Native Australian plants and animals have sustained (and cured) Aboriginal communities across the state for millennia. The NSW countryside still provides a veritable buffet of bush tucker and medicine, if you know where to look.
The Harvest Food Trail through the Bangalow Parklands in Byron Bay is home to a bounty of native plants, many edible and others traditionally used as medicine. Follow your Aboriginal guide with Explore Byron Bay to discover what bush tucker you can consume, what will heal you and what can be used to make jewellery and tools. In Wagga Wagga, taste, touch and connect with the land on a bush tucker tour with Bundyi Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge – your guide, Mark Saddler, makes a mean damper infused with wattleseed. Or take a Bush Food Walk in Ulladulla with Nura Gunya, and identify plants used for food and survival while learning about the Aboriginal connection to the land. If you’re on the Central Coast, you can also enlist in a bush tucker and medicine workshop at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park – you’ll meet plenty of friendly wildlife along the way.
You don’t need an excuse to visit NSW’s sparkling Coffs Coast. But if you’re looking for one, make it a stand-up paddleboard tour with Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours. Gliding about on the water is dreamy in its own right, but your Gumbaynggirr guide takes the experience up a notch, helping you collect and taste seasonal bush foods along your route. Further south, the Stockton Beach Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands near Port Stephens are the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. You can ride them on a quad bike with an Aboriginal guide as part of a 1.5-hour cultural tour through Sand Dune Adventures. En route you get the chance to dig for fresh water as well as learn about bush food and resources.
Warrigal greens and kangaroo are among the native ingredients you’ll find on the menu at Pipeclay Café, part of the dynamic The Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre on the Coffs Coast. After lunch, browse the Indigenous art gallery or perhaps take part in an art or dance class. If you’re hungry in Mudgee, you won’t want to miss a meal at Warakirri by Indigiearth, a cafe that highlights bush foods and Aboriginal culture. While the menu is seasonal, local faves include magenta lilly pilly and chocolate ganache tart; lemon myrtle green ant cheesecake; smashed avocado with saltbush dukkha, fetta, and finger lime balsamic; and kangaroo and bush tomato nachos. Kids can paint a boomerang for a gold coin donation.
On the mid-North Coast at Scotts Head, remarkable ancient fish traps are revealed on the Gaagal Yuludarla (Ocean Dreaming) experience with Unkya Cultural Eco Tours. You’ll hear the creation story of how the ocean and the first wave was made, and then enjoy a bush tucker lunch hero-ing native ingredients.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.