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Experience Aboriginal Culture in Cairns

November 19, 2013 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

While the first thing that generally comes to mind when picturing Cairns is white, sandy beaches, tropical weather, cocktails, rainforests or the Great Barrier Reef, this picturesque spot in Queensland also provides an opportunity for visitors to learn more about aboriginal culture.

On your next holiday to tropical North Queensland, you may like to consider tearing yourself away from the beach for at least a few hours so you can learn about the fascinating aboriginal history and way of life. From cultural habitat tours to an aboriginal cultural park or a unique dining experience, there are a variety of ways to add some education to your next holiday. Keep reading for five of the best experiences to try in and around the area as you search for a hotel in Cairns and make your holiday plans.6231843-indigenous-australian-art-also-known-as-aboriginal-art-is-art-made-by-indigenous-australians

Mossman Gorge

An indigenous eco-tourism development in the vicinity of Cairns, the Mossman Gorge Centre was created to help visitors better see and understand the Mossman Gorge World Heritage Site. If you want to get a genuine look at indigenous culture, then the centre is the perfect spot for aboriginal experiences in the tropical north. It’s open seven days a week and visitors can enjoy a Dreamtime Walk, listen to Dreamtime stories from the Kuku Yalanji people or peruse the art gallery that showcases the art and design of the local tribe, and leading indigenous artists from around Far North Queensland. After a busy day, travellers can also have a break at the on-site café. The Mayi Café and Restaurant has a specially designed menu that features mostly locally sourced produce infused with indigenous ingredients. If looking for a special souvenir to take away, visitors can head to the on-site gallery for gifts designed by indigenous artists.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

A tourist attraction set north of Cairns, the 25-acre Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park showcases the traditional culture of the indigenous people in Australia. The Park features an aboriginal camp, an art gallery, a museum, shop, multiple restaurants and five theatres. Children visiting Tjapukai will be entertained by the cultural dancing, interactive didgeridoo and hunting demonstrations, and through learning about the bush tucker eaten by the tribes. Tourists can also visit the park at night to see a new show that gives visitors the opportunity to participate in an ancient corroboree ritual.

Flames of the Forest

Travellers wishing to get some insight into the aboriginal culture and history while also enjoying a good meal are advised to dine at Flames of the Forest. Situated around 50 minutes from Cairns in a rainforest setting, this establishment provides guests with quality Australian food and wine, and the chance to witness an ancient culture in a spiritual setting. Each Tuesday and Thursday night Flames of the Forest organises for two local indigenous brothers to 16970402-mossman-gorge-daintree-national-park-australiashare some of their culture. In the candle-lit atmosphere, the brothers put on a performance that involves traditional story-telling and music, and they share about the spiritual nature of their culture.

Daintree Dreaming Day Tour

The full-day Daintree Dreaming Tour departs from Cairns four days per week and is run by aboriginal tour specialist Adventure North Australia. Daintree Dreaming features a two-hour coastal beach walk at Cooya Beach (north of Port Douglas) with Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours and a stop for morning tea that includes homemade damper. The day’s activities include a visit to Mossman Gorge where participants are given access to a rainforest-surrounded swimming hole that most tourists are not allowed to enter. The tour also includes a local aboriginal art experience at Janbal Gallery where guests meet an indigenous artist-in-residence.

Rainbow Serpent Aboriginal Rock Art and Cooktown Tour

The Rainbow Serpent Aboriginal Rock Art and Cooktown Tour is a full-day air tour that includes return flights from Cairns to Cooktown. Visitors will be driven to the outskirts of Hope Vale for an experience with Nugal-warra Elder Willie Gordon, the traditional story-teller of his clan. Gordon will take guests to see six of the Nugal aboriginal rock art sites set in the hills above Hope Vale — and will share the stories behind the art while there. Back in Cooktown, travellers will head to the Nature Power House Museum for lunch, and a tour of the facility’s artwork and wildlife collection before returning to Cairns.

About the Author: Brenda Wilkie is a freelance travel writer and photographer.

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