Travel

The NAIDOC Week Events in Each State That You Need To Know About

Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

naidoc week events
Photo: Cassandra Hannagan

NAIDOC week exists to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s theme, ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’, is designed to celebrate the many who have driven and led change in our communities over generations—they have been the heroes and champions of change, equal rights and even basic human rights.

This NAIDOC week, there are hundreds of experiences across Australia to immerse yourself in. For the ultimate inspiration, we have collated this list of cultural experiences to enjoy this NAIDOC week, all across Australia.

New South Wales

National Indigenous Art Fair
Saturday, July 2 to Sunday, July 3
Circular Quay
This year, the art fair will be a celebration of contemporary Indigenous Australian art, design, culture and bushfoods and has a two-day festival program running alongside the event. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres from 22 remote communities across Australia will bring their artworks to Sydney to exhibit alongside more than 25 Blak Markets stallholders.

Michael Reid Art Bar First Nations Exhibit
July 3-10
Pyrmont
The newly opened Michael Reid Art Bar is showcasing, DESTINY, by the late Mr Wanambi, a revered Yolŋu artist and leader. The exhibit showcases the diversity of the artist’s material processes and shines a light on his expression of Yolŋu culture through the distinctive motif of schooling sea mullets. 

Sydney Seafood School Indigenous Cooking Demonstration
Monday, July 4, 6-8 pm
Pyrmont
Sydney Seafood School is hosting its inaugural First Nations Seafood class, featuring the talented Luke Bourke, sous chef at Rockpool Bar & Grill, in partnership with the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI). In this special demonstration and tasting, Luke will be cooking with local seafood, and native ingredients including warrigal greens, lemon myrtle and Davidson plum.  As part of the demonstration, guests will be treated to a range of delicious drinks provided by Indigenous-owned brand, Sobah Non-Alcoholic Beverages, as well as wines by Unico Zelo. 

NAIDOC Up Late
Saturday, July 2, 7 pm-11 pm
Barangaroo Reserve
ARIA nominated singer-songwriter and eclectic musical icon Moju will headline the night with an exciting set of restorative jams. With three releases under their belt – Native Tongue (2018), Ghost Town (2019), and O.K. (2021) – this cult indie artist is as prolific in the recording studio as on the touring circuit. Mo’Ju will be joined by Ziggy Ramo and late R&B electro-pop artist Cloe Terare will bring soulful music to end the evening.

Welcome to Country Smoking Ceremony
Sunday, July 3 from 10 am
The Rocks
The Welcome to the Country will be given by a traditional owner of the land to acknowledge and show respect to First Nations custodians past and present.

Aunty Barbara McGrady Photo Exhibition
July 2 – August 9
The Rocks
Go see this photo exhibition by one of the First Nations’ leading photographers showcasing a collection of empowering images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.

Classic Indigenous Films at Laneways Cinema
Ends Thursday, 23 June
The Rocks
Watch a selection of classic films by Indigenous film directors including The Sapphires, and The Final Quarter.

The Bligh & Barney Reserve
July 3 from 10:30 am – 12 pm
The Rocks
Visitors can create their own traditional wooden boomerang or learn the ancient art of weaving. For those not able to make it down, Online Virtual Tours will also be available with experts who can teach the local history and heritage of the Gadigal people.

A Taste of Culture and Heritage
The Rocks
NAIDOC Week is also a great time to try out the Indigenous-themed menu items that retailers at The Rocks offer on the regular. Pony Dining will be demonstrating their mastery over fire, using it to add a touch of flavour to every single dish on their menu, as well as serving up kangaroo skewers with artichoke chips and pepper sauce. The Australian Heritage Hotel offers a modern twist on traditional Indigenous meats like kangaroo and crocodile with ‘Aussie pizzas.’ Leading whiskey bar The Doss House is putting together a Native Platter of kangaroo prosciutto, wild boar salami, blue cheddar, bush chutney and native fruits and nuts.

Victoria

NAIDOC in the City
Sunday, July 10
Federation Square
Celebrate NAIDCO week at Fed Square. The event features live performances from leading Aboriginal musicians and entertainers, and activities for the whole family – including story-telling by Elders, arts and crafts, and food tasting from our First Nations-owned restaurants.

‘Get up, Stand up, Show up’ NAIDOC Walk/Run/Ride/Roll
Newtown, Geelong
Join a Mob Run along the Barwon River, starting at Balyan Sanctuary. There will be a BBQ lunch provided after the race.

