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Last year as part of my Master's thesis (Strategic Communications) I undertook research to better understand how protected areas could support Indigenous tourism into the future.  As the former Tourism and Visitor Services Manager of Jointly Managed Kakadu National Park, it was imperative for me to understand how policies within the Kakadu Management Plan 2016 – 2026 specific to Indigenous tourism are best implemented.

In 2016, Kakadu National Park launched its Sixth Management Plan 2016 – 2026.  The Plan is the overarching strategic document outlining how all components of the park will be managed during this period.  As Aboriginal land, the park is jointly managed between Bininj/Mungguy traditional owners and the Commonwealth Government.  The Management Plan has policies highlighting the importance of Indigenous tourism through providing benefits, employment and business opportunities for Bininj/Mungguy.  To successfully implement these policies, my research asks “What is best pr...

This week marks the annual Ord Valley Muster Festival hosted in the township of Kununurra in the Kimberley region.  From a simple outback dining experience under the stars in 2001, the Muster keeps on growing, each year with more fabulous activities and entertainment from street parties, comedy nights, digging for diamonds in enormous sandpits, cultural performances, yoga on a boat and of course the iconic Ord Valley Muster Rodeo. 

Since first visiting my brother when he lived in Kununurra back in 2013 and hearing him rave about it I’ve wanted to go to the Muster.  Now that I live in Keep River National Park (watch out for that blog!) located across the WA/NT border 50 km away, I finally get the chance.   My main desire for attendance being the opportunity to crack my rodeo virginity.  I’m not sure what it is about rodeos that had me so intrigued; is it the way the word makes you drawl like you are from the deep South…"Ro-day-yo” (constantly corrected by my husband who rolls his ey...

In the heart of the rural town of Kununurra boasting a population of close to 6,000 (and over 100,000 visitors annually) is a place where you can step back in time, feel the silence and hear the ancient ancestors – Mirima National Park.  Locals refer to Mirima as the mini “Bungles”, owing to the 350 million year old sandstone domes which are reminiscent of their big brother to the south, Purnululu.

As you step into Mirima, it’s hard to believe you are still in vibrant Kununurra.  Dwarfed by the towering red sandstone escarpment, Mirima feels like an oasis rich in flora and fauna – it is clear to see why this place was a favoured home to the local Miriwoong people.  This is only accentuated further as I wander wide-eyed on the aptly named Looking at Plants loop trail, with a dozen or so signs along the way indicating various plant uses from boab’s (adansonia gregorii) used as nut flour, the bark and leaves of emu apple (owenia vernicosa) used as fish poison (helps stun the fish...

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Mirima - the heart of Kununurra

May 17, 2017

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