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Bookabee Tours Australia is changing all that, and was recently awarded the South Australian Hidden Jewel Award for meeting a demand among overseas visitors for a genuine Aboriginal cultural encounter – without foregoing fi ve-star comforts. By adding luxurious accommodation to the chauffeur-driven, top-of-therange 4WDs used to transport guests, Bookabee is now able to tailor a complete package that combines genuine Indigenous encounters with fi ve-star comfort. A great ambassador Bookabee Tours is run by Haydyn Bromley a jovial Aboriginal man from the Adnyamathanha people in the Flinders Ranges. A great ambassador for his heritage, he commands enough respect among the local Indigenous population of the Flinders region to allow his guests a very special encounter with places and people that are otherwise inaccessible. The Flinders Ranges are South Australia’s largest mountain range, and they begin some 200 kilometres north of Adelaide, extending north and east to the state’s borders. It is a vast and rugged region that is known for its majestic beauty, ever-changing colours and varied landscape. The Flinders Ranges is the ancestral home of the Adnyamathanha people, whose rich and vibrant heritage dates back some 45,000 years. Explore the rock art Bookabee was the traditional name of Haydyn’s grandfather, and before launching the company, Haydyn, who is a qualifi ed teacher with more than two decades of experience in education, also worked in his family’s award-winning Aboriginal tour business. All in all, it’s a background that ensures a great tour leader. Aboriginal culture An award-winning experience in the Flinders Ranges Until recently, authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences were few and far between, usually accessible only to adventure travellers willing to put in the hard yards to uncover the real Australia. Bunyeroo Valley Tour group at Lake Frome Haydyn Bromley with a Sleepy Lizard 8 w w w . S E L L I N G D O W N U N D E R . c o m J u l y 2 0 0 7 “Instead of just learning ‘facts’ about the area from a neutral perspective, Haydyn shows the stories of the region passed to him by his grandfather and introduced me to family members living in the area,” explains one of Bookabee’s many satisfi ed clients. On a Bookabee tour, visitors will experience the land and life of the Adnyamathanha people through Aboriginal cave paintings, rock engravings, cresation stories and bush tucker – and will also come across abundant wildlife, such as kangaroos, emus, wedge-tailed eagles and the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. Adnyamathanha stories tell of ancestral spirits such as the two Akurras (giant snakes) who created and shaped the specta cu lar Flinders Ranges. The local mountains, animals and birds, plants, waterholes and springs all have special signifi cance to Haydyn’s people – and he is keen to share his valuable knowledge of the history and culture of the Aboriginal people of the area. It’s this authentic interaction and education that many overseas visitors are looking for, but not all are willing to ride in the back of an old oka and swag it under the stars in order to fi nd it. The personalised touch Bookabee has responded by creating a menu of personalised tours and holidays, with hand-picked accommodation. Guests encounter the native wildlife, bush food and cave paintings, listen to Aboriginal stories and experience the stunning hills and gorges of Haydyn’s home – the Flinders Ranges. Most tours are run for small groups, but Bookabee can put together ground arrangements for couples wanting a fully personalised itinerary. The most popular tours put together by Bookabee are the three-day Flinders Ranges Experience and the four-day Flinders Ranges Outback Discovery, while one the latest additions is a three-day Flinders Gourmet Tastes Tour. The high-end accommodation pro viders now partnering with Bookabee Tours Australia include Rawnsley Park, which offers luxury eco-villas; Prairie Hotel, famous for its Australian native cuisine, such as kangaroo, emu and yabbies; and Wilpena Pound Resort’s Heyson de-luxe unit. Tour rates include accommodation, all meals, entry fees and pick-up and drop-off at all of the hotels in Adelaide’s metropolitan area. Click here for accommodation details Mawlkii Cave Dancing Brolga Haydyn Bromley making Billy Tea J u l y 2 0 0 7 w w w . S E L L I N G D O W N U N D E R . c o m 9