North Queensland has a number of exceptional opportunities to experience the Indigenous culture of Australia’s first people. Each Monday evening elders from Kuku Yalanji visit Thala to share a personal cultural presentation, along with didgeridoo performance, which is free for all Thala guests. If your visit coincides with a Monday night make sure you don’t miss this splendid opportunity to meet with and talk to the people who have lived on the lands where Thala is sited for 40,000 years or so.
Here’s how to further experience Aboriginal cultures and customs in Tropical North Queensland.
Dreamtime walk in Mossman Gorge
Join a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk at Mossman Gorge with local Kuku Yalanji people ( Kuku Yalanji elders visit Thala each Monday evening for a cultural presentation). Ngadiku (Nar-di-gul) means stories and legends from a long time ago in local Kuku Yalanji language. The walks take visitors on a journey along private, gentle tracks, visiting special places and culturally significant sites, past traditional bark shelters and over rainforest streams peppered with granite boulders. It’s a stunning environment – linger a while and soak it up.
Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours
Join the Kubirra Warra brothers for a Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tour. Start with a cultural smoking ceremony before an introduction to traditional Aboriginal fishing and gathering techniques. Brothers Linc and Brandon Walker take guests through coastal mudflats and mangrove habitats teeming with mussels, crabs and fish in and around beautiful Cooya Beach north of Port Douglas. If you’re staying at Thala, make sure you don’t miss the Kuku Yalanji cultural presentation each Monday night including a didgeridoo demonstration.
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is a celebration of Australia’s ancient Aboriginal culture – it’s where Australia begins. Visit Tjapukai for an insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that dates back 40,000 years.
Tjapukai by Day is a hands-on opportunity to learn about Indigenous culture, including spear and boomerang throwing, didgeridoo playing and so much more.
Visit after dark for a Nightfire corrobboree incorporating music, dance and story-telling accompanied by the gentle flicker of flames beneath a star-filled sky.
Experience Indigenous culture of the Rainforest Aboriginal People with the Grant Family with 100% Aboriginal owned Ingan Tours. Tours start with a traditional welcome ceremony to Jirrbal country. Walk traditional rainforest trails while enjoying Aboriginal stories along the way to Echo Creek Falls. Cool off in crystal clear water and absorb ancestral spirits of the forest.
The Janbanbarra Jirrbal Rainforest people, who originate from the Davidson Valley near Mission Beach have a strong connection to their homeland. Their ancestors traditionally walked the rainforest using Aboriginal trading routes to hunt and gather for ceremonial rituals.
Other Indigenous experiences worth checking out
Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival – a foot-stomping biennial cultural gathering in Cape York Peninsula
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair – annual festival in Cairns celebrating Indigenous art, food, dance & culture
Quinkan & Regional Cultural Centre – for interpretive displays, Rock Art tours & more!
Janbal Gallery – much more than a gallery, learn about art & culture through hands-on painting and story-telling
Walkabout Cultural Adventures – Interpretive Aboriginal cultural tours