1. It’s in the lesser-known East Arnhem Land
Most people who visit Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory visit the west side of the region, which borders some 5o,000 sq. km of outback landscape. In contrast, East Arnhem Land is more challenging to get to and therefore feels a little more exclusive. It’s also beautiful and diverse and one of Australia’s last strongholds of traditional Aboriginal culture.
2. You will have access to two different Homelands
Some 32 per cent of the population in the Northern Territory are indigenous and more than 60 per cent live in remote Homelands. The experience of travelling to this region allows visitors to interact with the indigenous people who are living their life nomadically. The homelands are only accessible by permit only and there are only a handful of operators who have access to the permits, Crooked Compass being one of them.
3. Experience hunter-gather techniques
It’s one thing to spear a crab for your dinner. It’s another thing entirely to learn about Yolngu kinship, traditional lore and language on a traditional hunter-gather expedition in the Homelands. To take part in this integral part of the Homeland lifestyle is humbling, given the essence of it has remained unchanged for more than 40,000 years.
4. Connect the songlines to nomadic travel
The Homelands are the lands that were given back to the indigenous people on National Sorry Day. The respect Indigenous Australians have for their Homelands is clear and each Homeland has its own Creation story, personality and landscape. The experience of travelling to this region allows visitors to interact with the indigenous people who are living their life nomadically while sailing between virgin islands and visiting remote pearl farms.
5. Learn respect for the land and sea
You will get a taste of the Homeland lifestyle – unchanged for over 40,000 years – during a Crooked Compass tour onboard the M/Y Iron Lady, which is limited to just eight people. To be immersed in the most culturally intact Aboriginal nation in Australia is such a rare privilege. The experience in East Arnhem Lands is so exclusive because only a select few operators are issued permits.
6. Cook your catch over an open grill
Cast a line out fishing over the back of the motor yacht and your catch of the day can be prepared at one of the local restaurants for your evening meal. There is also a chef onboard the yacht, who will prepare your meals during the eight-day expedition. Barramundi is a big drawcard for this region, as it’s one of the best places in Australia to snag the river fish. You can also try your hand at mud crabbing and squid jigging at night near the tangled roots of the mangroves.
7. Hear Dreamtime stories
Sit with local indigenous tribe members as they join the dots between the stars and paint a picture of the night sky with compelling Creation stories about the Australian flora and fauna. It’s an experience that will move you beyond words as you learn to #FollowADifferentPath with Crooked Compass.
The Following Songlines expeditions with Crooked Compass will be held from July 29 to August 5, 2019; and August 7 to 14. There is limited availability. To secure a spot, visit Crooked-compass.com