“How it all started” – by Francis Walker
As told to and edited by Tony Walsh on 22 January, 2005
Back in 2003 Francis Walker and her family were spending time at their fishing shack on the mouth of the Bloomfield River talking about how they could get involved in tourism when Francis saw a boat from the Peppers Bloomfield Lodge. The boat was full of guests from the lodge on a croc spotting tour. Francis recognised that right there in that boat was the opportunity they had been looking for.
“We found out later that more than 75 percent of the guests at the lodge are from overseas and also that more international travellers than Australian visitors are interested in experiencing Aboriginal tours and culture.”
Peter and Pat MacPherson, the resort managers, recognised the potential of being able offer their guest an Indigenous tour of the region and they encouraged and supported the Walkers to get their business started.
The Walkers began by offer a bush tour through their traditional lands followed by billy tea and damper. The resort would bring their guests by boat to Thompson Creek Landing. This was a two-hour walking tour and guests found it too long. This limited the Walker’s customer base so they looked around for a shorter tour to offer.
In July 2004, they began a half hour tour of Wujal Wujal (Bloomfield) Falls. This new tour received greater supported by the tourism industry in Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas as well as by tour companies such as Oz Tours, and Tropic Wings.
“We have learnt to have a good network of people selling the tour for us, important to have a good brochure, dependable, we had to prove ourselves as aboriginal operators, big stepping stone for us, good support from Peppers.”
The Walkers have set up a tour company with limited infrastructure. By tapping into the customs of other established touring companies they minimise their financial. It has also kept their required marketing to a minimum and gives them the ability to make a profit off a smaller sales base.
Francis Walker’s tips
I didn’t think we would be working with so many operators, and for a blackfella thing to get where we are, that’s good. It builds up your self-esteem and it is something we enjoy doing.
To experience the range of Indigenous tours provided by the Walker Family as part of a half day Bloomfield Lodge tour, visitors must be guests of Bloomfield Lodge. Please refer to the Bloomfield Lodge information within our website.
Bloomfield Lodge is in the tropical north of Queensland. The major gateway town is Cairns with direct flights available into Cairns airport every day. From there, access to the property is vastly different to most experiences. Guests are picked up from Cairns airport and whisked to the VIP lounge at Hinterland Aviation to board a privately chartered plane for the scenic flight from Cairns.
Flying up the dazzling Queensland coastline you glimpse tiny deserted islands, the pristine white sails of the occasional yacht and a kaleidoscope of aquamarine along the fringing coral reefs. Before long, the vast tropical lushness of the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest unfolds below, and with a short outback drive and a gentle cruise downriver and across Weary Bay, you are welcomed into the soothing oasis that is Bloomfield Lodge.
HOLIDAYS WITH HEART
By making a booking for your holiday through id Services Australia, you will automatically be participating in the Holidays with Heart program and supporting the Happy Days Foundation.
The Happy Days Foundation was created by Chris Fenech, Managing Director of id Services Australia – Travel & Lifestyle, with the intention to raise funds to create a chain of respite facilities for families affected by Huntington’s Disease in Australia.
Through our Holidays with Heart program 100 per cent of the commission normally earned on bookings will be donated by id Services Australia – Travel & Lifestyle to the Happy Days Foundation for these much needed respite facilities.
Thank you for your support and please consider booking through us again in the future!
Bloomfield Falls from the Lodge
Departing Bloomfield Lodge after breakfast, this half-day trip to the picturesque Bloomfield Falls is one of the most popular amongst guests at Bloomfield Lodge. From the Lodge we travel to the wharf by boat, where we drive by 4WD along the Bloomfield River through the Indigenous Community of Wujal Wujal. After parking the vehicle it is an easy 5 minute walk to get a spectacular view of the Falls guided by a member of the local Walker Family.
A highly informative and entertaining guided tour, the Indigenous interpretation of the area is delivered with passion and allows visitors to the area an opportunity to learn of the cultural significance of Wujal Wujal.
Indigenous guides provide guests with a 30 minute interpretation on each tour. All drinks and a food hamper containing morning tea is included.