From Queensland’s vibrant Great Barrier Reef to the colour-filled sunsets of Uluru, it’s time to take another, deeper look at Australia’s incredible icons.
As far as icons go, Australia can lay claim to some of the best. No, we’re not talking about Vegemite, Sam Kerr’s right foot or the Big Banana. This sunburned country’s history goes back much further than that, more than 65,000 years, and there’s no better way to understand modern Australia than to visit it through the eyes of our First Nations. This is exactly what AAT Kings aims to achieve with its new 13-day Aboriginal Culture and Australian Highlights tour.
Explore Australia’s breathtaking icons in a more meaningful way.
With a commitment to providing meaningful and sustainable offerings, AAT Kings’ Make Travel Matter Experiences have been curated not only by the social and environmental impact they have on their communities but also by the impact they have on those who experience them.
Discover our world-famous icons with a deeper cultural context and understanding. There’s no better time to appreciate the overwhelming natural beauty of Australia, alongside its multidimensional cultural past.
1. The mighty Yarra River
Australia’s second-largest city is eclectic, artsy, and bustling with culture. Melbourne (Narrm) occupies land traditionally owned by the Wurundjeri people. Running through the heart of Melbourne, flowing toward the vastness of Port Philip Bay, is the mighty brown Yarra River. Originally called Birrarung by the First Nations people who lived and camped nearby, the river was used for farming by the early settlers.
Treat your tastebuds at Big Esso by Mabu Mabu.
Explore the history, landscape and meaning of the area with a First Nation’s guide from the Koorie Heritage Trust who will help you delve deeper into the past. Not only does the tour leave time for exploration of the riverbanks and their history, but you’ll also be able to eat at Big Esso by Mabu Mabu at Federation Square, a Torres Strait-owned and run business, offering dishes featuring native ingredients.
As the Yarra River flows endlessly next door, finish the day by heading over to the world-renowned Ian Potter Centre (NGV) which features one of the largest collections of Indigenous art in Australia.
Wander through the large Indigenous art collection at the National Gallery of Victoria.
2. The heart and soul of Uluru
A visit to Uluru in the spiritual and physical heart of Australia is hard to explain. There’s a special feeling you get when you first see the rust-coloured monolith rising from the sun-drenched desert floor; it’s a mixture of complete awe and serene calmness.
This part of Australia has been a spiritual home for thousands of years by the local Anangu people. The Aboriginal Culture and Australian Highlights tour invites local storytellers to share the history, meaning and future of this extraordinary place.
Walk to the base of Uluru.
Explore the Kuniya walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole at the base of Uluru, and the next day, immerse yourself in creativity as you visit the renowned Maruku Arts Centre. This Anangu-owned and operated not-for-profit art and craft corporation offers the chance to meet some of the 900 local artists who make up this collective, and even take an art class yourself.
Partake in an art class with one of Maruku Arts Centre’s talented professionals.
3. An insider’s Sydney Harbour
Arguably one of the most beautiful city harbours in the world, Sydney Harbour has long been a meeting place of cultures. Home to the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the history, and stories of this land reach far beyond the gleaming skyscrapers and modern icons.
Hear from voices long past with AAT Kings when you join Aunty Margret of Dreamtime Southern X on a walking tour around the historic Rocks district, where your eyes will be opened to how much you didn’t know about this iconic landscape – no matter how many times you’ve been there before. Then head on board with Tribal Warrior Cruises and Tours to explore the lesser-known harbour islands, steeped in Indigenous culture.
Join Aunty Margret of Dreamtime Southern X on a walking tour. (Image: DNSW)
Not forgetting the Sydney Opera House; our most distinct modern icon. Opened in 1973, this architectural wonder took around 14 years to build. You’ll find out why on the exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, where you’ll be privvy to its secrets, stories, and most famous guests.
Explore the lesser-known harbour islands with Tribal Warrior Cruises and Tours. (Image: DNSW)
The sacredness of the Great Barrier Reef
The 2,300 kilometres making up Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef hold a special significance for Australia’s First Nations. Before the sea rose around 7000 years ago, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gathered, lived, and camped on what is now the sea floor.
Containing thousands of sacred sites, this chain of coral reefs and marine life not only represents a living history for local traditional owners but also represents the sustainable practices which coastal clans have protected the local resources with for centuries.
See the Great Barrier Reef in a different way with Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel. (Image: TEQ)
Mix incredible sightseeing, diving and snorkelling with Indigenous Dreamtime stories that reach back 65,000 years with Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel’s catamaran tours. Swim among 1,500 species of fish, and look out for turtles and the elusive dugong, which have featured prominently in Dreamtime stories from this area.
Extend your knowledge of this tropical landscape on the Cape Tribulation, Mossman and Daintree tour, where you’ll walk through some of the world’s oldest rainforests and taste some of the local bush tucker.
Walk through some of the world’s oldest rainforests. (Image: TEQ)
Delve deeper into our Australian history with aatkings.com.