Natural swimming holes, laughing kookaburras and canyons that rival the world’s best: the Australian Outback has all this in abundance, along with the opportunity to engage with the world’s oldest continuous culture. Hop on a tour and you’ll experience the sights and sounds of the Outback – but have you wanted to taste the Outback too?
Intrepid Travel is giving travellers the chance to experience native Australian food on several of their Northern Territory trips. These native ingredients have been used by Indigenous communities for hundreds and thousands of years, but it’s only now that they’re poised to enter the mainstream.
This bush food experience was developed in consultation with Aussie bush tucker specialist Andrew Fielke with mindful guidance from local Indigenous communities. Intrepid and Fielke have intentions to put native foods in the spotlight, celebrating and preserving these traditional practices for future generations. They're doing it by engaging with Indigenous groups on projects and making special efforts to purchase menu items from Indigenous and ethically sourced suppliers.
Not many people know that Australia is home to nearly 5,000 edible plant species and the following four Intrepid tours showcase the best of the lot, all the while experiencing the sights and paying respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet.
Try one of these Intrepid tours
In this four-day tour, travellers can discover the Northern Territory’s superb landscapes and sites, including the town of Alice Springs, the ancient rock formations of Kata Tjuta and Uluru. This is Anangu land, so best let the local Mututjulu community show you the ropes. You’ll join an Indigenous guide on a Mala walk around the base of Uluru, dine under the stars and camp within privately owned sites on the Outback. Travellers will wander the immense landscape of the West MacDonnell Ranges, watching for wildlife at every turn, and hike through the natural amphitheatres, rocky chasms and oases of Kings Canyon, all the while learning the spiritual and cultural importance of the land to the local Aboriginal people. Throughout the tour, you’ll enjoy meals created using locally sourced and sustainably supplied ingredients, including kangaroo, emu, lemon myrtle, desert lime and wattle seed.
Explore the Northern Territory’s rugged Top End on this family-friendly adventure that kicks off in Darwin. Travellers can learn from the local Jawoyn and Dagoman people, who will share Indigenous legends and customs during the Top Didj cultural experience, a two-hour activity that lets guests interact with Top End Aboriginal artist Manuel Pamkal. The four-day tour will take travellers to Litchfield National Park, a huge stone plateau littered with waterfalls. Also included: wildlife cruises to see crocodiles and native birds, trips to Kakadu National Park to see traditional rock art in Ubirr, with the opportunity to take a scenic flight over Kakadu to view the Arnhem Land escarpment, vast floodplains and billabongs. Travellers will get to enjoy an exclusive Australian native foods menu throughout the tour. Sample menu items include emu pate, a buffalo Penang-style curry and a barbecue night with marinated kangaroo kebabs.
This comprehensive nine-day tour takes travellers from Darwin to Alice Springs, covering the region’s biggest drawcards and highlighting little-known wonders along the way. The trip includes croc spotting in the Mary River Wetlands as well as immersive tours in the tropics of Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park and Katherine Gorge. Travellers will get a prime view of Uluru at sunrise and be able to witness the domes of Kata Tjuta. Under the guidance of the local Limilngan-Wulna people, you’ll be invited into their community and take part in a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ address. Some nights will be spent in outback camping grounds and it’s recommended you have a moderate level of fitness as it involves a lot of walking – you’ll even get to skip the 24-hour bus trip from Darwin to Alice Springs with a short flight instead. Travellers will also enjoy fully catered evening meals in Kakadu, Litchfield and Katherine.
Take the road less travelled on this tour that covers the overland road from tropical Cairns to the dusty expanses of the Red Centre. Kicking off with a visit to the Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands and Millstream Falls, this tour cuts through the centre of Australia on one of the most remote 4WD tracks in the country, passing through Hughenden, Winton, Porcupine Creek and Boulia. Alice Springs is up next, which travellers can spend a few days exploring the canyons, ridges, boulders and ravines of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. Arguably the pinnacle of the trip would be watching day break over Uluru, followed by a cultural interpretive walk led by an Indigenous guide who will explain the traditions and beliefs of the region’s traditional custodians, the Mala people. Meals on the road will be included – a sample evening might include wrapping Saddle Tail snapper in paperbark to cook on the barbecue, which is then served with lemon aspen butter sauce, garden and potato salads.