What an adventure! The wawa biik team delves into the highlights of our first year of operation.

February 21, 2024

February 2024 marks our wawa biik one year anniversary. One year on and we’ve been having a laugh about all the funny moments; thinking back to all the great yarns with our friendly guests and reflecting on the honour of being out on Country doing what we love. It’s no secret that running a successful tourism business is hard work at times and we have overcome some challenges in the past year. But our resilience shines through and we stay focused on the positives of what wawa biik has achieved and will continue to achieve for the Taungurung Nation.  Our team reveals all…..

What have you cherished most from your time with wawa biik?

Aunty Jo: Meeting different groups of people and showcasing a small part of our culture and Country. Jonah: Having the opportunity to share vast generational knowledge passed down from liwik (Ancestors) to the wider public. I am proud to be able to express that I get the chance to make my family proud by getting up and sharing yarns and working in the shadow of my cultural mentors and Elders. Bonnie: Being out on Country learning and sharing in unique moments with my Elders, community, and colleagues. It’s a chance to immerse in Country and Culture away from the busyness of work and life. Every tour I learn something new and gain a step in confidence when sharing Culture. Vanda: I have cherished the continual learning and what it means to be connected to Country in so many different ways, the professionalism, teamwork and the ability to enjoy and take pride in what we all do. Uncle Shane: Sharing our stories with people so they are getting accurate information rather than generic information that you get online. Sharna: The sense of community and comradery that is nurtured within every experience. The Welcome Smoking Ceremony really sets the scene and connects everyone. There's this feeling of gratefulness at being on Country and paying homage to what's important in life.

Some favourite moments seeing guests learning and connecting to Taungurung Culture and Country?

Aunty Jo: Hearing guests speak language. It's great to hear them having a go at saying wawa biik or other words they've learnt. Also, seeing guests getting stuck into the bush tucker and enjoying the taste, dirt and all. Vanda: I find that the moment the guests arrive the intrigue of what to expect and the fascination in connecting with the guides on Taungurung culture, asking questions, learning knowledge and the appreciation they experience is amazing to watch from start to finish. Jonah: Listening to visitors explain how and why the wawa biik experience changes their perspective on Taungurung history or Aboriginal culture. Also seeing how many distant family members have come on the experience whom I haven't met before. While this is funny having such a large family clan, having family everywhere, it is also very wholesome. Bonnie: Where guests are invited to share something about themselves and their connection to Country. The tours I have been part of, each person has been immediately captivated and genuinely engaged to share something right from the get-go. I find this such a grounding exercise and ‘scene-setter’ for the tour ahead. Uncle Shane: Seeing people try out bush tucker and seeing their reaction when they try these foods and enjoy them, also hearing the conversations on the bus after we've shown them some cultural heritage sites - they are amazed with what they see. Sharna: The Welcome Smoking Ceremony is the best moment in my eyes. Everyone's shoulders drop, their attention is focused, it's healing and relaxing and you can literally see people letting go and opening up to the experience.

A funny moment on tour?

Aunty Jo: Our new wawa Euroa Wayilak experience is for kids aged 5 – 12. I’m currently on a strict diet and was feeling a few kilos lighter. Anyway, I had done the Welcome Smoking Ceremony with the heavy possum skin cloak on and then made a joke about being skinnier when I took the cloak off. Let's call him Little Johnny, a child on the tour stated loud and proudly that ''Aunty Jo, although you took the cloak off, you’re still fat!" We laughed. Gotta love the honesty of kids. Vanda: This moment was my funniest too. Uncle Shane: Seeing Bundjil (wedge-tailed eagle) take out a pelican on our tabilk cruise. Sharna: I loved this moment too but also loved when Uncle Shane drove our 4WD bus into a muddy area and for a brief moment we thought we were bogged. It was only funny because he managed to get us out! It made the tour feel more adventurous and fun!

What’s your one hope for wawa biik in the year ahead?

Aunty Jo: That I find little Johnny at the end of the year and can show him how skinny I am! Lol. No, to get more people involved – we want everyone to come and experience biik with us. The more diverse the people, the better. Jonah: To better share the Taungurung story and cultural make-up of Biik and to have a greater capacity for our team and guides. Vanda: To grow bigger and better (if that is possible). Uncle Shane: To keep growing and get some younger guides to join in and also add different locations for our tours. Sharna: To continue to achieve our community and Country goals while also expanding our offering of amazing experiences for our guests.

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a lovely weekend. We have a few spots left for Friday's Nagambie experience if you are interested! Head to our wawabiik website and book now! 

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