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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Evolution: Torres Strait Masks

Townsville City, Townsville Area
From AU$4.40 - 38
24 March – 2 September 2018
The Evolution: Torres Strait Masks exhibition takes visitors on a journey from time immemorial when masks were used in ceremonial rituals involving art, theatre and dance and shows how these historic artefacts have inspired new works that are constantly developing and changing.

This Is My Heritage

East Toowoomba, Toowoomba Area
From AU$6.50 - 32
31 May – 31 December 2018
Discover the profound connection that objects have to family, country and culture through the personal memories and experiences of 12 of Queensland’s Indigenous artists and educators. Through images and film, the exhibition reveals the surprising connections and strong spiritual links that can be explored when people engage with the collections from the Queensland Museum.

Quandamooka Festival 2018

North Stradbroke Island, Redland City Area
1 June – 31 August 2018
Quandamooka Festival, held over three winter months, returns in 2018 to coastal region of East Brisbane with up to 55 events including whale watching cultural tours, Kunjiels (corroborees), Indigenous sports, music, eco boat tours, art exhibitions, fibre art and weaving workshops, bush tucker dining, arts and cultural talks by specialists and new events featuring international acts and First Nations dancers and performances - something to suit all ages!

UMI Arts Big Talk One Fire Indigenous Cultural Festival

Cairns North,
Free Entry
23 June 2018
UMI Arts' annual event is a free, community celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, primarily from the Far North Queensland region. Starting in the afternoon and going through until the evening, visitors can enjoy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancing, music, storytelling and performance by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the Far North Queensland region.

Northern Peninsula Area Culture Festival - Keep The Flame of Culture Burining

Bamaga, Northern Peninsula Area
Free Entry
2 – 7 July 2018
Come and a unique cultural experience by celebrating the indigenous cultures of Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. Be entertained by emerging artists, local and regional cultural groups and more importantly taste their traditional foods.

N.A.I.D.O.C. Lockyer Valley

Laidley, Lockyer Valley Area
Free Entry
5 July 2018
NAIDOC is the national week of celebrations for the successes and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This a free community event that showcases local Indigenous talent and businesses.

Bukal

Cairns Area
From AU$40.95 - 52
6 – 14 July 2018
From the heart of Cairns Yidinji people comes the inspiring story of a courageous woman who set out to change the world! From the humble shores of the Aboriginal mission of Yarrabah, home to the Yidinji people in North Queensland all the way to the World Stage – Bukal is the imagining of social justice warrior, traditional owner, elder, mother and Internationally recognised academic Henrietta Marrie’s extraordinary life realised on stage.

Twilight Experience at David Fleay Wildlife Park

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Area
From AU$25.00 - 99.00
Quarterly from 12 July 2018
Visit David Fleay Wildlife Park these holidays and experience one of the oldest living cultures in the world—that of the Yugambeh Aboriginal people. These holidays they’ll open after dark for you to enjoy a Jellurgal cultural experience and Park Ranger wildlife presentation.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
13 July 2018
From where ever you are, come and join Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and immerse yourself in a CIAF experience of your own. The CIAF 2017 cultural festivities welcomed more visitors than ever before, 50,000 people attended across all venues enjoying the diversity of Far North Queensland Indigenous culture and taking the chance to attend and buy the latest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art from across Queensland, at the CIAF Art Market and Art Fair.

Johnny Nicol: My Music, My Life, My Story

Ayr, Burdekin Area
From AU$15 - 35
19 July 2018
The inimitable singer/guitarist Johnny Nicol is known as a bit of a legend in the Australian jazz scene. Having been in the business now for over 50 years, he has worked with some of the greats both in Australia and overseas and has an unmistakable style that is all his own.
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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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