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

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Undara Volcanic National Park

Mount Surprise, Etheridge Area
Free Entry
On the western slopes of the McBride Plateau, open woodlands give way to open savanna. Here in Undara Volcanic National Park, rich volcanic basalt soils covered in a sea of seasonal grasses, conceal the Undara lava tube.

Thursday Island

Thursday Island, Torres Area
Leave your watch behind when you go to Thursday Island as this colourful island paradise is where time really does seem to stand still. It is one of 274 islands which lie between the northern tip of Queensland and Papua New Guinea in the Torres Strait.

Kuranda

Kuranda,
Colourful, quirky Kuranda in the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics rainforest has daily markets and a quaint main street lined with shops and galleries as well as wildlife experiences perfect for close encounters.

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park

Lawn Hill, Burke Area
Free Entry
Boodjamulla is one of Queensland's most exceptional parks, boasting spectacular gorge scenery, diverse wildlife, exhilarating walking and canoeing, and fossils deposits dating back 25 million years. Here, Lawn Hill Gorge carves a serpentine ribbon of green through the dry savannah landscape, creating an oasis in the outback.

Currawinya National Park

Hungerford, Bulloo Area
Free Entry
In Currawinya National Park, waterbirds and migratory shorebirds are drawn in their thousands to globally important wetlands in the otherwise dry and dusty mulga lands of south-western Queensland. Red sandplains and mulga scrubs beside long, dusty roads give little hint to the lakes, rivers and wetlands that make Currawinya one of Australia’s most important inland waterbird habitats.

Minerva Hills National Park

Springsure, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
Spectacular jagged peaks provide a scenic backdrop to this Central Queensland national park. Formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, Mount Boorambool and cliff-fringed Mount Zamia dominate the landscape today.

St Helena Island National Park

St Helena Island, Brisbane Area
Free Entry
This picturesque island in Moreton Bay, St Helena Island National Park, has a turbulent history as the site of Queensland's first penal settlement, which operated here from 1867 until 1932. Take a guided tour, part of the innovative Go Back in Time program, to explore the ruins and hear the stories where they happened (fees apply).

Duaringa

Duaringa, Central Highlands Area
Duaringa is located 107 kilometres west of Rockhampton along the Capricorn Highway. It is a tiny settlement of less than 500 people which came into existence as a base camp for railway workers. Duaringa is one of the oldest townships in the region, with buildings dating back to the 1860s.

Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
Black Mountain, an imposing mountain range of massive granite boulders, is home to unique wildlife and rich in Aboriginal culture. The brooding Black Mountain resembles a pile of huge black granite boulders, some the size of houses, stacked seemingly precariously upon one another.

Aurukun

Aurukun, Aurukun Area
The Shire of Aurukun includes much of the traditional country of the Wik, Wik Way and Kugu people. It has rare and beautiful environmental values. They, as the traditional owners, are very proud of their country.
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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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