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‘Deeper than tourism’: wukalina Walk strikes gold at Qantas Australian Tourism Awards

Callan Morse -

Tasmanian tour guide company wukalina Walk has taken out gold at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

Selected ahead of five finalists, the Aboriginal-owned and operated tourism venture received gold in the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism category.

Established in 2018, wukalina Walk offers four-day Aboriginal guided experiences on the traditional homelands of wukalina (Mt William National Park) and Larapuna (Bay of Fires) in north-east Tasmania.

In addition to guiding visitors around Tasmania's northwest, wukalina Walk provides the opportunity for community members, especially young Aboriginal people to connect with culture on Country, increase knowledge and share aspects of culture with the broader community.

In receiving the award, proud Trawlwoolway and Plangermaireener man Jamie Graham-Blair said wukalina Walk's work is 'deeper than tourism'.

"Our work spans back through at least eight generations of genocide survival and thousand of generations into our deep, black Tasmanian Aboriginal history," Mr Graham-Blair said.

"At wukalina Walk, we stand on the shoulders of giants, the cultural knowledge and Aboriginal history of the north-east Tasmania or Lutruwita as we call it, which we share with hundreds of guests over the year, only survived due to the fierce strength and resistance of our Elders, particularly our grandmother

"We thank our old fullas for not just surviving but for thriving and for passing us our culture when we've earned it."

Mr Graham-Blair said wukalina Walk was committed to providing opportunities for people to learn about the Palawa culture, whilst acknowledging the contribution of the broader First Nations tourism sector across Australia.

"We continue to commit to holding our culture and using wukalina Walk as a vehicle for Palawa empowerment, cultural strength and reconnection," he said.

"On this platform tonight, with this beautiful award in our arms, we proudly thank our Elders and our islands for holding us.

"Loudly we proclaim to the representatives from around this entire continent, with our shells, with our language, with our living breathing culture, that we are powerful people, we are capable of so much greatness."

Queensland-based Spirit of the Red Sand took out silver in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Tourism Experience category, with the Northern Territory's Angkerle Atwatye – Standley Chasm awarded bronze. Victoria's Healesville Sanctuary, South Australia's Kool Tours and New South Wales' Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr rounded out the finalists.

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