Traditional owners launch Cairns eco tours

Dreaming stories will be shared on a new Indigenous-owned tour on traditional country just a 10-minute boat ride from the Cairns CBD.

New player, Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours is completely owned and operated by traditional owners and will feature dreaming stories of the Great Barrier Reef’s creation and the World Heritage mountains.

The Hands on Country tour starts at the Cairns Marina in the heart of the city taking visitors by boat across Trinity Inlet where the saltwater meets the freshwater flowing from the mountains on Mandingalbay Yidinji Country.

Indigenous rangers guide the half-day tour on their traditional land and all are the direct descendants of lead warrior Jabulum Mandingalpai, who was born around 1858 and survived the occupation and settlement of Australia.

The rangers have spent the past decade cataloguing the flora, fauna and culturally significant places on their land and working with scientists to restore wetlands degraded by farming.

Mandingalbay Yidinji Deadly Dinner (supplied)

The information they have gathered is shared on a guided interpretive walk showcasing their 50,000-year-old supermarket, hardware store and pharmacy which continue to provide food and resources for the Mandingalbay Yidinji people.

Overnight camping and a monthly ‘deadly dinner’ on country are also part of the Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours.

Owned and operated by the Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation in collaboration with its subsidiary Djunbunji Ltd, the tourism enterprise is supported by the Djunbunji Land and Sea Rangers to deliver authentic and diverse cultural tourism experiences.

Djunbunji executive director, Dale Mundraby, said the 100 per cent Indigenous-owned experience had been growing steadily since 2015 and was ready to cater to regular visitors in 2022 with the arrival of a purpose-built 42-seat boat and construction of infrastructure for visitors.

“Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours is a small business opportunity currently supporting the equivalent of nine full-time jobs that will generate employment for future generations to preserve the Mandingalbay Yidinji culture and identity,” he said.

Featured image: Vincent, Dale and Dewayne Mundraby (supplied)