Bush Tucker


"Experience the real food of Australia"

The word bush tucker is used to describe the food that the local aboriginal people used to eat and some still eat today

The aboriginals lived off the land meaning they ate whatever they could find on the land. Knowing which plants were tasty, which were poisonous and when they should be picked is something that was passed down from generation to generation. They did also eat meats such as crocodile and kangaroo. There is of course an abundance of fish and shell fish which the aboriginals enjoyed too.

They used hot coal fires to cook some of the ingredients, sometimes for several hours in order for the toxins to be eradicated.

Aboriginals living in different parts of Australia would have access to different types of plants, fruits and nuts so bush tucker does vary slightly by region.

Nowadays the term can mean many different things. Generally it means products that are unique to Australia. You will often see Kangaroo, crocodile and Emu on menus as this is normally something tourists have not tried.

The plants are now usually used to make jams and chutneys, which is not how the aboriginals used to use them! The macadamia nut is probably one of the most prevalent of the aboriginal foods that you will see everywhere in Australia - these days normally coated in chocolate!

TV programmes such as "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" which were filmed in Queensland, Australia have depicted the eating of live bugs! Whilst they are edible and are called witchetty bugs, you will find few places offering this type of delicacy on the menu!

This page aims to tell you a bit about the ancient aboriginal food as well as tours and places around Australia you can go to in order to experience it.



Key plants, fruits and nuts used by the Aboriginals


The following were key ingredients for the aborigines:

FRUITS

  • Kutjera - looks like a raisin, is rich in vitamin C and tastes like strong caramel
  • Muntries - also known as emu apples or native cranberries. These taste like spicy apple
  • Riberry - a coastal rainforest tree with its fruit tasting like tart cranberries with a hint of clove
  • Quandong - from the sandalwood family and is rather like a peach with a waxy skin. Ripens in summer
  • Davidson's plum - 3 rainforest plant species with a rather sour fruit that resembles a traditional plum. Renowned as being a gourmet bush tucker fruit
  • Finger lime - now popular in gourmet Australian marmalade, this fruit has a very zesty flavour.


  • VEGETABLES

  • Warrigal greens - a bit like spinach and seeds were shipped back to Great Britain with Captain Cook to help fight scurvy.
  • Bungwall Fern - the roots were soaked, roasted and then ground to make flour


  • SPICES

  • Lemon myrtle - used in cooking and as a healing plant. It has a high content of Citral which is used to keep mosquitoes at bay.
  • Mountain pepper a peppery plant used to flavour cuisine
  • Aniseed myrtle - a great aniseed flavour now used in essential oils


  • NUTS

  • Bunya Nut - From the Bunya tree, sacred to the aboriginals. The nuts are like pine nuts and can be eaten as is or ground up to make bread.
  • Macadamia Nut - a nut high in good fats and also great for the skin when in an essential oil. Now mass produced throughout Australia



  • Where to experience bush tucker


  • Alice Springs Desert Park,Alice Springs, allows you to see the native plants of Australia. Click here for more information on Alice Springs.
  • Animal Tracks tours in Kakadu National Park do a half day tour of the park focusing on the plants, followed by a barbeque. Click here for more information on Kakadu.
  • Also try Bininj An-garre Tour in Kakadu where you get to taste Buffalo and Barramundi fish straight from the coals. Tour by Kakadu Culture Camp
  • Margaret River, nr Perth have Cave and Canoe bush tucker tours where they will let you taste various james and chutneys made from the fruits, spices and plants of native Australia. Click here for more information on The Margaret River.
  • The Australia Walkabout Park is about an hours drive from Sydney in Calga and you can take part in their daily bush tucker tours that start at 1pm. They also have some great animals too. Click here for more information on Sydney.
  • Yamuloong Bush Tucker Tours - Half Day in the Hunter Valley will also take you on a guided walk with an expert in the bush and bush tucker
  • Bush Tucker Cafe in the Grampians National Park is another great place offering fab food.


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