For decades International tourists came to Australia wanting an Indigenous tourism experience, and left disappointed they couldn’t find one.

And while there is still a long way to go to truly tell our nation’s story through the eyes of First Nations guide, the Indigenous tourism sector is booming.

COVID-19 may have forced a pause on tourism, but new offerings are still popping up right across the country and, with travellers returning to our shores and many Australians venturing to the outback for the first time, things are picking up again.

Here are a few new First Nations-led ventures which have popped up on our radar in the past few years.

Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism

It is one of the most unique sites in Australia and one steeped in Indigenous history, and now the UNESCO World Heritage-listed area is open for cultural tourism.

With the opening of the aquaculture centre this year, Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism now offers a multitude of Indigenous experiences courtesy of the region’s Traditional Owners.

Budj Bim Cultural Landscape opens doors to World Heritage area cultural tours

Those include tours of the Budj Bim National Park, Kurtonitj, the Tae Rak Aquaculture Centre and Lake Condah.

Artefacts and environment are key drawcards to the historic site, and there’s even the opportunity to sample what the landscape was designed for – catching eel – through a First Nations chef’s smoked platters.

Wunyami Cultural Walking Tour

Situated 25km off the coast of Cairns in Far North Queensland, Wunyami (Green Island) has a rich Indigenous history.

Run by GuruGulu Gungganji and Gimu Yidinji Traditional Owners, the tour delves into traditional food and medicine found in the rainforest and the ancestral story of the beings who formed and protect the island.

Demonstrations on how to light fire traditionally, and on various cultural practices are held during the tour which goes through parts of Wunyami previously closed off to the public.

Baiyungu Dreaming

Western Australia’s Ningaloo Coast has for years been the laggard when it comes to Indigenous tourism experiences, with no First Nations offerings on the table.

That is until now.

Hazel Walgar is leading the biggest change to Ningaloo tourism since whale shark swims

Baiyungu woman Hazel Walgar this year started up her tag-along tours from Coral Bay, 150km south of Exmouth, and they have quickly gained traction.

Walgar offers 4WD tagalongs and sunset campfire yarns, and has bold ambitions to grow out to a multi-pronged tourism operation employing local Indigenous people to share their stories of the reef which tourists flock to the region for.

Walawaani Muriyira-waraga

Dhurga language for safe journey whale – many, the first of what is hoped will be an annual Indigenous event welcoming the 40,000 whales which migrate along the east coast of Australia will be held on August 13.

Hosted in Bermagui 300km south of Sydney, the event aims to connect people to place and celebrate the relationship between whales, the town’s community and the Yuin nation as they migrate south to Antarctica.

Djarindjin Campground

Camping with Custodians has been slowly rolling out for about five years now in northern Western Australia, and Djarindjin north of Broome is the latest offering.

Some 190km north of Broome, the modern campground has 37 powered and 10 unpowered sites and is a great platform to learn about the Dampier Peninsula from Bardi and Jawi tour guides.