While you’re discovering the Red Centre of Australia, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the Aboriginal culture and connect with Australia’s spiritual home. Filled with fascinating stories from the Arrernte people, the Dreamtime story of the Arrernte people is that giant caterpillars created the region. The Yeperenye (caterpillar) story is about how the creatures become the dramatic ridges of the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.
There are many ways to explore Aboriginal culture in Alice Springs, however to begin your journey, start at the Araluen Cultural Precinct, home to several galleries filled with rich culture and stories told for thousands of years. Alice Springs act as a hub to explore the traditional owners of the land’s history depicted through art and Dreamtime stories. Visit Talapi, which promotes local artists, or the Tjanpi Desert Weavers, bringing work to local communities through their weaving art.
To discover the intricacies of bush food and the land, RT Tours Australia offer small group tours that will give you insight on how bush tucker is sourced, as well as the opportunity to go on a bush walk and learn directly from locals. To explore the land by bike, tour with Jungala Enterprises, offering an authentic land experience. The itineraries are tailored to suit you, however, you can choose from a one day, or up to seven-day Larapinta Trail walk otherwise a half-day Jukurrpa Bikes tour. The Jukurrpa Bikes (dot painted bikes) tour brings a cultural journey on mountain bikes that have each been hand painted. During this tour, you will hear about Aboriginal History and will be taken around Mpantwe (Alice Springs) as well as have the opportunity to purchase paintings directly from the artists.
When you decide to explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, most of the tours are either led by, or done in collaboration with Aboriginal people. Here you’ll be able to take in some of the rich history and understand how the landscape connects with the people, as well as the significance of the land. Each day there is a free guided walking tour by a ranger at the park called the Mala Walk. During your visit, be mindful of cultural differences, specifically at sites with a strong level of spiritual significance, which may be restricted to visit, also some Aboriginal people’s beliefs may infringe on having their photo taken.
Another incredible encounter worth taking some time out for is a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park. Set just outside of the town, you will learn about plants, animals and the land in an unforgettable way.
All in all, it is essential to remember that all Aboriginal land is private and some communities require a permit to enter. Be mindful of this before you travel or decide to set up camp around Alice Springs. Whether you choose to explore Aboriginal culture through a bush tucker tour, bike tour or simply a visit to the many art galleries, learn about how this culture has survived for tens of thousands of years.