Authentic Indigenous Immersion Experiences for Schools

On country with Pudakul on our Indigenous Immersion programs, Kakadu | Tourism Australia/James Fisher
On country with Pudakul on our Indigenous Immersion programs, Kakadu | Tourism Australia/James Fisher

Indigenous immersion programs are cultural journeys that provide students with a firsthand opportunity to understand the connection with Country through Indigenous eyes and helps them to appreciate one of the longest surviving cultures on the planet.

The opportunity to spend time with local communities and caring for the land like their ancestors did is invaluable for students’ understanding of our First Nations people. Genuine experiences carefully crafted in consultation with local communities, that head deeper into Australia’s remote communities and wilderness regions, help to foster a personal connection between students and their hosts. Such experiences also help young people to examine their own lives from a new and completely different perspective.

From bush tucker samplings to cultural conversations, a smoking ceremony to exploring hidden rock galleries, tracking animals to learning how to identify medicinal plants and living off the land, your school group will participate in team building exercises and engage in physical activity and as they learn more about the Aboriginal people’s deep respect for their environment.

The following is just a sample of what your students could experience.

Follow a 'Dreaming Pathway' or songline on the Jatbula Trail

A culturally significant area, the Jatbula Trail follows a songline that has many dreaming story crossroads. The trail is named after Peter Jatbula, a traditional owner who fought hard for the area to be returned to the Aboriginal people in the 1970s and 80s.

Tracing ancient passages, the hike through the exceptional Arnhem Land escarpment and Stone Country in the Northern Territory is elevated as you visit ancient rock art sites, which bring to life the Dreamtime stories handed down through the generations.

Interesting sites include the Jawoyn Aboriginal rock art hidden in the many stony outcrops and overhangs en route to Crystal Falls. You also explore the Amphitheatre, which is a rainforest gorge, with its rock shelters exhibiting the art of the Jawoyn Traditional Owners.

Gain a deeper understanding of the local Indigenous culture with visits to ancient rock art sites |  <i>Linda Murden</i>

Taste authentic bush tucker in the Red Centre

Ever tried bush muesli? Well, there are plenty of unique bush foods on the menu on an Indigenous immersion trip for schools in Central Australia.

While exploring iconic sites including the Serpentine Gorge, the Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge & Standley Chasm, students can complete an indigenous cultural program with local community members and landowners covering local arts, ancient sites, traditional methods, and ceremonies and of course, bush tucker.

A highlight is Standley Chasm, a private reserve proudly owned and operated by its Traditional Owners as part of the lwupataka Land Trust.

A cultural conversation is led by one of their local guides where students learn about the site’s significance, being one of the areas where Aboriginal land has been passed back to them.

Also known as Angkerle Atwatye to the local Indigenous people, the site's rocky slopes rise an astonishing 80 metres above the chasm, which has been carved out over millions of years by a tributary of the Finke River system – purported to be the oldest river in the world.

Food glorious food; our menu includes many native bush foods |  <i>#cathyfinchphotography</i>
View Northern Territory Indigenous Immersion and School Travel programs

Marvel at hidden rock art galleries in the Top End

In addition to the rock art found on the Jatbula Trail, Kakadu National Park offers an array of hidden rock art, which recount ancient stories, lore and songs significant to Indigenous Australian culture.

Coupled with the vast landscapes and rich wildlife, a visit to these rock galleries adds a unique element on an Indigenous immersion tour of Australia’s Top End. Over 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage of both the present and past is on display in the Top End.

While staying in Pudakul country on Wulna Land and in exclusive semi-permanent campsites away from other tourists, students will learn about the area from their Indigenous hosts during a hands-on cultural immersion program.

An Indigenous guide shares his knowledge of Aboriginal music during a cultural tour |  <i>Tourism NT/Nick Pincott</i>

Pay respects to those lost during the Wybalenna ‘Aboriginal Settlement’ on Flinders Island

Shrouded by myth and legend, Truganini was considered one of the last full-blooded Aboriginals in Tasmania and was moved to Flinders Island along with her husband and approximately 100 other last surviving Tasmanian Aboriginals. 

Her story is debated by historians and a visit to the fascinating Flinders Island Museum and the historic Wybalenna is a must for students eager to learn more about the plight of the First Nation’s people in Tasmania.

The infamous site of Wybalenna reverberates a sad history about the disastrous indigenous resettlement scheme back in 1834. Wybalenna is where Tasmanian Aborigines were transported after the 'friendly mission'; that is, the mission to round up and remove Aboriginal people from mainland Tasmania.

While the remaining graveyard, housing and chapel are a heavy and melancholic sight to take in, it is an important and historically significant place to learn about.

Our guides take care to make sure information presented here is accurate and sensitive and visitors are then taken to the local museum nearby where they are given the chance to learn more about what happened there.

The graveyard near Wybalenna Chapel contains unmarked Aboriginal graves. Around 300 Aboriginals were ‘delivered’ there during its time as a mission. |  <i>Dietmar Kahles</i>

Connect with the land in WA's Francois Peron National Park

Access the heavily restricted Francois Peron National Park and explore this impressive area of acacia-cloaked red dunes and arid shrublands surrounded by turquoise water on an exclusive immersion experience with the Wula Gura Nyinda Eco team.

There are about 130 registered Aboriginal Heritage sites in the area, including quarries, rock shelters, burial sites and middens and students will learn about connection to country, environmental awareness while exploring the region on foot and by kayak. 

Looking for bushtucker, learning about medicinal plants, animals tracking. And engaging engage in storytelling over a campfire are just some of the experiences on offer in this stunning region of Western Australia.

The Wula Gura Nyinda team will provide the indigenous immersion program in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area |  <i>Tourism WA</i>

 View Western Australia Indigenous Immersion and School Travel programs

Experience a smoking ceremony and the Great Barrier Reef

In Far North Queensland, join the Mandingalbay Yidinji people to explore their country straddling the wet tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage areas.

Students will be welcomed to Country with a traditional smoke ceremony before listening to their hosts’ stories about their spiritual and cultural connection to the land.

A wide range of immersion programs and activities are on offer including learning about bush tucker, maintaining land with local Aboriginal rangers, and preparing a "Kup Murri" earth oven dug into the ground. 

Discuss totems and the protection of animals, native title acts and visit an aquaponics gardener for a fun, hands on look at how to produce organic fruits, herbs, veggies and fish in a sustainable way in your school or backyard. 

We join a local Indigenous artist and try our hand at painting |  <i>SWJ</i>
View Queensland Indigenous Immersion and School Travel programs

World Expeditions Schools respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of all the areas that it operates in and thank them for sharing this beautiful land with us.

Indigenous Immersion programs, School Cultural Trips, Indigenous Immersion for schools, Student Travel

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