Bookings open for Tasmania’s four-day wukalina walk through Mt William National Park

DAVID BENIUK, Mercury
September 15, 2017 12:00am

Image by SAM ROSEWARNE

TASMANIA’S newest iconic walk will open for bookings today after an eight-year trek of its own.

The Aboriginal Land Council’s wukalina Walk, a four-day experience in Mt William National Park, will set off for the first time on January 7.

The brainchild of elder Clyde Mansell, the walk is set to be the state’s highest-profile Aboriginal tourism offering.

MORE: TREK A STEP CLOSER

“Our guests will have the opportunity to eat traditional Aboriginal foods like mutton bird, and sample ingredients native to the region,” Mr Mansell said.

“They will also interact closely with elders and craftspersons, while gaining a greater affinity and respect for this unique and ancient culture.”

The high-end walk hopes to join renowned treks such as the Overland Track, Maria Island Walk and Three Capes Track, taking up to 10 visitors at a time through the national park and Bay of Fires.

The experience is being described as the “museum of the palawa community”, with guests promised stories never before shared in the traditional homeland of Tasmania’s Aborigines.

Visitors will spend two nights in architecturally designed “timber tents” and one in a refurbished lighthouse keeper’s cottage at larapuna/Bay of Fires.

“They will also have a privileged insight into the intricacy and skill involved in cultural heritage activities such as basket weaving and kelp basket making,” Mr Mansell said.

The tour, which will begin in Launceston, will cost walkers $2495.

Operator palawa Enterprises Trust will receive a Community Infrastructure Fund grant after $278,000 was allocated in the State Budget.

Tourism leaders have lauded the proposal’s potential to tap into a nationwide trend towards Aboriginal cultural experiences.

Mr Mansell first dreamt up the concept eight years ago and has pushed for government funding ever since.

A business case prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the venture could take 420 walkers each year, employ nine people and generate $1 million a season.

Award-winning architectural firm Taylor and Hinds offered to design the base camp, known as krakani lumi, after hearing about Mr Mansell’s idea on the TV news.

Their “glamping” design has been built using Tasmanian timbers on a site first identified by trainee Aboriginal rangers.

Site-specific guides have been trained and a chef engaged to produce a menu combining premium Tasmanian produce with bush tucker.

Link to original Mercury article

Rob King