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Every tourism survey shows that a large number of visitors to the Northern Territory want to learn about Aboriginal culture. Until recently, few visitors had the opportunity to meet Aboriginal people.

But the Aboriginal tourism industry is becoming more accessible–and Northern Territory Indigenous Tours is at the forefront of showcasing the ancient civilisation of Aboriginal people and the beauty of the Northern Territory’s Top End. 

Company founder, Tess Atie, and her husband, Greg Balding, have operated Northern Territory Indigenous Tours for 15 years, running high-end day trips to Litchfield National Park and surrounding areas. Limited to eight guests, their tours are intimate, interactive and in the moment. 

“A small group is more intimate and allows us to tailor our tours to the specific interests and abilities of our guests,” says Tess. 

The company has hosted some illustrious clients, including celebrity chefs, researchers and students from universities such as Pennsylvania and the Australian National University and, in 2023, then Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and the full Qantas Board. 

Interstate and overseas guests are conveyed to Litchfield in comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles, visiting places away from the usual tourist trail. In spectacular, natural surrounds Tess serves them beautifully presented and healthful lunches of Australian foods. 

“I tell our guests to ask lots of questions, that way they can learn as much as possible. 

“I tell them about my life story, those of my family and their connection with the Litchfield region, and the traditions of Aboriginal people. I tell them the true stories of our history since colonisation, as well as those from earlier times. Sometimes guests are deeply moved by my stories–and many return with a fresh outlook. 


“Sometimes we bump into members of my family on the tour, and we always stop for a chat. I tell my guests that I don’t come from a rich family, but I have a rich cultural heritage and land as far as the eye can see.” 

Before establishing Northern Territory Indigenous Tours, Tess worked as a park ranger in the Darwin region and for Parks Australia at Uluru, where she met her husband-to-be, who was the chief ranger. 

“My husband and I complement each other on the tours,” says Tess. “He can talk about the environmental science and I can tell our guests about Aboriginal culture. It works well.” 

Northern Territory Indigenous Tours is thriving – bookings for the coming dry season are strong and there are already bookings for 2025. In addition to cultural tours, the company is branching out into one of the Northern Territory’s boom tourism sectors–bird-watching and wildlife photography. 

You can experience these inspirational tours by booking through Northern Territory Indigenous Tours’ website or through a variety of tour booking agents. 


Northern Territory Indigenous Tours 

From Australia: 1300 92 11 88 

Other countries: +61 8 8983 1434