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5 of Australia’s best First Nations bush food experiences

written by Intrepid Travel November 21, 2022
A woman wearing a hat and glasses holds a huge oyster up to the camera

Together with our friends at Welcome to Country, we’ve compiled a list of some of Australia’s best bush food experiences. Get ready to dig in!

The only thing that brings as much joy to people as travel is food, right? So how good is it when travel and food join forces? Food brings people together. It has the power to sustain and nourish, to foster community and to inspire the big stuff: conversations, commonality, connection.

It’s also a learning tool. Food is a delicious and easy way to immerse yourself in other cultures and traditions. And it’s a great way to discover more about First Nations history. Foraging, cooking and eating with First Nations people is – we believe – a powerful way to learn about the true custodians of the land known as Australia.

Here are some of the country’s best bush food experiences, everywhere from the Pilbara region to the sunny east coast. We hope you’re hungry.

1. Go on a coastal foraging walk on Murujuga Country

The tide is going out in front of a rocky cove. A few clouds are dotted in the blue sky.

The Australian bush is full of fruit, nuts, seeds and roots that have been sustaining First Nations peoples for tens of thousands of years. On this half-day bush tucker tour of Hearson Cove in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, travellers head out onto Murujuga Country to learn about what to eat and how to prepare it on this fascinating (and delicious) coastal foraging walk. Clinton Walker, a descendant of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people – the Traditional Owners of the coastal and inland areas of the West Pilbara – will explain the culture and history of the region, then treat guests to a range of bush tucker like berries, bush potatoes and, if you’re lucky, a fresh-caught mud crab. Be prepared to get your hands (and feet) dirty.

2. Take in a meal and a show at Spirits of the Red Sand

Two Aboriginal actors in traditional dress sit in front of a fire

A theatre restaurant, but not as you know it. Spirits of the Red Sand, a powerful performance held at Beenleigh Historical Village just south of Brisbane, follows the story of three Aboriginal brothers as they deal with clashing cultures and beliefs – from the Dreamtime to the 19th century – and is based on true events (in fact, the actors in the show are direct descendents of the mobs whose stories are depicted). Diners will move from scene to scene throughout this immersive and interactive performance, enjoying Indigenous songs, dancing and food. The delicious three-course meal includes damper with bush dukkah, kangaroo, crocodile and emu skewers, and a lemon myrtle cheesecake. This is a fascinating way to learn about Indigenous culture (and eat some amazing food while you’re at it).

3. Enjoy a bush tucker fine dining experience in Mudgee

Close up of hands on a knife placing finger lime onto shucked oysters

When Ngemba Weilwan woman and founder of Warakirri Dining Sharon Winsor was a child, her favourite thing to do was collect bush fruits and yabbies. This passion for food led her to create this delicious and informative dining experience in Mudgee, a few hours from Sydney. Over four hours, enjoy Australian native foods, botanicals, culture and rituals as Sharon combines modern cooking techniques with traditional methods – this is bush tucker dining at its finest. An evening at Warakirri, which means ‘grow with us’, promises deep learning alongside music, song and storytelling.

4. Kick back for a big beach cook up on Lullumb Country

A man wearing a red NY cap and blue polo shirt is holding two mud crabs

Immerse yourself in Bardi-Jawi history with your local guide Bolo on this incredible Southern Cross cultural walk through Lullumb Country on WA’s Dampier Peninsula. Bolo and his family live here, and during the three-hour walk they share regional stories, songs and cultural knowledge. He’ll explain the importance of the mangroves ecosystem, how native plants are used as both food and medicine, and how to find fresh water and bush tucker. Bolo will also talk through how the Bardi-Jawi people use Country and the changing tides to determine the seasons, and the ways this dictates their foraging patterns. End your day with a big cook up of the day’s finds on the beach – heaven!

5. Indulge in foraging’s fancier side at Mt Borradaile

Hikers climbing over rocks to admire ancient rock art in Australia

Sometimes, an afternoon of foraging bush tucker just doesn’t cut it. You need a whole day. Actually, you need FIVE days. And it needs to be a little bit fancy too. This four-night Arnhem Land immersion at Mt Borradaile ticks all the boxes. By day, explore rugged ranges, flood plains, rainforests and billabongs – you’ll even get the chance to see cave art that’s over 50,000 years old. By night, enjoy fine dining before heading to bed in your four-star eco-cabin. Mt Borradaile is a registered Aboriginal sacred site, and is owned and managed by its traditional custodians, the Amurdak people, who have lived on Country for tens of thousands of years.

Our partners Welcome to Country have a huge range of First Nations food experiences across Australia. Check out their website for more information.

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