Darren “Capes” Capewell
Company: Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures
Location: Shark Bay, Western Australia
Darren “Capes” Capewell once played Australian Rules football for East Fremantle but these days he’s kicking different kinds of goals. Capes, as he’s universally known, is now sharing the Indigenous history of Shark Bay – the land of his ancestors. The World Heritage-listed region, 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Perth, is the Australian continent’s westernmost point. Among Shark Bay’s highlights is Monkey Mia, famous for its wild dolphins. It’s also home to Francois Peron National Park, where acacia- covered red sand dunes contrast vividly with turquoise waters that are home to manta rays, dolphins and elusive dugongs.
Capes came home from the big city in 2000 and started his tourism venture in 2004. “Apart from my family, it combines two of my greatest passions – and that’s the environment and my culture,” he says. Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures will take you kayaking through the region’s stunning bays. Along the way, you learn about the strong spiritual connection between this land and its traditional custodians. You can also slip from the double kayaks into crystal-clear waters to snorkel and swim with rays, fish and turtles.
Capes also runs a Didgeridoo Dreaming night tour – a didgeridoo meditation around an open campfire. Bush tucker and fish are cooked over the fire, and males can try their hand playing the timeless instrument. Traditionally, the didgeridoo is played only by men but females on the tour can try coaxing music from a conch shell. On a 4WD tour of Francois Peron National Park, you might spot the thorny devil, a spiky lizard that stars in one of the region’s Dreamtime stories.
Credit: Tourism Australia Discover Aboriginal Experiences