Kakadu Culture Camp off to G’Day USA!

Happy New Year! We’re taking a break from the culture camp for a few months while the wet season kicks in. Our campground in Kakadu is starting to flood and the shower block will be under water soon! Jenny and Fred are back working as Kakadu Park Rangers, Douglas is flat out making new bamboo spears for our guests to throw around, and I’ve been busy doing all the administrative work I tried to ignore during the tourist season! On January 14 we are off to the G’Day USA Roadshow. Jenny, Catherine and I are joining 10 other Aboriginal tour operators from around OZ for the Tourism Australia promotion that highlights Australia as a destination to hundred’s of USA travel wholesale agents across North America. Cities on the schedule include Los Angeles, New York and Toronto, and will involve media events, public promos and trade shows. Our main job is to pitch our tour to international buyers of Aussie product in the hope of generating more North American interest in Down Under. This is a very important trip for us; we are entering our third year of operation and are keen to expand our client base and attract international travellers with genuine interest in the Aboriginal culture and wildlife of northern Australia.

On the USA tour Jenny will be giving basket weaving demonstrations while six year old Catherine is taking her soft toys to help act out Kakadu’s ‘turtle and the echidna’ story, do her colour-in art activity and tell the story of  Warramurrunggundji Creation Mother. Catherine says she will give a free Culture Camp sticker to anyone in America who will listen to her stories; I can tell you they will earn it for once she gets going she can be hard to stop, they’ll probably prefer earplugs over a sticker!

Of course at the moment the tourism industry is fully focused on the current global economic downturn and what it will mean for operators, especially those in the top end of Australia. Personally I think I’m well placed to deal with it, I’ve been going through my own financial crisis for years!

All jokes aside, Canada is off to their coldest start to winter in 40 years and in the midst of a deep freeze which is causing a few problems over there. Toronto looks like being a bit chilly (-15c max, dare not think about the min) and Niagara Falls are likely to be frozen over, a far cry from Kakadu’s JimJim Falls which are roaring at the moment! As Kakadu is 35c just abut all year I never wear long pants, so I’ll grab a few pairs of RMW jeans on the way to the airport. Luckily we have already bought our thermal underwear from NT General Store! This will be the first time we’ve ever seen snow. Wish us luck!

P.S. We just hit LA on the G’Day USA Roadshow, see photos of us on the People page in our photo album!

Cheers, Andy Ralph-Camp Coordinator

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