The rainforest is like a pharmacy, supermarket and university.”

For 60,000 years, Indigenous Australians learnt from their beloved land. Trials taught them tonics from toxins and ancestors shared sacred skills. Now, despite incredible hardships, Indigenous healers are helping us to understand and appreciate the healing heritage of this lucky land.


We’re standing in the cradle of civilisation, absorbing the invigorating air and soothing sounds. As we step softly on the ancient rainforest soil beside a sparkling gorge, green-tinged sun rays stream through the canopy. “Careful, this is poison,” warns Harold “Wawabuja” Tayley, or Mooks to his mates.

As Mooks tells it, the rainforest is rife with curses and cures. The heart-leafed stinging tree or gympie gympie has both: “Fine hairs can sting the skin for two months but the root juice relieves it.” During the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks organised by Mossman Gorge Centre (mossmangorge.com.au), this amiable Aboriginal man shares survival tips from his local Kuku Yalanji tribe. The 135-million-year-old World Heritage-listed Daintree rainforest has rich resources with up to 30,000 flora and fauna species per hectare. “The rainforest is like a pharmacy, supermarket and university,” beams Mooks, proudly. His ancestral land gives him shelter, sustenance and spiritual strength.

The walkabout started around a sacred smoking fire to help us “go from here

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