Top First Nations-Owned Northern Territory Tours to Book Now

First Nations cultural experiences offer a unique way to learn about the world’s oldest living culture. These Northern Territory tours, run by Aboriginal people, provide insights into their traditions, stories, and way of life. Each group, or ‘mob’, has its own distinct identity and connection to the land, and these tours help highlight their significance.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best First Nations-run tours in Central Australia. You’ll get a chance to meet local guides, hear their stories, and see the land through their eyes. These tours are a great way to understand the deep connection between the Aboriginal people and their country. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or exploring the Northern Territory’s top National Parks, there’s a tour for you.

The Best First Nations-Owned Northern Territory Tours

sunset over the mountains in West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory
Image of West MacDonnell National Park by @aliesha.dod

Arrente: West MacDonnell National Park

Luritja and Pertame (Southern Arrernte) are Indigenous Australian cultures with rich traditions. Luritja people live mainly in the Northern Territory, known for their strong connection to the land, traditional arts, and storytelling. Their language, also called Luritja, is part of the Western Desert language group.

Pertame people, or Southern Arrernte, inhabit areas around Alice Springs. Their language is a dialect of the Arrernte language, and they’re known for their unique crafts, music, and ceremonies. Both cultures emphasize community, respect for elders, and the preservation of their languages and customs.

Arrente: West MacDonnell National Park

For a cultural experience with this First Nations group, click here or read below to find out about this tour. 

Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Tours

The Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tour, led by Christine Breaden and Peter Abbott, offers a unique glimpse into the Luritja and Pertame (Southern Arrernte) culture. Located in the Wanmarra community, 450 km southwest of Alice Springs and near Watarrka National Park, this one-hour tour includes a guided walk and talk. Visitors learn about traditional bush tucker, medicine, and the crafting of spears, boomerangs, music sticks, and native seed jewellery. The tour is suitable for all ages.

Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Tours, one of the best first nations-owned northern territory tours
Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Tours

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Uluru at sunset in Northern Territory
Uluru at sunset by @taos.photographie

Anangu: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

The Anangu people of the Uluru region are the traditional custodians of this land. They speak Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages. Their culture is deeply connected to the land, which they call “Tjukurpa” — the spiritual law that guides their way of life. 

This First Nations mob have a rich tradition of storytelling, dance, and art that explains their history and beliefs. The Anangu share their knowledge and cultural practices with visitors through guided tours and cultural centres, providing insight into their deep spiritual connection to Uluru and the surrounding landscape.

Anangu: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

For a cultural experience with this First Nations group, click here or read below to find out about this tour. 

Cave Art Tour – Cultural Walk @ Uluru

Explore the cultural richness of the Northern Territory with a one-hour guided tour led by local Aboriginal Anangu. Starting at the Kuniya Walk car park at Uluru, your guide and translator will share Tjukurpa stories, the Aboriginal creation tales, depicted in the rock art of the family cave. You’ll learn about the Kuniya Tjukurpa and gain insights into traditional bush tucker foods. This tour is a great opportunity for all ages to connect with the history and traditions of the Anangu people.

A visitor learning culture with a local Aboriginal artist from Maruku Arts.The Maruku Arts gallery is located at the cultural centre in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. We offer an overall understanding of local Aboriginal culture through quality art & craft. It is the perfect opportunity to meet, understand the culture and purchase works from local artists, knowing that all funds are returned to the Anangu people.
Cave Art Tour - Cultural Walk @ Uluru
Dotpainting workshop Cultural Centre, one of the best first nations-owned northern territory tours
Dotpainting workshop Cultural Centre

Dot Painting Workshops

In the Northern Territory, you can explore the ancient art of dot painting with First Nations guides. 

Dot Painting Workshop – Cultural Centre

Maruku Arts, a collective of about 900 Anangu artists from the Central and Western deserts, offers an engaging Dot Painting workshop in the Northern Territory. This 1.5-hour session introduces you to traditional desert art, focusing on symbols and painting styles that depict Creation time (Tjukurpa) stories. Led by local Anangu artists, the workshop allows you to create your own artwork, providing a hands-on understanding of Anangu culture and history. This activity is suitable for all ages and is a unique way to connect with and support the world’s oldest living culture.

Dot Painting Workshops

Dot Painting Workshop – Yulara

Learn about the Anangu culture with Maruku’s Dot Painting tour in the Northern Territory. Just a hop away from Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, immerse yourself in the exciting world of desert art. In just 1.5 hours, you’ll get an overview of ancient symbols and painting techniques and learn about Creation time stories passed down through generations. You can even get hands-on and create your own masterpiece, guided by local Anangu artists. Maruku isn’t just a tour, it’s a commitment to preserving and celebrating Anangu culture with an authentic experience.

First Nations Dotpainting workshop Cultural Centre in Northern Territory
Dotpainting workshop Cultural Centre

These are some of the best First Nations-owned Northern Territory tours. These tours are top-rated because offer authentic experiences led by knowledgeable guides. Gain insights into traditions, stories, and sustainable practices. It’s an immersive way to explore the NT!

Have you taken one of these First Nations-owned Northern Territory tours? Comment below with some of your experiences!

If you love exploring National Parks, Norther has got you covered, get your daily fix of the Northern Territory’s beauty courtesy of Norther® by following @northerhq. You can also check out more Northern Territory content by following Norther on Facebook. Please sign up here to join our newsletter list to be the first to get hints and local recommendations for anything awesome in the Northern Territory.

*Cover image by @thelifestylepioneers

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NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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