Adventure in Culture – Women’s Tour of Yolŋu Homeland, East Arnhem Land, NT

Become part of a small family community in East Arnhem Land. The Gay’wu women’s tour provide female visitors with the opportunity to come together with their Yolŋu sisterhood and learn about their culture, history and country.

AT A GLANCE

Dates19–23 May 2022
21–25 July 2022
(If the dates listed are not suitable, please contact our team travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210 to enquire about alternative dates)
Activity levelEasy.
(There is no strenuous activity on this tour. There may be some walking over slightly uneven ground, through the bush, and over soft sand. However, if you have a basic fitness level, and can walk for 15 minutes at a time, you should be fine)
Duration5 days, 4 nights
PricesFrom $2399 per person twin share
From $1999 per Child (4-14 yrs)
From $135 single supplement (only for the last night)
Group sizeMinimum 6, maximum 14 guests
Featuring regionsEast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Yolŋu often say the land is their mother. It nurtures, heals and guides their lives. This is why the female visitor experience and connection to the Yolŋu people is often so profound. 

Our Gay’wu women’s tour provides female visitors with the opportunity to come together with their Yolŋu sisterhood and learn about their culture, history and country. Equally, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with every aspect of their own lives – environment, spirituality and philosophy. 

The dilly bag is a powerful and important cultural symbol in Arnhem Land, where it was first created thousands of years ago. Woven with dyed pandanus leaves, the dilly bag has both a practical and spiritual meaning, the practicality of holding foods and medicines gathered from the bush.
The spiritual meaning of the dilly bag has given rise to the name of this tour, as it’s also used to carry knowledge.

The women of Arnhem Land wish to open their hearts to visitors and share the knowledge they have acquired over many thousands of years. Knowledge of the bush, the ancestors, the sky and the universe.

You will experience many extraordinary things on this tour, and time spent with the Yolŋu women is often described as “life-changing”. The ladies may speak about Yolŋu philosophy and kinship, astrology, the healing ceremony, the crying ceremony  (Nathi). Activities could include traditional weaving, painting, cooking and bush medicine, dancing, gathering oysters or mud crabs and much more. Specific activities will vary according to the homeland visited as each is different. Activities also vary depending on the season and availability of materials.

This small group tour cultural experience departs from Nhulunbuy. This tour is for women and girls only. In the modern western world this could be seen as sexism, but in the Yolŋu world there are clearly defined roles and activities undertaken exclusively by women and men. These roles have mutual respect, and many activities such as dancing and eating are undertaken together.

Depending on the homeland visited, the tour may include a charter flight to remote homeland where you will be welcomed by the traditional owners, and given an overview of a woman’s role in Yolŋu society. During your tour, you might visit the remarkable art centre in Yirrkala – Buku Larrngguy here you will see beautiful works of art on barks, Larrakitj (ceremonial poles), weavings jewellery and much more. Buku also has an extraordinary collection of historical material and is regarded as one of the best Aboriginal Art centres in Australia.

Important: There will be Yolŋu men present at the homeland that you visit. This is their home; it is where they live. However, most of the activities undertaken will be led by the Yolŋu women.

Note: There are a number of Yolŋu homelands that welcome our groups so we do not guarantee a specific homeland for our tours. Itineraries and activities undertaken may also change depending on the season, tides, weather conditions and cultural matters. We are guided by what our Yolŋu hosts are undertaking at the time of our visit.

Is this trip right for you ?

Our woman’s tours spend three nights and four days on a traditional Yolŋu homeland, and one night in Nhulunbuy. The locations of the homelands are remote and the facilities are basic. 

Accommodation: Three nights will be spent on a Yolŋu homeland with simple, shared indoor or outdoor accommodation. Showers and toilets are shared – similar to those in a campground. You will be sharing a room, or a tent with other tour participants whilst you are staying on the homeland. You can however, pay a little extra to have a single room for the last night of the itinerary which is spent in Nhulunbuy. Linen and towels are provided so there is no need for you to bring your own.

Itinerary: The tour itinerary is not set in stone. The aim of the tour is to participate in the unstructured and less regimented Yolŋu daily life. Each Yolngu homeland offers a slightly different experience, and each time we visit we may be hosted by different family members. Your Yolŋu hosts will lead each day’s activities, so be prepared to be flexible, and expect the unexpected. Specific activities also vary depending on the season and availability of materials.

Meals: Meals are prepared fresh each day. We cater for most dietary requirements, and we ask you about this, and about any allergies, when we collect your information in preparation for each tour. 

Read trip notes here for more details

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 3 nights in basic lodge or tent accommodation with beds, fresh linen provided and all camping equipment supplied
  • 1 night motel accommodation in Nhulunbuy at end of trip
  • All transport in the East Arnhem region including airport transfers (if arriving on the 1st day and departing on the last day) and ground touring
  • Meals included: daily breakfast, 4 x lunches, 4 x dinners
  • Homeland access fees, Aboriginal Recreation Area permits where necessary
  • Cultural experiences/activities on Yolŋu homelands
  • Tour leader/driver & Yolŋu guide

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Airfares from your home port to Nhulunbuy
  • Transit accommodation where necessary, in either Darwin, Cairns or Nhulunbuy depending on which air route taken
  • Transfers to Nhulunbuy accommodation if you are arriving earlier than the first or last day of the tour
  • Travel insurance (which we recommend)
  • Tips & gratuities

COVID-19 SAFETY:

For 2022 tours, all adult customers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel. You must have completed all doses of your vaccine and allowed enough time to be fully inoculated. You will be required to show proof of your vaccination status to our tour leader on the first day of your tour.

Exemptions:

  • Children (6 to 17 years old) must show either proof of full vaccination OR a recent negative COVID-19 test OR proof of recovery from COVID-19. 
  • Children (5 & under) are exempt from both proof of vaccination and proof of COVID testing. 
  • Any person unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons can apply for an exemption. You will need to provide a clearance letter from a medical professional at time of booking. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and we will consult with you before accepting any exemptions. 

Remote NT communities: The NT Government has announced that upon reaching an 80% plus vaccination target, there will still be extra measures in place to protect the vulnerable including remote communities. If there are some communities who do not reach a high enough level of vaccination, there may be restricted movement in and out of these communities. This may impact our ability to operate our tours and we will notify our customers as soon as we hear anything to this effect.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210.

We look forward to hearing from you !

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