Would I return 5/5
Have you ever heard the expression ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’? Well, that’s sometimes what it’s like being a local in the Northern Rivers. As a tourist hot-spot, we often overlook the experiences at our doorstep. They’re not just for the visitors, they’re for us too, and are usually run by the locals we know and love.
I recently had the distinct pleasure of exploring Byron with none other than Delta Kay. A Bundjalung woman from Byron Bay, Delta runs Explore Byron, which is a tour company that educates and shares the amazing history and knowledge of Aboriginal culture of the Arakwal people and the Bundjalung Nation. There are three tour options for Byron Shire and Delta also offers private tours.
The tour: Cape Byron
I arrived early and thankfully secured a park at The Pass (we all know how that can be) and eagerly waited for Delta and the rest of the participants to arrive. Once everyone was accounted for, we made our way down to the sand where Delta welcomed us to Country. We were given a brief history of the Bundjalung Nation, its historic boundaries, and its languages. At the next stop, Delta shared the ancient stories of the landscape, and we were introduced to the sacred animal totems of her people–Wardjum, Kabul, and Miwing–all but one of whom appeared when she spoke of them.
We then visited the Midden, a very scared site, and learned about its’ ancient and more recent history. After a short stroll, Delta showed us her favourite plants and explained how they have multiple uses as food, medicine, utility, craft, and for ceremonial purposes. After that we were in for a real treat. Beautifully laid out on a table was a selection of handpicked bushfood treats, and what followed was an immersive sensory experience. The seasonally available treats ranged between salty, sweet, and sour – this one was fantastic – and all were delicious with unique flavour profiles. Our noses were not left wanting as Delta passed around the bush herbs and leaves that have been used as medicine, food, and fragrances in soaps, shampoos, and perfumes, long before settlers arrived. The tour ended with a cup of bush tea and a delicious biscuit.
The price of the tour is perfectly reasonable considering the care and depth that goes into the experience; essentially you’re gaining expert knowledge. It’s also a great opportunity to get outside, learn something new, and even get some fabulous photos. Delta is a warm and charismatic guide, and her profound knowledge underscored the deep connection between the Arakwal people and the natural world. She is a welcoming, kind, and patient person, taking time and care to answer questions.
Exploring the history and the relationship that the Arakwal peoples have with Country, and the ancient technologies they used, gave me a further appreciation of this wonderful land and the oldest surviving culture in the world.