Embrace the lessons of ancient tribal traditions right across far north Queensland.
Taste the flavours of the bush
From a delicate dusting of lemon myrtle across a freshly-cooked piece of fish to a serve of kangaroo fresh from the embers, Australia’s distinctive plants and animals have distinctive flavours all their own. Discover them for yourself at one of far north Queensland’s indigenous dining experiences. An hour out of Townsville, Mungalla Tours offers a nourishing campfire dinner cooked in a traditional underground oven while closer to Port Douglas, Flames of the Forest is Australia’s only rainforest dining experience, featuring cultural performances by the local Kuku Yalanji people.
See the Great Barrier Reef through indigenous eyes
It wasn’t just the land that indigenous tribes lived in harmony with. First Nations people who lived along the coast had equally strong ties to the ocean. A day out with Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel is more than a chance to explore the reef’s magnificent coral gardens and the creatures that make their homes there, from colourful angel fish and clown fish to clams, anemones and turtles. It is also a chance to learn the stories of the area’s traditional owners – the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji, Gunggandji, Mandingalbay and Yirrganydji people – and understand how for thousands of years they helped maintain this complex eco-system.
"A tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures explores how the Kuku Yulanji made the most of the habitats around them."
Feel the tribal rhythm in Laura
The rock art galleries outside the remote township of Laura aren’t just some of the most magnificent in the country; they have been named by UNESCO as among the 10 best rock art sites in the world. They are not the only reason to drive out to Laura, four hours north of Cairns, however. Every second year in July, Laura hosts Australia’s premier indigenous dance festival. Dance troupes from across Cape York and the Torres Strait come together for this three-day festival filled with singing, dancing and music. Bring your tent or campervan, or book a spot in the festival’s Tent City, for this joyous celebration of indigenous culture.
Discover the secrets of the Daintree
You have to hand it to the Kuku Yulanji people: they knew how to choose their territory. Stretching across the Daintree Rainforest to the reef, they could draw on a rich range of food sources, from mud crabs and shellfish to rainforest fruits, as well as plants with medicinal qualities. A tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures explores how the Kuku Yulanji made the most of the habitats around them, from the mangrove-fringed coast to the beauties of the Daintree including the spectacular Mossman Gorge.
"A day out with Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel is a chance to explore the reef’s magnificent coral gardens and to learn the stories of the area’s traditional owners."
Touch down in the Torres Strait
One of Australia’s least-visited areas, the islands of the Torres Strait are home to a unique indigenous culture. Strait Experience offers one- and three-day tours that take in some of the area’s most interesting destinations. Many of these beautiful islands also have a fascinating history including Ngurapai (Horn Island), a critical hotspot during World War II and the place where the only indigenous battalion in Australia’s history was formed. Another highlight is a visit to the cultural centre on Waibene (Thursday Island), where you can meet some of the area’s most celebrated artists.
Image credits: Tourism and Events Queensland