than 10 hectares next

to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway at Caravonica, 20 minutes from

Cairns. It’s not only a showcase of photographs, historic films and

art but visitors can also join in traditional performances drawn from

Djabugay corroborees, listen to masters of the didgeridoo, learn how

to make fire without a match or how to throw a boomerang, and taste

food cooked in an authentic underground ‘oven’. Prices from $62

general admission. For details see


No one describes a journey through Olkola Country on

Queensland’s far northern Cape York Peninsula better than

GrahamTupper, eco-warrior and Northern Australia program

manager for the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), who has

been there and done it. “The real excitement of visiting Olkola Country

lies in having the Olkola as guides. It’s a journey through a living cultural

landscape where plants and animals take on a whole new level of meaning

because of the stories we’re told about them,” he says.

After about one million hectares of Olkola Country were officially

handed back to the traditional owners in December 2014 they

immediately embarked on a new journey of their own to provide an

eco-tourism experience that would ensure the sustainability of their land.

Working with ACF and Intrepid Travel, Indigenous guides hosted their

first tour visitors in June and, with limited access only in the dry season

between May and September, remaining tours have been quickly booked.

Olkola is a diverse ecosystem, boasting the world’s largest unbroken

savannah outside Africa. Glen Ross, a land manager in the area for four

years and now a tour leader, is a most passionate advocate. “Every day out

here is like a new picture,” he says. Groups are small, limited to no more

than 10 people, for a very personal experience camping under the stars for

four nights and exploring Olkola Country by day. Tours depart Cairns;

cost from $2845 per person. See




Fly from BNE to Cairns and Townsville (for

Ingham) with Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin

Australia. Tigerair also flies to Cairns.

Hinterland Aviation flies from

Cairns to Cooktown daily