wukalina walk (part three of three)
The third day of the full wukalina walk is spent hiking down the long beaches that form the coastline of north east Tasmania from krakani lumi to larapuna, or Eddystone Point. Our shortened itinerary and the crew’s ambitious shot list required a short cut at this point, so we were driven to Eddystone Point instead.
larapuna / Eddystone Point
larapuna / Eddystone Point was handed back to Tasmania’s indigenous people in around 2006. While all visitors are welcomed to the site, access to the lighthouse and historic buildings is only available to community members and their guests, which in this instance meant us.
The main lighthouse keeper’s cottage has been sensitively renovated to provide accommodation for those on the final leg of the wukalina walk. The modern comforts in a traditional western setting are a contrast to the standing camp at krakani lumi, and welcome to us and I’m sure to those who complete a solid hike to get here.
Sunrise at larapuna
Another benefit of undertaking the walk in midwinter is that sunrise and sunset times are actually quite sociable. I set my alarm for 6.45am and was able to catch the first rays as they shone on the lighthouse and the rocks of the foreshore, and be back at the cottage in plenty of time for breakfast.
The interior of the lighthouse is, like the cottages, only available by arrangement with the traditional owners, but a tour is included with the wukalina walk.
After the lighthouse tour, we packed up and started the drive back to Launceston. The wukalina walk is a wonderful experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves coastlines, wide open landscapes, history and wishes to engage with and understand a little more of the historic and continuting culture and heritage of Tasmania’s indigenous people.
I have deliberately not shared any of the details of their cultural heritage and ongoing stories that were shared so generously by our guides during the walk. These are their stories and they are the ones we should all hear them from, and the wukalina walk is an incredible opportunity to do that.
Of course, it was a great privilege to do the walk, and it is an experience that is aimed at quite privileged people, so I asked our guides for suggestions on other opportunities we all have to engage with their stories.
These are some of their suggestions.
- Visit the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston – both institutions have done some outstanding work in this area in recent years.
- Visit the Tiagarra Centre in Devonport
- The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has a Working on Country Rangers program and Discovery Ranger programs – check if any are available next time you visit a national park.
- Many local councils also offer activities which offer both residents and visitors the opportunity to hear from indigenous Tasmanians about their connections to place and to see local areas through new eyes.
In conclusion, I offer my thanks to the wukalina walk and to Tasmania’s aboriginal community and elders for this wonderful experience.