Aboriginal Culture

Thousands of years of sharing the land

Tours hosted by local Traditional Owners offer a unique chance to experience the rich beauty and hidden tranquility of these ancient landscapes. 

Many Aboriginal-Owned Cultural Tours invite you to respectfully access a private location that is otherwise closed to the general public. Many significant areas are open to independent travellers, but visitors are strongly encouraged to explore these important cultural sites as a guest of a local Aboriginal guide. From quiet canyons etched with Aboriginal rock carvings to gorges decorated with hidden fossils, your experience of these ancient locations and precious artefacts will be infinitely enriched by insights that can only be revealed by the Traditional Custodians of the land.

The Adnyamathanha people of the Northern Flinders Ranges have shared the land with the Kuyani, Arabunna, Kokatha, Nukunu and Barngarla. Likewise, Arabunna people of the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre region share country with the Wangkangurru/Yarluyandi, Adnyamathanha, Kokatha, Barngarla and Antakirinja. And the Yankunytjatjara people of the central interior have shared the land with the Antakirinja, Pitjantjatjara, Kokatha and Eringa people.

It’s hard to visit the Flinders and Outback and not appreciate the synergy between the Aboriginal people and the land they’ve called home for thousands of years. The Flinders Ranges and Outback showcase some of Australia’s most precious Aboriginal heritage and living culture experiences covering a vast area of South Australia and many different environments.

A visit to the region is an opportunity to discover ancient myths of outback Australia – to learn of the many Dreamtime stories passed down through the elders of countless generations. Even today, the Flinders Ranges are still of strong cultural significance to the local Adnyamathanha people with the geology, topography, flora, fauna and climate all featuring in traditional stories and legends. Significant examples can be found at Sacred Canyon – roughly 19km from Ikara Wilpena Pound, and only accessible with a guide booked through Wilpena Pound Resort. Alternatively, take a self-guided tour of Arkaroo Rock, located at the southern boundaries of Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park.

To immerse yourself further, head to Stokes Hill Lookout and read about Yurlu the Kingfisher, Yura Muda (Adnyamathanha Dreaming), and Mandya and Urdlu (The Euro and the Kangaroo) and take in the incredible views. Learn more at Ikara – The Meeting Place (located in Ikara Wilpena Pound), an award-winning public art space that shares an important story of the Adnyamathanha people.

Lake Torrens National Park features the expansive salt lake of Lake Torrens, a sacred site to the Barngarla, Kokatha, Kuyani and Adnyamathanha people. The surrounding regions are rich with opal, thought to have been created when rainbows touched the earth.

The Southern Flinders Ranges through to Port Augusta is home to the Nukunu people. Be captivated by their story at the interpretive centre located in the Melrose Courthouse Heritage Centre. You can visit significant Aboriginal and early Australian sites on tours or 4WD adventures. Immerse yourself in Dreamtime stories as told by traditional descendants. Learn about the different cultures and heritage, and how stories have been passed down from elder generations. Local food, music and dance performances are often included.

If you’re heading for the APY Lands in the north-west of South Australia, you’ll need entry permits from the APY Lands Permit Office. Contact them on (08) 8954 8104.