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.

Contact details

Various sites throughout East Gippsland

 

www.batalukculturaltrail.com.au

Price range

FREE

Don't Miss

■ 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.

■ Salmon Rock at Cape Conran, east of Marlo. From the platform at Salmon Rock you can view an Aboriginal shell midden that could be 10 000 years old. Koorie people must have gathered here for generations to feast, celebrate and perform ceremonies.

Fabulous Facts

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.

Insider Tips

■ 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.

■ You can find more details about this driving trail on the website, and you should be able to pick up brochures at local visitor centres.
 
■ The trail follows the trading routes created by the traditional owners of the land before white settlement.
 
■ At Knob Reserve (western end of Stratford) you can find deeply grooved stones by the river where Koorie people used to sharpen axe heads, and at the wetlands near Sale, interpretive signs around Lake Guthridge give information about the plants, birds and raw materials that could be gathered here.
 
■ The Den of Nargun is located in the Mitchell River National Park. There is a carpark and picnic ground with barbecues and toilets at the southern end of the park.
 
■ Sometimes the mouth of the cave is screened by mist or a waterfall.
 
■ The walk to the cave takes approximately 15 minutes each way.
 
■ Natural stepping stones lead into the den, but the local Aboriginal community prefer you not to enter, as this is still a significant cultural site. You are especially asked not to touch any fragile
stalactites forming inside.

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