Travel with heart: How to embrace cultural experiences respectfully

Aboriginal experience with artefacts photo credit Nathan Lowe Photography

Image credit: Nathan Lowe Photography, via Firescreek Botanical Winery

Aboriginal experience with artefacts photo credit Nathan Lowe Photography

Image credit: Nathan Lowe Photography, via Firescreek Botanical Winery

You can’t truly know a place until you know its story, so who better to bring the local landscape to life than a Traditional Custodian of the very earth you walk on.
Experience the Central Coast from an entirely new angle via the local storylines, creativity, flora and fauna knowledge our guides, artists and chefs are ready to share with you…

The Central Coast is a truly special place, home to thousands of registered Heritage sites that share the stories of the world’s oldest living culture. In fact, the density and diversity of rock engravings and paintings from hinterland to headland is unrivalled in New South Wales.

To embrace these amazing experiences, it’s important to first understand some simple “house” rules, and to go slow with an open heart into your first tour of Country. Everyone's cultural experience will be different, but it’s guaranteed to always leave you with a powerfully new perspective.

Australia’s first astronomers, explorers and cartographers. Our first artists, dancers, historians and chefs. The relationship Aboriginal people have with the earth – their Connection to Country – has never been more important or more vital to the health of Australia than now.

However, the most amazing thing about Aboriginal culture is not necessarily it’s age or history, but it’s the incredible way every aspect of this culture links back to the land from which it is born (Source).

“Land is Life and Life is the Land from where we came and where we shall return.” – excerpt from Darkinjung Ngura

elder throwing boomerang
Credit: Nathan Lowe Photography, with Firescreek Winery
smoking ceremony
Credit: Dominic Loneragan, with Girria Girra Aboriginal Experiences
Top reasons to embrace local culture

Apart from getting exclusive access to the authentic past through shared stories passed down through the generations long before social media was even a thing, embracing Aboriginal cultural experiences as part of your trip can have many positive lasting impacts to your personal wellbeing. It is also a great way to show respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land around you, and understand their cultural heritage, both past and present.

Why a cultural experience is so powerful

  • It’s an unforgettable shared experience
  • It’s capable of broadening your world view
  • They offer more than 60,000 years of stories to share respectfully
  • It’s a good way to find screenless human connection at a time when we need it most
  • It’s led by guides full of life, with laughs and adventure is often at the heart of their tour
  • It will build a stronger connection to your own “mob” (family)
woman getting clay face paint by aboriginal man
Credit: Dominic Loneragan
aboriginal tour guide in song
Credit: Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences
Art in nature, as it was intended

Aboriginal people have lived in what is now known as New South Wales for more than 40,000 years, and have continued to practice their culture in NSW national parks to the present day. One of the best ways to experience Aboriginal rock art and engravings is in one of the Central Coast’s five national parks.

There are several great bushwalks across the Central Coast that directly connect you with sacred Aboriginal cultural sites, including Brisbane Water National Park, Bouddi National Park, and Kincumber Mountain Reserve. But before swiftly packing your rucksack and hiking out on the nearest trail, take a moment to consider our Sustainability Pledge and the real reason you’re seeking a greater connection. Is it for an Instagram photo, or is it simply because you’re interested? You’ll get a lot more out of the journey if it’s the latter…

wallaby rock carving
Credit: @kittycatswithprettytats
family in national park cultural tour
Credit: @these.wander.days
Central Coast cultural experiences

Aboriginal experiences invite you to learn something new; to be surprised or awed in our own backyard. Here's some ideas for Aboriginal owned and operated businesses available on the Central Coast:

Darkinjung Cultural Tours explore the true history of significant sites on the Central Coast with local Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Gavi

Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences in Bouddi National Park with Tim Selwyn explore ancient storylines, plus Tim's handmade artefacts are available online

Garry Purchase is a local Aboriginal artist who leads seasonal tours at Gosford Regional Gallery and sells his incredible art online

Artists Grant and Russ Molony are inspired by nature and their culture, selling their creative art and wares via Rowsie Lane, The Entrance


From adventure to culinary, artistic to historic, there's so much history and knowledge to embrace through a growing list of experiences on the Central Coast that weave in local culture as part of their offering, to connect you to the land you walk on:

Firescreek Aboriginal Storytelling and Wine Tasting Experience hosted at a botanical winery - check out more detail below.

Terrigal Ocean Tours lead ECO Certified on-water experiences of Broken Bay sharing the Aboriginal history of the area from an angle you’ve never seen on land.

Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary for family-friendly bushtucker tours or a Boomerang throwing workshop

Broken Bay Pearl Farm tours include a water experience past sacred Aboriginal sites, as the Hawkesbury River was a strong source of fresh oysters for local Aboriginal people.

Bouddi Gallery in Killcare showcase contemporary Aboriginal lifestyle art, woven handcrafts, homewares, clothing and music, ensuring artist communities directly benefit.

Bells of Killcare Day Spa experience inspired by the healing properties of local flora, the bookable Indigenous Clay Earth & Ocean Dreaming Ritual.


The Firescreek Aboriginal Storytelling and Wine Tasting Experience

As far as culinary experiences go, this one is truly unique. And it’s based right in the heart of the Central Coast at Holgate, 10 minutes drive from Erina Fair and 15 minutes from Terrigal Beach.

As a guest of the vineyard and in the presence of local Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Gavi, the native produce-inspired menu served up is exceptionally diverse – including Davidson plums, lilly pilly, mountain pepper and aspen – much of which is grown on the estate.

Meet the winemakers Nadia and Francis O’Connell who explain how they infuse their fruit wine range with these native ingredients. Uncle Gavi’s passion for the environment and music will shine through as he mesmerises you with tunes on his didgeridoo and reveals the stories behind the Aboriginal artefacts he brings along.

For more information on booking this experience for a group, visit the Firescreek website and contact direct.

aboriginal elder playing didgeridoo
Credit: Nathan Lowe Photography
aboriginal elder with artefacts
Credit: Nathan Lowe Photography

Share the love

Do you have a fresh suggestion we’ve missed, or want to see your local business featured? We'd love to hear it – simply get in touch here with a few lines about your idea, or jump on our radar by creating a free Central Coast business or event listing here.


Don't forget – when sharing your love for local on the Central Coast, tag #LoveCentralCoast and mention us on Instagram and Facebook.