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August 20, 2001

Overland Australia - Update 25

As I bit into the live witchety grub, a big worm-like insect, the gooeyness went straight down, but the skin was tough and I had to chew on it. It actually tasted quite nutty!…

My tasty experience happened today when myself and four other members of the expedition took a bush tour in and around Mt. Isa with our indigenous guide, David. On the tour we learned about the history of the people of the area, old and new. Also we learned a heap about bush tucker, or food! From witchety grubs to the banana vine, we were sure better off in terms of knowledge when we were done.


The tour started at about 1:30 and all five of us took his Land-Cruiser and our Mitsubishi out of the town of Mt. Isa into the bush. Along the way to our first rock-painting site we learned about the banana vine that bears a fruit that tastes like fresh green peas, and how the wax of the spinifex is used by the local ant population to make tunnels. It can also be used to heal wounds and even fix a leaky water bottle! During the whole tour we were enlightened by David’s simple but vital knowledge of the bush. The rock art we got to see also was lit alive by David’s insight into the different shapes and designs! It was neat to see what we had been riding through for the past month suddenly come alive and speak to us!


As our time with David progressed we saw deeper and deeper into what could seem a scrubby and barren land. The history of the Aborigines was really amazing considering that David is one himself. When Jason asked him about his job as a guide, David answered, “I reckon I have the best job in the world.”

As I sit here on Greg and Margaret’s front lawn, I reflect on my knowledge packed mind. On tomorrow’s ride we’ll see deeper (and tastier) into the bush!


“This has to be one of the best bush tucker tours you’ll ever take,” Rebecca explained. So, on her recommendation, we opted out of leaving Mt. Isa today and booked a bush tour to learn about the various Aboriginal clans in the area, their customs and ways of surviving in the bush. This was especially interesting for me as I had created several social studies lessons last spring around bush tucker. Today, the research that I had done suddenly came alive.


Our guide, David, was extremely knowledgeable, providing us with much historical insight as well as hands on learning about which plants could be utilized and in what ways. Pouring a bit of water over his hands as he made a pulp from the soap bush, we saw suds appear! We also identified the seeds of some plants that could be ground into flour and cooked as a form of bread. And, Crister has given you a great visual of the witchety grub experience! I, unfortunately, had bonded with the one I was holding so gave him up rather than eat him myself. I’ll take the guys’ word that they have a nutty taste…


Posted on August 20, 2001 8:00 PM