Yurra Yulmbarril Kuku Yalanji Bubu – Welcome to Kuku Yalanji land. It’s here, where two World Heritage-listed sites blend, that you can have a true ecotourism experience by walking in the footsteps of those who have always called it home.
Whether you prefer to stay put at Daintree Ecolodge or explore the surrounding Daintree Rainforest and beyond, these four Indigenous experiences deserve top billing on your itinerary.
4 essential Indigenous experiences to have in the Daintree
Walkabout Cultural Adventures
It’s only when you open yourself up to the knowledge and guidance of the Kuku Yalanji people that the true magnificence of this landscape unveils itself. On a half or full-day tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures, you’re invited to go walkabout and learn Dreamtime Stories about the land, sea and sky. You’ll have a history lesson never taught in school and taste bush tucker as the Daintree opens up to you as the native supermarket and pharmacy that it has always been to the Kuku Yalanji people, with a bit of spear throwing in, too. After starting as a tour guide with Daintree Ecolodge in 1999, Kuku Yalanji man, Juan Walker, founded the 100-per-cent Aboriginal owned and operated company, developing essential North Queensland Indigenous experiences.
Get hands on and take home a piece of Kuku Yalanji culture with you after an art lesson with Brian “Binna” Swindley at Janbal Gallery, near Mossman Gorge. The only Aboriginal artist in Tropical North Queensland to own his own gallery, Binna (so-called because of his hearing impairment; it means “ear” in Kuku Yalanji) is a contemporary Indigenous artist who paints glorious dot paintings – linger after class to peruse his works. Many celebrate the cassowary, a large flightless bird that lives in the rainforest. “That’s my Totem bird – it’s very special to me,” he says.
Sacred waterfall and swimming hole
The traditional owners of this Country, the Kuku Yalanji people, have a history that reaches back at least 50,000 years. It’s a figure that will roll around in your mind as you set out on foot through the rainforest to discover the Daintree Ecolodge’s sacred onsite waterfall. Its waters have been used by Kuku Yalanji women for healing and spiritual beliefs since time immemorial and ‘A Walk Through Time’ – which departs from the lodge almost daily – provides you the opportunity to learn more about these rituals, surrounded by a flurry of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife – much of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Far North Escapes – Wujal Wujal Waterfall Bloomfield Track
Mention the words ‘Bloomfield track’ and any avid four-wheel-driver’s eyes will light up, but join this exclusive Indigenous experience and you’ll delve deeper into the rainforest than your wheel treads will take you. This adventurous day trip will transport you to the pristine Wujal Wujal Waterfall (Bloomfield Falls), Cowie Beach and Emmagen Creek while sharing the stories and beliefs of the Kuku Yalanji people.