Visitors to Queensland can learn about the State’s Indigenous heritage and culture through local people, traditions and way of life.
Learn about ‘Bush Tucker’ and the natural medicines that have supported Indigenous cultures for centuries. Take a trek into an ancient rainforest. Take a canoe ride through a tranquil lagoon or learn to craft spears and catch fish in the traditional way.
Discover the colours of the earth in the traditional rock arts sites around Queensland. Preserved for thousands of years, the sites record the stories of the Dreamtime and give visitors a unique insight into this ancient way of life. Have a look at this fact sheet for some of the top indigenous experiences around Queensland.
Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
Experience what its like to be inside a living culture, and visit a coastal indigenous community 380km north of Cairns. Be taken to one of the most beautiful and pristine locations in the tropics, The Bloomfield Falls, which is surrounded by the world heritage-listed rainforests of the Daintree. Perhaps join a safari camp and visit the Laura area, which contains Queensland's most extensive Aboriginal rock art galleries. This ranks alongside the Kimberley and Arnhemland escarpment as Australia's most important rock art regions. UNESCO rates the Quinkan region as one of the top ten rock art areas in the world.
Join a group of volunteer travellers on a Cape York Turtle Rescue camp in the Aboriginal community of Mapoon on Cape York Peninsula Queensland Australia. Help indigenous residents and researchers to protect the turtles and other marine life from ghost nets and other predators.
In Cairns, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has become the most awarded Aboriginal cultural attraction in Australia and is credited with enhancing reconciliation locally, nationally and internationally. Situated on 25 acres of land owned by the Tjapukai people at Caravonica, north of Cairns, thel Park is a stunning theatrical interpretation of Aboriginal culture from the beginning of time and into the future.
Celebrations and Festivals
The spirit of Queensland’s Indigenous cultures comes alive through the celebrations and festivals of its people. Special events such as the National Aboriginal and Islander Week, the Laura Aboriginal Dance and Cultural Festival and the Torres Strait Cultural Festival aim to promote awareness, maintain traditional values and celebrate Indigenous culture.
Modern Masters of Ancient Crafts
Queensland has many Art Galleries and stores supplying a wide range of locally made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works of art and souvenirs. Most of the products are hand made by local communities - guaranteeing that traditional crafts are kept alive and handed down, and that you are purchasing an authentic piece of Queensland’s Indigenous work. The Galleries are full of an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary Indigenous artworks - created using a variety of mediums.
The Torres Strait
The Torres Straits have a colourful history stretching back to the 1600’s. In the 19th century the area was infamous for its fierce inhabitants and the rich pearl beds hidden deep beneath its dangerous waters.
Today the Torres Straits is a much more peaceful place, crayfishing is now the main primary industry along with other smaller fisheries. The Torres Straits are made up of over 100 islands, the most populated island and centre of trading and business in the Straits is Thursday Island. With 3,500 residents the culture is an interesting mix of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Malay, South Sea Islander, Papuan, Aboriginal and European peoples.
Thursday Island has all the facilities of a well established community transport networks, banks, satellite television, radio services, general stores, restaurants, churches, etc. It has a variety of travellers accommodations and tours. Some of the points of interest on the island are: the Cathedral of All Souls, Green Hill Fort and the Torres Strait Museum, Rosies Shop and Mona’s Bazaar, the cultured pearl operations and the crayfishing industry.
An unexpected but immersive indigenous experience exists on Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast with Balunjali Interpretative Cultural Kayak Tours. Balunjali will take you on a journey by kayak to untouched islands so close to the city, but a million miles away! Explore the Gold Coast’s unique coastal eco system, snorkel with sub-tropical fish straight off the sandy beach, encounter local wildlife - dolphins, stingray, reptiles, golden swamp wallabies and native birds as your guide paints a picture of the aboriginal people, land and wildlife as it has been in this area for thousands of years.
Riverlife Mirrabooka offers a rare opportunity to share in rich Aboriginal culture presented by the local Yuggera Aboriginal dancers in the natural bushland of Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. Develop an awareness of the diverse aspects of contemporary Aboriginal culture by witnessing and participating in traditional song and dance passed down over many generations, plus fire starting techniques and the playing of Aboriginal musical instruments.
For the ultimate guide to Indigenous experiences download our dedicated brochure.