Mitji had lived with the Aboriginal tribe for as long as she could remember. With her white skin, thin nose and red hair, she does not look like the rest of the tribe but she has learnt their skills of survival in the arid desert. As she nears womanhood, her oddness has made her an outcast and she must leave her people. She goes on a walkabout, in search of the walypalya, the tribe with red hair and white skin like hers, who had come from the great waters. Perhaps they would receive her kindly and let her stay with them.
On her wanderings she comes upon a white man, lying half-dead in the blazing heat, and nurses him back to health. Together they make their way to his home, and Mitji becomes Meg and has to learn to wear clothes, to sleep in a bed, to sit on a chair – and to speak English.
But Meg has barely started her journey towards her true origins. In the world of the walypalya, there are new dangers and Meg must confront the terrors of a long sea voyage before she can find happiness on the other side of the world. Only the knowledge that she has learnt from her Aboriginal tribe can guarantee her survival and that of her friends.