Aboriginal cultural experiences: Queensland
You can't go past the Sunshine State for diverse, dynamic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences.
- March 2022
Whether you’re visiting Meanjin (Brisbane), the Gold Coast or heading further north, you'll have plenty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences to choose from in Queensland. Join an island tour or coastal hike, watch time-honoured ceremonies and admire captivating art: the possibilities are almost endless. Here are some of our top picks.
Gold Coast experiences
Jellurgal Cultural Centre
Owned and operated by the local First Nations community, Jellurgal Cultural Centre offers wonderful walking tours around Burleigh Head, otherwise known as Jellurgal (the Dreaming Mountain). Guided by a Traditional Custodian, you’ll hear Dreamtime stories about the creation of this gorgeous area and learn about bush tucker and traditional ecological practices. They even offer special kids’ tours.
Spirits of the Red Sand
Participate in ancient Indigenous culture amid the historic surrounds of a pre-European village with Spirits of the Red Sand. As well as experiencing a cleansing smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country, you’ll be introduced to didgeridoo-playing, boomerang-painting and spear-throwing. You’ll also get to sample bush tucker and learn about traditional life, while connecting with local Yugambeh and Kombomerri people.
Located in the heart of the CBD, the award-winning Birrunga Gallery is a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary First Nations art. With six resident artists (including gallery founder, Birrunga Wiradyuri) regular exhibitions and no entry fee, there’s always something to check out. Be sure to visit the excellent gift shop and refuel at the onsite café serving modern Australian cuisine with a tasty ‘Native twist’.
Goompi Trail, Stradbroke Island
Join Quandamooka man Matthew Burns at Goompi (Dunwich) on Stradbroke Island for this absorbing cultural experience. You’ll learn about the area’s history before (and after) European settlement, as well as bush medicine, bush tucker and timeless practices such as spear throwing. Explore the foreshore (where you’ll see an ancient midden), and soak up those stunning Moreton Bay views…
Turtle Discovery Ecotour
Enjoy the underwater panorama from your glass-bottomed boat on this relaxing excursion through the glorious Great Sandy Marine Park. Your local Butchulla guide will point out significant landmarks and share their Aboriginal names; you’ll also get the chance to snorkel and swim (weather permitting). Expect to see plenty of aquatic critters, too: from turtles and fish to dolphins, sea birds and dugongs.
The Tropical North
Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, Cairns
Culture dating back millennia endures in the Tropical North, and at the Rainforestation Nature Park, you can experience it up close. First, enjoy a dance performance depicting traditional life in the region in the Rainforest Amphitheatre. Afterwards, join a Traditional Custodian on a rainforest walk and discover Dreamtime stories, beliefs and customs that continue to resonate today. Spellbinding.
Jezzine Barracks Public Art, Townsville
Perched on the poetically named Kissing Point headland, Townsville’s Jezzine Barracks is significant for both its military and First Nations history. More than 30 public artworks by local Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists are dotted around this heritage precinct, commemorating its multi-faceted past, and are well worth exploring. Plus, they just happen to come with a sublime Coral Sea vista!