Australia is home to more than 260 different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, from our cities to remote locations and each with their own distinct language and culture. We refer to each group as a nation or country.
Just like visiting any country, there are things you should know that will make your visit more rewarding.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are not the same. Different groups observe different practices and rules. It's best to listen to your guide and observe any instructions they may provide you. They want you to have a great time and get the most out of your experience.
- In some locations there are strict rules around areas that you can and cannot enter. Some areas are of high cultural significance and are not places for visitors. Please observe any signage and instructions from your guide. We strongly recommend you check beforehand. These restrictions can also apply to fishing and swimming in waterholes. Some areas may also be restricted to either male or female visitors.
- If you are invited onto traditional lands, please ensure you dress appropriately. The exposure of certain parts of the body may be considered offensive.
- It's best to wear:
- Loose-fitting and long style (below the knee) clothing including shorts, skirts, pants, trousers and dresses;
- Loose shirts or t-shirts with sleeves;
- If you are invited to swim, you may swim with your clothes on, or t-shirt and shorts covering your swimming costume;
- You may be invited to sit on the ground, so wear clothing that will not cause embarrassment or discomfort;
- Cotton garments rather than synthetic fibers are recommended in warm and humid conditions as they allow the skin to breathe.
- Taking photographs in some communities is not allowed. Be courteous and always ask people if its appropriate to take their photograph. Taking photographs of children will require the permission of their parents or guardians. Avoid walking around the community taking random photographs. Be aware of any sacred sites around the community that will be off limits to you. Taking photographs of these sites without permission is strictly forbidden. If you are considering using your photograph/s for publicity purposes you must also obtain written permission from the subjects.
- Travel into some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities require a permit. Generally, Experiences booked through Welcome to Country include permission to enter Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands for the purpose of participating in that Experience. You will need to obtain a separate permit if you wish to undertake activities not covered in your booked Experience.
- Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have chosen to ban alcohol in their community. If you intend to take alcohol with you, please check with your experience operator beforehand.
- Respect should be an inherent part of your interaction with everybody within the community. Being disrespectful is seen as ignorant and selfish. Always observe others and follow their lead, particularly in regard to shaking hands and eye contact. These protocols differ among cultural groups.
- Conversational style, idiom and etiquette differ between language groups. Direct questioning is not very common (or polite) in Aboriginal conversation and questions are usually simple. Please follow any instructions or insights provided by your guide.
- Please do not remove rocks or other objects from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land or waters without the permission of traditional owners. Disturbing cultural sites is also prohibited by Australian law.