Sunday Market
Sunday, July 3, 10 am – 4 pm
Hamer Hall
A showcase of incredible art, craft and culture to celebrate the launch of NAIDOC Week 2022, the market will proudly, and exclusively, feature First Nations traders and businesses. Stall holders include Clothing The Gaps, Haus of Dizzy, The Koorie Circle and many more.

Queensland

Nana Magic, Tilly and Friends
Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at 10 am
Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre
Celebrate NAIDOC Week and join the fun with special guests Nana Magic, Tilly and friends! Children, parents and carers will join an unforgettable outback adventure with lots of singing and dancing and learn important environmental messages along the way.

NAIDOC in the Park
Friday, July 1, 4 pm – 8:30 pm
Shang Park
Head down to Shang Park for a free event featuring a movie screening, sausage sizzle, face painting, a jumping castle for the kids and a colouring-in competition. There will also be Indigenous dancing and opportunities to celebrate all things NAIDOC week.

ACT

MEGAfauna: Myths and Legends
July 1 – July 31
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Step back in time on this family adventure trail to meet the enormous creatures that inspire myths and legends, art and culture.

Culture on the Move: Traditional Weaving Workshops
Wednesday, July 20, 10 am
Banksia Centre, Australian National Botanic Gardens
Join Ronnie Jordan a Kalkadoon Pitta Pitta woman, who will share her traditional ecological knowledge with you. Ronnie is a qualified professional weaver and artist and has delivered weaving and art workshops to government agencies, community groups, schools, events and corporations. You will learn an age-old school using raffia and natural fibres.

Northern Territory

Deadly Cup Carnival
Sunday, July 3, 9:30 am
TRL Stadium, Marrara Sporting Complex
The 2022 Deadly Cup Rugby League Carnival will be held on Sunday 3rd July at TRL Stadium, in Larrakia Country (Darwin). It’s a free NAIDOC event that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture promotes health and well-being and showcases the Rugby League talent from across the Northern Territory.

IBA X Desert Knowledge NAIDOC Pop-Up
Wednesday, July 6 – Thursday, July 7
Desert Knowledge Precinct, Alice Springs
Join IBA and Desert Knowledge Centre for a day of workshops, keynotes and market stall pop-up shops to celebrate NAIDOC Week. Check out the stunning artworks on display from local Aboriginal artists and shop products from local Aboriginal businesses, taste bush foods, and get creative.

South Australia

The Lake of Scars Film Screening
Sunday, July 3, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm
Chaffey Theatre
Six years in the making, a groundbreaking Australian documentary dealing with allyship and reconciliation, environment and archaeology will be screening at the Chaffey Theatre.

Art Exhibition THREADS by Kat Bell
Wednesday, June 22 – Friday, July 8
Chaffey Theatre
This exhibition showcases a story of life, dreams and memories intertwining, entangling, and unravelling like threads of knotted course hairs on the tail of a wiry old beast.

Western Australia

NAIDOC Week Art Exhibition
Friday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 19
Linton and Kay Galleries
Explore this exhibition of paintings by selected Aboriginal artists who, over generations, celebrated country and First Nations’ culture in their art

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Travel

Take a Submarine to the Bottom of the Great Lakes

You too can sink down to the watery grave-er, depths.

Gail Shotlander/Moment/Getty Images
Gail Shotlander/Moment/Getty Images
Gail Shotlander/Moment/Getty Images

When the waves of Lake Huron closed over my head as I sank down to the bottom of the Great Lake, I admit I was a little panicky. I definitely thought about drowning. After all, I’d nearly drowned three times in my life.

Though the first two times I was too young to now recall, the third time was in Wisconsin and the sensation has stuck with me. I remember how, as a middle schooler, I got pulled deeper and deeper into a wave pool until every wave sucked me underneath just long enough to choke on a gurgly mouthful of water. Despite kicking and fighting to swim back to safety, I could feel the water overtaking me, bubbling up over my head as I sank down. The pool was choking me, I was suffocating, and the fear of death was right in my face. As you can probably guess, I was eventually saved. Someone noticed and pulled me out of the pool, and that relief was enormous.

But here I was again, as an adult, watching sediment from the bottom of the lake swirl up around me. But this time I wasn’t drowning. This time I was perfectly safe. This time I was in a submarine.

