Local Arakwal woman, Delta Kay, is excited to be sharing her culture and her country as she leads Aboriginal tours exploring Cape Byron and Broken Head.
Delta Kay, well known and respected in the Byron Shire, is passionate about sharing Aboriginal culture – her ancestors have lived in the area surrounding Byron Bay for thousands of years and Arakwal customs, knowledge, ceremonies and stories have been passed down to her for safe keeping.
Delta says that when she is doing tours, she is practising her culture. ‘Every day I observe country and feel in awe of her. I want people to leave my tours with a deeper understanding of how my family have always cared for the land and are still caring for it. I believe this understanding leads to a stronger feeling of belonging for our locals and a deeper respect from visitors who want to connect with Indigenous people and learn about this incredible place we call Byron.’
Delta says the Aboriginal tours, that are for locals and visitors alike, are a must-do so that cultural protocols are understood and are followed. ‘Byron Shire has many sacred sites that we want protected for future generations – we need people who are not Indigenous to this country to support us and avoid certain areas to protect them. Or, if you’re visiting a sensitive area then to behave appropriately, refrain from splashing it up on Instagram – just enjoy the moment!’
During the tours, guests can expect to hear about Aboriginal existence before colonisation, including how Arakwal Bundjalung people cared for and preserved the land. Delta also explains the devastating impact of settlement and displacement on Aboriginal people. She teaches some Bundjalung language and provides information about bushfood, natural medicine, tools, weapons and artefacts.
The Cape Byron tour is a moderate 1.5km, two hour return walk while learning about significant places and hearing local history and traditional stories. During the tour, guests often see an abundance of wildlife, such as dolphins, wallabies and Fairy Wrens to name a few. From coastal rainforest to crashing waves and rocky cliffs, the views on this tour are truly special. Bring binoculars, especially in winter and spring as there are great opportunities to spot migrating whales.
The Broken Head tour is a moderate 1.6 km two hour tour where guests often see pods of dolphins and white-bellied sea eagles.
There is a maximum group size of ten people and organisers offer a free pick-up and drop-off service for guests within 6km of the Byron Bay CBD.
Delta says it’s about respect for country. ‘We walk softly on country. Locals and visitors alike can empower Indigenous communities to speak for country, work on country and live culture – [it’s important for visitors to] follow cultural protocols and ensure that they use genuine Indigenous tours, not non-Indigenous people telling our stories and culture.
‘Our art has been appropriated internationally, our flag has been stolen, our stories, at the very least, must remain with us – not with non-Indigenous tourism operators.
‘I respectfully ask tour operators to ensure they have an Indigenous person from their traditional country doing cultural interpretations. Indigenous tourism must be led by Aboriginal people.’