New South Wales: First Nations food experiences
Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens has a vast collection of native plants and offers a range of Aboriginal experiences throughout the year, including 'First Encounters', focusing on medicinal uses for traditional flora.
Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre north-west of Sydney has a thriving native nursery which supplies many local restaurants with ingredients in wholesale quantities. There are also guided meal tastings available (bookings essential).
Venture to World Heritage Listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and go on a journey of discovery with Guringai Aboriginal Tours. Learn how Aboriginal ancestors used the site as a classroom, cared for the land and how it cared for them.
Campbelltown Council's Bush Explorers walks and workshops on Dharuwal land are also increasingly popular among visitors and locals alike. These tours take place on selected weekends throughout the year, so check out the website, and make sure you secure your spot in advance.
If you aren't really the outdoors type, don't worry - restaurants all around Sydney are increasingly using traditional ingredients in their dishes, and it's common to find menus featuring kangaroo, mud crab and other traditional flavours.
The traditional homeland of the Darug, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri, Wanaruah, Darkinjung and Tharawal people, the Greater Blue Mountains area is rich in cultural sites that share the heritage and customs of the land.
Head to the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre and immerse yourself in 'Outside In' - their permanent exhibition about local Aboriginal culture, plants and animals, as well as the history of the walking tracks around the vast Grose Valley.
Deepen your connection to country with the Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout. Guided by a member of the Darug Custodian Aboriginal Clan you will walk to sacred art and ceremonial sites to experience a truly inspiring and life-changing understanding of the wonderful Aboriginal culture.
Where to stay: Blue Mountains YHA
Walk in the knowing footsteps of Arakwal elders for medicine and nourishment in a guided Place of Plenty tour in Byron Bay, or forage nature’s bounty on a Mullimbimby Bush Tucker Walk; collect leaves to create your own bush tea. For a treat, savour dinner at Karkalla where you’ll find a menu packed with lush native ingredients like quandong, thanks to its Indigenous proprietor.
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to markets and festivals in the area. Pick up something special to upgrade your culinary game like Davidson’s Plum Jam from local Rainforest Foods or Aboriginal staple, wattleseed, from Playing with Fire.
In Tweed Heads, get your group together and charter a Pot to Plate gourmet cruise. Try your luck with yabbie grabbing and mud-crab digging; fresh catches are cooked over fire and bamboo spears are used to hunt, as is tradition. It’s a unique experience you won’t forget.
Mid-North Coast & Newcastle Region
In Port Macquarie, discover how native Australians used rainforest plants for food and wellness, as you find out more about Birpai history on the Walk, Talk, Taste tour at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. Hop a bus for a half-hour journey to Wigay Aboriginal Cultural Park in Kempsey and delight in fire-baked damper as well as your insider’s access to bushfood secrets.
Relish fresh seafood. Oysters were hugely important for Aboriginal Australians, their shells useful as tools, too. Near Anna Bay, Worimi Conservation Lands granted direct access to the ocean, and remain an important spiritual site.
In Newcastle, build your foraging skills and learn to identify and cook what you’ve gathered. You may just impress yourself with your creativity.
Meet the traditional custodians of the land, the Dhurga and Dharawal people, with a visit to the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum.
Stories as old as time won’t fail to leave an impression, the Dreamtime a mystery shared at Nura Gunyu.
In Nowra, peep hidden sandstone caves amidst primordial landscapes in a guided tour by Uncle Sonny Simms and his son Matt. You’ll never see the landscape the same way again.
Learn more about Indigenous food experiences around Australia.
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