Fishing With a Wadandi Cultural Custodian


Cast away

Share a fishing trip with local cultural custodian Josh Whiteland

Josh Whiteland is in his element when fishing barefoot on white sand in Wadandi country. So, after ten years of running the successful Koomal Dreaming and Cape Cultural Tours at Ngilgi Cave and Cape Naturaliste respectively, he’s added a beach fishing experience to his portfolio. 

Josh grew up in Busselton and is a Wadandi Cultural Custodian and a leader within the local Aboriginal community. He has fantastic memories of fishing Meelup and surrounds with his grandfather and uncles foraging for greens, and learning to care for country. These are the experiences he’s willing to share with visitors; beach fishing, exploring Meelup regional park and surrounds, and bringing it all together with a delicious barbecue lunch on location.

The coastal fishing tour will run February to May and differs to his existing tours in that it concentrates on the magnificent beaches and coastal bushlands. “You’ll get your feet wet and have sand between your toes, while enjoying the beautiful coastline,” says Josh.

Josh is said to be able to spot a school of salmon from his car window, and it’s his ability to read the weather and the ocean that makes this tour such a unique experience. You might even spot a pod of dolphins or whales during your walk through Meelup and the capes area.

Josh will share local stories about migrating fish and whales, and the six Aboriginal seasons: “The six seasons are really important, as is the interconnectedness between plants, animals, and the weather. For example, the marri trees blossom around February which indicates that the herring are here and salmon are coming.”

Local salmon are absolutely delicious when they’ve been prepared and cooked fresh. You’ll have the opportunity to catch salmon, herring, or bream among many other local species – on Bunker Bay or Smiths Beach within the capes region, depending on the weather conditions. After fishing, Josh will prepare lunch (your fish if you catch one!), and whip up a salad of foraged greens to be enjoyed with the cold drinks.

Josh has been involved with the Gourmet Escape festival, sharing the abundant local produce with chefs from around the world. He has a knack for matching flavours and is a passionate cook, with a deep respect for country.

“I want to share this incredible coastal area, but I want to show people about caring for country sustainably too. Take enough for a feed and only collect the greens that you need.”

Check out the different experiences on offer and book today!

‘Djiljit’ coastal fishing experience

Explore the wonder of the Meelup regional park and surrounds with a cultural custodian, hear stories about ‘Wadandi Boodja’ – local people and country, swim in crystal clear waters, or fish for herring, salmon, and bream. Take a guided walk along the pristine coastline, spot dolphins, whales and schools of fish. Learn about the local flora and fauna and discover the six seasons and how they influence what is gathered foraged and hunted. Enjoy a ‘catch and cook’ BBQ lunch, learn how to prepare your fish, and forage for your salad.

Available: February to May

Cost: From $265

Book here

Koomal Dreaming Ngilgi Cave cultural tour

This is an introduction to local geography and topography, Wadandi language and history going back over 50,000 years. Start with a bush walk, then descend deep into Ngilgi Cave for a captivating didgeridoo performance. Josh has won three consecutive gold medals at the WA Tourism Awards, 2013-2015 for his Koomal Dreaming tours.

Available: 9am Thursday to Sunday, year round

Cost: Adults $78, children $44

Duration: 2.5 hours

Cape Cultural Experience

Based at Cape Naturaliste, near the lighthouse, you’ll learn about the deep connection the Wadandi people have to the cape to cape region. Start with a Welcome to Country then take a 2.5km walk around the tip of Cape Naturaliste; spectacular bushland surrounded 270 degrees by ocean. This tour allows you to get up close to historical Aboriginal artefacts and hear a performance on the didgeridoo.

Available: September to June

Cost: Adults $78, children $40

Duration: 2.5 hours

Book here

Want more Aboriginal culture during your stay in Margaret River? Check out these other  opportunities to experience Aboriginal culture.

Author Lizzy Pepper

After living in Melbourne and London, Lizzy meant to have a summer in Yallingup before getting a “serious” job in Perth. Nine years on, and she loves Dunsborough too much to return to city life. Lizzy works as a marketing consultant in the tourism industry. She’s taken helicopter rides along the coast, distilled her own batch of gin and put in the hard yards tasting wines to help tell her clients' stories. Whether she’s paddling her wave ski on Geographe Bay, swimming at Castle Rock Beach, brunching at a favourite café or drinking local wine on the deck, Lizzy is always on the lookout for new tastes and experiences to share with visitors. Instagram: / Web:

Leave a Reply

Stay Up To Date Subscribe