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Four of the best First Nations experiences on the Sunshine Coast

Four of the best First Nations experiences on the Sunshine Coast

On the Sunshine Coast, we pay our respects to the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Peoples, the region’s traditional custodians whose connection to country and waterways run deep.

Four of the best First Nations experiences on the Sunshine Coast
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Salwater Eco Cruises

Australia is home to the world’s oldest and continuing culture.

On the Sunshine Coast, we pay our respects to the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Peoples, the region’s traditional custodians whose connection to country and waterways run deep.

If you’re looking to further your knowledge or learn more about our backyard’s enduring culture, there are a plethora of First Nations experiences for you to check out.

Take to the seas with Saltwater Eco Tours

Salwater Eco Cruises
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Salwater Eco Cruises

Climb aboard a 114-year-old 58ft gaff-rigged ketch and cruise along the crystal clear canals of Mooloolaba with Saltwater Eco Tours. Behind the wheel you’ll find owner Simon Thornalley, Of Torres Strait Island descent, who has partnered with Traditional Owner Aunty Bridgette Chili whose masterful storytelling will transport you back in time. Learn the Aboriginal origins of Mt Coolum and the Maroochy River to the soundtrack of the didgeridoo, whilst tucking into a sumptuous three-course feast of native-infused bush tucker-inspired dishes - plus fresh oysters and Mooloolaba prawns. And you’ll wash it all down with a cold local beer, glass of bubbles or a special lemon myrtle cocktail. Departing from The Wharf at Mooloolaba, the two-hour tour runs every Saturday from 11:30am. If you’re looking for one of the best First Nations experiences on the Sunshine Coast - this is it. 

Explore beyond with Biral Tours

Over in Buderim, Biral Tours will show you the Sunshine Coast through an indigenous lens. Owned and operated by Kabi Kabi man Tais K’Reala Randanpi, you can opt for a two or four-hour bush walkabout tour where you’ll get the privilege of exploring sacred tribal lands and waterways within the Sunshine Coast region. Soak up the stunning rugged natural beauty, while Tais shares dreamtime stories and insights into his family’s deep connection to the area, pointing out bush tucker and natural medicines found along the way. Depending on which tour you opt for, you’ll also get the chance to take part in a boomerang dot painting class or a special family water ceremony which will absolutely give you goosebumps. For a truly immersive First Nations experience - you can’t go past this bucket list-worthy tour. 

Learn ancient techniques with TribalLink

TribalLink, Mapleton
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TribalLink, Mapleton

Nestled in the hinterland’s postcard perfect town of Mapleton you’ll find TribalLink. Set on 54 lush acres, you’ll score sweeping views of the Sunshine Coast while deepening your knowledge of the region’s traditional owners. With a mission to bridge the gap and provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational activities, TribalLink offers a plethora of tours and immersive experiences. There’s the Wanya Tour where you’ll learn how to identify edible food and plants in the bush, whilst listening to yarns from the awesome guides along the way. You’ll finish up the two-and-a-half-hour experience with a heart-warming cup of lemon myrtle tea. Or book a spot on their Bush-Yarns and Boomerangs tour - over two hours you’ll learn how to throw, design and paint a boomerang. But our favourite experience has to be Songs and Stories Evening. Starting out with a meander through the art gallery and artefacts museum, you’ll then take a seat by the roaring fire to feast on tasting plates of local and traditional eats. While listening to dreamtime stories you’ll toast marshmallows by the fire, before watching the TribalLink dance troupe, Sunrise Dancers, treat you to a goosebump-inducing performance. Bookings are available for groups of 10 or more.

Sip native spirits at Beachtree Distilling Co.

Sip native spirits at Beachtree Distilling Co.
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Sip native spirits at Beachtree Distilling Co.

Located just minutes from Caloundra’s pristine coastline, sip your way through Australia’s only First Nations-owned-and-operated distillery. Co-founded by head distiller and Kamilaroi man Steve Grace, Beachtree Distilling Co’s ethos is deeply embedded in First Nations history and culture, using native ingredients and ancient traditions to craft and distil tasty drops. The small batch hand-crafted artisan spirits are made using native botanicals (like lemon myrtle and lime) and organically grown sugarcane. Head to their Caloundra HQ for a tour of the distillery where you’ll go behind the scenes, check out their one-of-a-kind distilling process and taste their award-winning gin and vodka. Pro tip: the Koala Gin (made with juniper berries, lemon myrtle, marshmallow leaf, lime and vanilla) is a game-changer. Afterwards you can stick around and unwind at the distillery with $10 cocktails and nibbles.