Top tips for responsible travel in Aboriginal Australia
You don’t need to brush up on all the complex politics of post-colonial Australia before you head Down Under; just learn to be sensitive and courteous and you will have a memorable experience of this ancient and spiritual country.
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Going on tour
Tours that focus on Aboriginal culture is still low. Do some research and ask a travel team agent to find good tour operators. A tour provides support to Indigenous owned-and-run initiatives, with profits going back to local communities.
For visitors to Central Australia, being aware of privacy and its importance to Indigenous Australians is a basic ethical travel requirement. Understanding privacy demonstrates respect for Aboriginal culture. For example, permits are required to visit many communities.
When visiting tourist sites that are places of cultural significance, some areas may be closed or have restricted access, just remember to respect this, and ask if you are unsure.
Example of ignoring signs: climbing Uluru (Ayers Rock). For safety, environmental and important cultural reasons the local Aboriginal community do not condone climbing of the rock, but thousands of visitors do it each year. Would you climb the main altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, or splash around in the National 9/11 Memorial ?
Indigenous people have a unique relationship with the land and water of their country. There are many ways you can respect this spiritual relationship to country.
- Never remove rocks or objects from Aboriginal lands or waters without permission
- Drive with care to avoid hitting wildlife, car pooling helps minimize your impact on the environment.
- Never kick ant beds, or stones, or carve initials into, trees.
- Rock art sites are particularly fragile, don’t climb for a photo without asking
- Consider giving back to local communities through making a donation to local projects designed to improve and preserve the natural environment.
- The simple act of enquiring about whose traditional lands you are visiting, is a mark of respect
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