Aboriginal Cultural Experiences: Victoria

Discover the flourishing culture, significant sites, and irresistible culinary scene of Aboriginal Victoria.

Smoking ceremony at Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Garden. It’s easy to experience Aboriginal Australia in Victoria.
  • Jetstar
  • Updated March 2022

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences in Victoria. Whether you’re interested in ancient rock art or the latest contemporary artists, learning about timeless traditions or tasting amazing Indigenous cuisine, you’re in the right place. These are our top tips for Naarm (Melbourne) and beyond.

Melbourne

Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Royal Botanic Gardens

Take a walking tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens and discover why it’s such a significant cultural site for the local Kulin Nation. Your Indigenous guide will identify native plants and explain their traditional uses, giving you a fascinating glimpse into the area’s rich culture and history. A wonderful introduction to understanding First Nations people's deep connection to Country.

Aboriginal guide shows two tourists a native plant in Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens
Discover the longstanding heritage and significance of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Koorie Heritage Trust

Located in Federation Square, by the Birrarung Marr (Yarra River), this fabulous place runs a lively calendar of exhibitions and events celebrating First Nations arts and culture in Victoria. And it’s free entry! See the work of emerging Koorie artists, check out the artefacts of the permanent collection, join one of their educational walking tours, then grab a bite at nearby Big Esso, an Indigenous-owned eatery.

Aboriginal guide talks to tourist couple about boomerang sculpture, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne.
The Koorie Heritage Trust is a great place to get an overview of Victoria's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, past and present.

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Melbourne Museum)

For First Nations people across Victoria, Bunjil is the ancestral wedge-tailed eagle, the Creator. Bunjilaka (‘the place of Bunjil’) is where you’ll find Bunjil’s nest, a striking installation at the heart of ‘First Peoples’, an immersive permanent collection telling the story of Indigenous Victoria from creation to the current day. Throw in regular exhibitions and performances, and you’ve got an unmissable cultural experience.

Children interact with exhibit at Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Make time for Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka exhibition while you’re in town.

Regional Victoria

Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Geelong)

This award-winning attraction in Wadawurrung/ Wathaurong Country ticks all the boxes. It’s an art gallery, but also has a great collection of traditional tools and weapons. There’s a café, gift shop, and a lovely native garden with resident wildlife. Meaning ‘a deep listening and understanding,’ Narana also offers guided tours, covering key elements of local First Nations culture, from bush-tucker to boomerang-throwing and much more.

Tourist couple look at Aboriginal art with a staff member at Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Geelong
Narana is a must-see for anyone visiting Geelong.

Tower Hill Reserve (Warrnambool)

Marvel at the scenery while learning about First Nations culture on this two-hour tour with a local Worn Gundidj guide. An ancient, long-dormant volcano, Tower Hill is full of history, with evidence suggesting its traditional owners witnessed its last eruptions 30,000-plus years ago. It’s also home to a Who’s Who of native critters: koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, emus and wedge-tail eagles, to name a few.

Tourists and guide look at emu, Tower Hill Reserve.
Get to know the locals (human and animal) at Tower HIll Reserve.

Rock art in the Grampians (Halls Gap)

More than 80% of Victoria’s rock-art sites, spanning around 4,000 different motifs, are in the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park. Not all of them are easy to get to, but some are readily accessible, including one of the state’s most significant sites: Bunjil Shelter, near Stawell. Start at the Brambuk Information Centre, where you’ll find maps and other helpful resources.

Aboriginal rock art at Bunjil shelter, Gariwerd National Park, Victoria
The awe-inspiring Bunjil shelter is just one of Gariwerd’s many rock-art sites.