The new cultural tourism experience surrounds Budj Bim National Park and Tae Rak (Lake Condah), beyond Victoria’s picturesque Great Ocean Road, a popular natural attraction for both Australian and overseas visitors.
Formed by an ancient eruption of the now dormant Budj Bim (Mount Eccles), meaning ‘high head’, the resulting lava flows and waterways allowed the Gunditjmara people to establish one of the world’s most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems, from which kooyang (eels) were harvested and used both for nutrition and for trade. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2019, the first Australian landscape to be included purely for its Indigenous cultural values.
State-of-the-art tourism infrastructure, designed to enable an enriching experience of the landscape and its people, has been developed by Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (GMTOAC). Financial support for this tourism infrastructure was provided by Regional Development Victoria and was officially launched by the Honorary Mary-Ann Thomas MP on 1 April this year.
Hamilton-based Cooper Scaife Architects designed the Tae Rak Aquaculture Centre including the visitor information hub and eatery, along with four other visitor sites across the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape using sustainable and culturally significant designs. Visitors can try refreshments and smoked kooyang, bringing to life the farming and culinary techniques practiced by Gunditjmara over hundreds of generations.