Indigenous Culture

Queensland is the only place in the world where both of Australia’s Indigenous cultures converge and flourish. Torres Strait and Aboriginal cultures date back over 40,000 years and many descendants still practice their traditions and customs today.

Whether it’s through dance, art or traditional feasts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people proudly practice and preserve their cultures by sharing it with the next generation.

Immerse yourself in rich culture and history by experiencing Indigenous culture on your next Queensland holiday.

Aboriginal art

From rock paintings to contemporary lino prints and fashion, there are many ways to experiences Torres Strait and Aboriginal art in Queensland.

See contemporary Indigenous pieces at museums like QAGOMA in Brisbane or the Cairns Regional Art Gallery in Tropical North Queensland. Head to Birdsville, Betoota and Bedourie to see the Sand, Dirt and Gibbers artwork sprawled across hills and landscapes. Or, visit independent galleries like the Canopy Arts Centre or the Henderson Gallery to meet the artists and learn about their work.

Head outdoors and explore Carnarvon Gorge or the Quinkan Country in Laura to see authentic rock paintings drawn by Indigenous Aboriginal ancestors.

You can also get hands on and learn to paint, weave and dance with interactive tours and workshops.

Start exploring

Plan your holiday

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Jarjum Stories

South Brisbane, Brisbane Area
Free Entry
16 – 20 January 2020
Jarjum Stories is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s books and storytelling. Jarjum [pronounced jah-jum] means children. Revisit childhood favourites – The Rainbow Serpent, Stradbroke Dreamtime and The Legends of Moonie Jarl – and some of the earliest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s books published in Queensland.

Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages

South Brisbane, Brisbane Area
Free Entry
17 – 20 January 2020
Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages is a free thought-provoking exhibition about the survival and revival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Over 125 Queensland languages were once spoken, now around 50 of these remain spoken daily.

Indigenous Stock Workers Display

Normanton, Carpentaria Area
Free Entry
17 – 20 January 2020
An informative and interactive display in recognition of the resilience, spirit and sheer hard work of the indigenous men and women who played a vital role in the establishment of the cattle industry in the Gulf Region.

Didgeridoo Jam Brisbane

Augustine Heights, Ipswich Area
Free Entry
Monthly from 1 February 2020
Every first Saturday night of the month from 7pm to 10pm they have their free Didgeridoo Jam at Didgeridoo Festivals HQ in Bellbird Park in Queensland. The jam is outdoors on their bush stage. Come in and have a jam or bring a blanket and relax, kick back and listen to a mix of instruments combined with the Didgeridoo.

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival

Laura, Cook Area
From AU$150 - 190
3 – 5 July 2020
Laura is the central meeting place for people from the Cape. As well as being home to Australia’s most significant collection of rock art, it hosts another internationally recognised celebration of Aboriginal culture, the Laura Dance Festival.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
10 – 11 July 2020
CIAF showcases the diverse cultures and artistic wealth of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples through an impressive program of art, dance, music, fashion, talks and workshops. CIAF has gone from strength to strength since the inaugural fair in 2009, attracting significant attention from both international and national collectors, curators, media and the general public.

Yarrabah Music and Cultural Festival

Yarrabah, Yarrabah Area
Free Entry
10 October 2020
Australia’s most idyllic coastal music festival, Yarrabah Music and Cultural Festival returns October 3 2020, featuring music, food stalls, local art and children’s activities. In recent years Yarrabah Music and Cultural Festival has featured beloved Australian artists Yothu Yindi, Paul Kelly, Troy Cassar-Daley, Archie Roach, James Morrison, Vika & Linda Bull, Kira Puru, Mau Power, Baker Boy and Thandi Phoenix.
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Indigenous tours

Go walkabout or learn to hunt with an Indigenous guide. An Indigenous tour will allow you to see things from the perspective of Queensland’s First People. Take a cultural tour of Brisbane to see significant artefacts and sites or walk through the Nudgee Waterholes and learn how live off the land.

Hunt for mud crabs and collect shellfish in Tropical North Queensland or learn the Dreamtime stories of Burleigh Heads National Park in Southern Gold Coast.

Cultural events & performances

Head to the Winds of Zenadth festival on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait to watch traditional dancing, singing and celebrations or trek to Laura to experience the earth-shaking performances at the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival.

Looking for something a little more contemporary? Head to Yarabah, just a 50-minute drive south of Cairns and immerse yourself in music at the Yarabah Band Festival.

Or, get the best of both Indigenous cultures at the Cairns International Art Fair and see fashion shows, interactive skits and traditional song and dance performances.

From the Blog

Traditional bush tucker experiences

Tate a traditional kup murri (earth oven) cooked feast an hour from Townsville or learn to hunt and gather your own dinner in the Torres Strait, near Cairns and in Brisbane. From berries and jams to flour and meat, you can taste a variety of bush tucker cuisines and superfoods.

Prefer to fine dining? Head to the Daintree Rainforest and enjoy flame-lit dining and cultural entertainment while you nosh on traditionally inspired dishes. Or, go all out and treat yourself to a gourmet night out at an award-winning restaurant in Cairns.

Family-friendly Indigenous experiences

Experience the Corroboree at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast or treat your kids to boomerang throwing and art workshops at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns.

Let the kids explore the beach and learn about traditional hunting and gathering practices with a personal Kuku Yalanji guide or hear the stories about Dreaming Mountain with a Jellurgal tour on the Gold Coast.

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