Cultural Cairns: Seven accessible Indigenous experiences for your family
Give your family an unforgettable cultural experience as you explore, discover and connect with the Traditional Owners of both land and sea Country in Tropical North Queensland.
The oldest living culture in the world can be experienced direct from the Cairns CBD with the opening of new Indigenous tours in Tropical North Queensland.
The only region with two distinct Indigenous cultures, the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander people, Tropical North Queensland is home to more than 20 tour options, 10 galleries, and several events showcasing diverse Indigenous culture and language groups.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said Australian travellers were becoming increasingly interested in learning about the ancient wisdom of Indigenous culture.
“Our region has authentic cultural experiences showcasing stories around rock art, bush tucker and medicine, art, star gazing, hot springs and gorges,” he said.
“Several of these tours, including a Great Barrier Reef experience, an island walk, and a day trip to the Torres Strait can be experienced from our city centre.”
With a plethora of accommodation available in Cairns, ranging from camping to 5-star hotels, there is an option for everyone.
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Indigenous tours for families in Tropical North Queensland
Wunyami Cultural Walking Tour
Launched at the end of April, the Wunyami Cultural Walking Tour offers a guided journey around Wunyami (Green Island), an ancient coral cay with an equally fascinating ancient cultural history. During this 1-hour tour led by Indigenous guides, guests will hear how the island is connected to the ancient journey of two ancestoral beings, learn about the cultural ceremonies of the GuruGulu Gungganji and Gimuy Yidinji people and discover the connectivity of this iconic island to the ancient seascape. To get to Green Island, Great Adventures offers two 45-minute boat departures daily from Cairns.
Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours
Take a journey across the Trinity Inlet and through the mangroves to a lesser known part of Cairns for an authentic experience with a timeless culture. Here, on Mandingalbay Yindinji land, be welcomed to country with a cleansing smoking ceremony followed by a guided walk with Indigenous Rangers discovering their bush supermarket and pharmacy. The 3-hour Guided Eco Cultural Tour explores ancient rainforest, coastal and estuarine landscapes and the animals that call these habitats home. For something different, large groups are able to participate in a Deadly Dinner or overnight stays.
Strait Experience – A Strait Day
Few people have the privilege of seeing the remote paradise of the Torres Strait Islands. Fraser Nai, Traditional Owner of Yorke (Masig) Island, and John Palmer joined forces to create an experience that allowed people to visit this special part of Australia in an attainable way. Recently launched in June, Strait Experience’s one-day tour, A Strait Day, allows you to explore two of the more populated islands, Thursday (Waiben) and Horn (Ngarupai), as well as enjoy a scenic flight along the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula, the tip of Cape York and the southern islands of the Torres Strait. The tour departs from Cairns Airport on Skytrans at 7:30am and returns at 6:15pm on the first Saturday of each month (April to September).
Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel
Add an unforgettable cultural spin to your Great Barrier Reef experience with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel, the only cultural reef experience in Tropical North Queensland. Boarding from Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal, you’ll enjoy five hours at sea, be welcomed to country by Indigenous Sea Rangers and hear the creation story of the Great Barrier Reef. Gain a deeper understanding of how generations of saltwater people have interacted with the reef while snorkelling with the colourful marine life of the world’s largest and most diverse reef.
Down Under Tours – Aboriginal Day Tours
The Daintree Dreaming program with Down Under Tours is an exclusive cultural journey from Cairns to the coast and rainforest of the Daintree experiencing nature and ancient culture with your choice of Aboriginal day tours. Each guest experiences the Mossman Gorge Dreamtime Walk, then chooses either a Janbal Gallery painting class or traditional fishing with Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours.
Pamagirri Rainforest Walkabout
The Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience is part of the immersive rainforest experience at Rainforestation Nature Park in Kuranda, just 30 minutes from Cairns City. Join a Pamagirri Rainforest Walkabout Aboriginal guide to discover the connection with the oldest surviving rainforest in the world including traditions from the spiritual transition into manhood, totems and body painting, before embarking on a guided walk to learn about survival in the rainforest, the plants, fruits and berries used as bush tucker and remedies, as well as traditional shelters and artefacts.
UMI Arts – Cairns Indigenous Art Centre
UMI Arts is a not-for-profit hub for regional First Nations artists offering a place for up-and-coming artists to showcase their work while nurturing talent and upskilling artists through a series of workshops. Visit the UMI Arts Cairns Indigenous Art Centre in Manoora between November and February for their upcoming Summer Show exhibition featuring new and experimental works inspired by the energy of the wet tropics.
For more information go to cairnsgreatbarrierreef.com