You’ll wander through the ‘History and Heroes’ exhibition, a homage to Indigenous heroes past and present. You’ll learn about the intricacies of playing the didgeridoo. You’ll witness hunting demonstrations and learn about tribal law. And you’ll even have a chance to throw a returning boomerang.
You also have the option of enhancing your experience with additional activities. Join an aboriginal guide on a walk through the parklands to learn about bushfoods and their medicinal qualities. Or join the Cultural Creations session, where Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders teach you traditional weaving methods handed down from their grandmothers and aunties. You’ll paint a boomerang and create rainforest jewellery.
While you are more than welcome to explore the facilities and the shows at your own leisure it is highly recommended you join one of the guided tours.
Conveniently located, only a 15-minute drive from Cairns, Kuranda and Palm Cove.
If you choose to drive there is plenty of car parking or there is a shuttle transfer service available in the morning, afternoon and evening from your Cairns and Northern Beaches accommodation at an additional cost.
For Cairns Aboriginal Cultural Centre by Day, pick-ups are between 8.00am – 9.00am. Return transfer times for Cairns are 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm, 4.50pm. Return transfers for the northern beaches are at 3.45pm and 5.20pm.
Before embarking on your experience you have a few options.
You can either explore the Centre’s displays and performances on your own, or you can explore it as part of a guided tour, of which there are several throughout the day.
The times of departure from the reception area for the guided tours are 9:15, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00. Allow three hours for these guided tours.
The other option to consider is whether you’d like to add an additional activity to this tour, to enhance your experience. The choices include the Cultural Creations activity, or the Guided Bush Food Trail activity. More information is provided on these options below.
Your introduction to this ancient civilisation will begin at the Bulurru Storywaters Theatre. You’ll be mesmerised by advanced visual effects and live performances as the story of how the creation of the world, also known as the Dream Time, is explained.
Prepare to be transported back 40,000 years as you delve into the history and origins of the world’s oldest living culture.
Next is the ‘History and Heroes’ exhibition. A series of photographic artwork and short films, it’s a homage to Aboriginal heroes past and present. You’ll learn about the devastating impact of the stolen generation. But on an uplifting note you’ll also hear about the success stories of some of Australia’s well-known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
You’ll then gain an insight into the differences between the Aboriginal clans through their unique artistic depictions before witnessing the Tjapukai Aboriginal dancers performing a corroboree celebration. A corroboree is a visual representation, created through dramatic dancing, mime and song, of the clan’s history.
The Sager Thei-Um (which means sea breeze spirit) dancers, a troupe of performers of Torres Strait Islander background, are next up. Highlighting the diversity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures they will don the traditional Dhari headdress as they share their culture’s unique seafaring history to rhythmic drumming.
Past visitors have noted the passion with which these world-renowned performers act out their ancestry.
Always thought a returning boomerang was a myth? You’ll find out first-hand it’s a reality as you’re shown the complex techniques involved. Originally a hunting implement, the boomerang is a distinctly Australian emblem. You’ll learn about other hunting tools as well as survival techniques, tribal law, and the strict ‘code of conduct’ of this ancient society.
You’ll also discover the medicinal qualities of bush tucker and learn about the traditional gathering and cooking of bush foods.
Of course, an exploration of Aboriginal culture wouldn’t be complete without the haunting sound of the didgeridoo. The resonance of this oversized wind instrument could easily be regarded as the sound of Australia.
You’ll learn how a didgeridoo is made, as well as the basic principles and techniques involved in playing it and the important of this instrument to the Aboriginal culture.
To make the most out of your experience, join the Cultural Creations Tour. You’ll learn from talented artists the intricate art of weaving, how to paint a boomerang and how to create your own rainforest-style jewellery; all of which you can take home. You’ll need to allow one hour for this activity.
You could also join the Indigenous Guided Bush Food Trail where a knowledgeable guide will take you on a one-hour journey through the parklands . You’ll learn about the importance of native plants, both for culinary and medicinal purposes, and you’ll finish with a taste of native fruit jams with damper and billy tea.
Both are available at an additional cost.
January - December
Allow 3 hours for a guided tour of the centre
Allow and extra hour for each additional activity
Entry into Tjapukai is up a ramp located to the left of the stairs
Entry to the Park Complex is through the Magic Space and is level and very accessible
Accessible toilets are located within the complex outside the Magic Space
Hostesses are also available both day and night to assist with any needs.
Bus or Taxi: There is a large drop off zone infront of the building with ramp access with an easy gradient
You must arrange your own local transport in advance.
All cancellations must be in writing. Please note that all cancellations will incur an administration fee. Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.