The recently relaunched Tjapukai Indigenous tourism experience in Cairns has added a new guided bush foods trail to its wide range of interactive attractions.
The bush food trail tours are led by guides from the region’s traditional Djabugay people, who share the stories of their rainforest environment.
Visitors will view plants such as the badil or cycad, which has nuts that grow to the size of a golf ball in a bunch of 12 to 15. When they ripen they are orange and look good to eat, but are poisonous unless they are processed the right way. The roasted nuts are grated, then rinsed in running water till the poison runs out, and then they are ground down to fine powder so they can make dough for bread. They do the same with the black bean and yellow walnut.
As one of Tjapukai’s most experienced guides, Martha Brimm, tells visitors “this was an early Aboriginal version of self-raising flour”.
Another popular bush-food is the Burdekin plum which can be eaten straight away once it has ripened or buried underground for a few days to ripen it for eating.”
Visitors also learn about the usefulness of native plants for medicines and making implements, ropes and weapons.
The bush food trail journey ends with damper and native fruit jams, and a range of specially sourced bush tucker products are available for purchase in the Tjapukai boutique. Bush foods also feature in many of the menu items available at the new Flame Tree Restaurant.
The one-hour bush food guided walks can be added to general admission tickets for as little as $15 for children and $25 for adults.