Bataluk Cultural Trail
Quietly, in single file, you wend your way down into a deep, rocky gorge. It opens out and you find yourselves in a rainforest gully. Mossy trees are entwined with vines and a creek trickles at your feet before vanishing into a gaping cavern known as the Den of Nargun. In a soft voice, you relate the myth of the Nargun. You picture the Aboriginal women and children sitting around their campfires telling the same tale. This is just one stop on the cultural trail that takes you into the world of the Koorie people.
Various sites throughout East Gippsland
■ The signposted turn-off to Burnt Bridge Reserve from the Princes Highway between Lakes Entrance and Nowa Nowa. This borders Lake Tyers Aboriginal Reserve, the site of the first successful Aboriginal Land Rights claim in Australia’s history.
According to legend, the Nargun is a large, half-stone, half-human female creature who lives in the cave. She abducts children who wander off on their own, and if you try to throw stones or spears at her, they will just bounce off. Women used to warn their children about the Nargun to make sure they stayed close to camp and did not enter the sacred cave.
■ The signposted Bataluk Cultural Trail extends from Sale in the east, through Stratford, Mitchell River National Park, Bairnsdale, Metung, Lake Tyers, Buchan and Orbost to Cape Conran in the west.