Australia’s rich and ancient Aboriginal culture dates back more than 40,000 years and is a crucial part of the country’s history. Tjapukai Cultural Park, located in Cairns, Queensland, is the ultimate place to experience and celebrate the authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Tjapukai was founded in 1987 as a means to share the culture and traditions of the local Indigenous people. More than two-thirds of the people who work at Tjapukai are Indigenous. Since its inception, thousands of visitors have been entertained and educated about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through interactive performances, food, and native arts.
By visiting Tjapukai, you’ll not only discover the history of the very first people to inhabit Australia, but you’ll also get to try out some Indigenous tools too and gain insights into hunting and gathering.
What to expect at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Tjapukai by Day
If you visit Tjapukai during the daytime, you’ll be able to witness the ancient “Dreamtime” story, where live performers and astounding visual effects demonstrate the Aboriginal’s belief of how the world was created.
You’ll also learn about the “Stolen Generation” and discover different Aboriginal clans as well as see a variety of art styles. Several of the experiences are interactive, including the fire-making ceremony and corroboree celebration with the world famous Tjapukai Aboriginal dancers.
Additionally, an Aboriginal guide will teach you about bush foods and plants with medicinal properties as well as how to throw a spear and a boomerang! Plus, you’ll get the chance to play the didgeridoo, Australia’s oldest instrument.
Night Fire by Tjapukai
At night, you can experience Night Fire, where you’ll meet the Indigenous rainforest people (the Bama) and have your face painted in true Aboriginal fashion. You’ll learn traditional language songs and witness the ceremonial fire being lit, complete with a spectacular fireball!
The Night Fire experience includes canapes upon arrival and a buffet dinner where you’ll sample a range of Australian meats, seafood, delicious salads, and desserts. Afterward, there will be time to relax with the Tjapukai warriors around the fire.
Things you should know before visiting Tjapukai
For the Tjapukai by Day experience, there are several different packages to book. There’s a general admission option where you can see the performances, but you can also add on various activities such as Cultural Creations and the Guided Bush Food Trail.
You can upgrade the standard Night Fire by Tjapukai package to get drinks included with your dinner. Another option offered includes transfers from Cairns and Northern Beaches.
Tjapukai is geared up for wheelchair users, with entrance ramps, ambulant toilets, and concrete walkways.
What to wear when you visit
By day, it’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes, casual clothes, a hat, mosquito repellent, and suncream. At night time, casual evening wear is recommended. Tjapukai is an all-weather venue, so even if it’s raining, the activities won’t be affected.
A taste of Aboriginal culture
If you’re interested in Aboriginal culture, Tjapukai could add an informative and educational dimension to your trip. As well as getting a good glimpse into the lives of Australia’s first inhabitants, you’ll find yourself much entertained by the interactive presentations and performances on offer.