My small group and I were passengers on one of Viking Cruises’ newest itineraries, the Great Lakes Explorer. The expedition allows guests on the Viking Octantis ship to see one of the great lakes from the other side of the surface. Though guests can participate in science-research activities like microplastics research, bird-watching, and weather balloon launches, it’s also just really cool to dive in a submarine. Whether you’re overcoming your own childhood experiences or you’re just an adventurer at heart, here’s what to know about going on a submarine expedition in the Great Lakes.

Photo courtesy of Viking Cruises
Photo courtesy of Viking Cruises
Photo courtesy of Viking Cruises

Boarding a submarine

These are-of course-yellow submarines. Can you guess their names? If you picked John, Paul, George, and Ringo… you’re absolutely right.

The Beatles can go down to about 1,000 feet and stay underwater for eight hours. Each side of the submarine has three very comfortable seats for passengers, surrounded by glass domes that allow optimal viewing at the dive site. It’s a small space (you can’t stand up straight), but you can hardly tell once you’re in the water. The seat platforms swivel so you can look out over the lake floor instead of staring at the pilot and other passengers.

The submarines are equipped with lights, cameras, and some handy claws to pick up anything valuable the pilot sees on the lakebed. They’re typically used as research vessels to take information back to the Octantis’ science program, which works in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA eventually plans to tack instruments to the bottoms of the submarines to get more detailed information about the water, the lakes, and the lakebed.

If you’re like me (that is, both claustrophobic and afraid of drowning), you’ll be happy to know that the subs are awash with safety features. Onboard, you’ll find directions on what to do if the pilot goes unconscious, supplemental oxygen hoods, a big green button to push if the sub needs to surface immediately, and a program that tells the submarine to surface if it doesn’t detect any activity from the pilot. Up above you, the sub is followed by a safety boat with a team that ensures the surrounding waters stay clear and everyone is safe beneath the surface. (So even when the safety boat radioed our pilot, Peppe from Sweden, and said, “You’re a little close to the rocks, but that’s as good a dive site as any,” I decided to trust the marine scientist.)

Photo by Jennifer Billock
Photo by Jennifer Billock
Photo by Jennifer Billock

Sinking down to the depths

Here’s how the dive works. You take Viking-owned Zodiacs (military-grade rigid inflatable boats) to a predetermined dive site that the scientists onboard the ship picked out that morning. For now, the sites will always be in Canadian waters-because Viking is Norwegian, the Jones Act disallows them from deploying subs in the United States. To transfer from the Zodiac to the submarine, you have to hold onto a metal bar, climb out of the Zodiac, and sit down on the edge of the submarine hatch. You swing your legs into the hatch, then climb down a three-rung ladder into the middle of the sub to find your assigned seat.

Once everyone is in the sub, the pilot climbs in, closes the hatch, and then radios to the safety boat to make sure you’re clear to sink. With the all-clear, air is released from outside tanks on the submarine, and thrusters push the entire thing underwater.

For our dive, we went down about fifty feet to the floor of the lake. It had been raining all morning, which stirred up the sediment around us, making everything a mossy green colour that spotlights sparkled through to highlight the lakebed. I saw a few tiny fish and a ton of invasive zebra mussel shells. Depending on the weather and your dive site, you’re likely to see more. But even just exploring the floor of the Great Lakes, something almost no one in history has done before, is an amazing thing.

Sign me up!

If you want to take a submarine dive into the Great Lakes yourself, you have to be a passenger on the Viking Octantis or sister ship, Viking Polaris. As of this writing, no other companies offer passenger submarine trips down into the lakes-especially not in a military-grade exploration submarine that is worth $6 million each. The Great Lakes expedition itineraries start at about $6,500 and can be booked on the Viking website.

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images

Hike, kayak, or get yourself a cinnamon roll afterwards

What you can see nearby depends on your dive site. On Octantis, the subs went down in Lake Huron and Lake Superior-my dive was in Lake Huron, surrounded by the stunning Georgian Bay UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Canada. Here, you can kayak in the bay, hike through the surrounding landscape, and enjoy a Zodiac nature cruise.

Or if you can, try to take your submarine dive at Silver Islet in Ontario’s slice of Lake Superior. The small community is historic and completely off the grid, and the general store has some of the best cinnamon rolls you can find around the Great Lakes.

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Jennifer Billock is a freelance writer and author, usually focusing on some combination of culinary travel, culture, sex, and history. Check her out at JenniferBillock.com and follow her on Twitter.

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