Before Captain Cook and the British exiles, Australia was settled by the Aboriginals. Similar to Native American culture in the United States and other native peoples around the world, Aboriginal culture is a deep rooted aspect of Australia’s history. As the first people of the continent, their language, customs and identity have survived thousands of years and modernizations.
Tourists and locals alike can garner a better understanding of Aboriginal culture by visitingTjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns, Queensland. By day, the park services as an educational hub on aboriginal life giving guests the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal creation beliefs known as Dreamtime, experience nature walks throughout the rainforest to better understand the complex ecosystem and the strong Aboriginal tie to nature and even throw a spear or boomerang. But, as the sun sets…the park really comes alive.
Brightly colored paint glows in the dark as it illuminates the silhouettes of tribe members as they participate in a ceremonial dance. The humming sound of the didgeridoo (aboriginal wind instrument) fills the room as the floor vibrates in unison. A deep voice tells the Aboriginal creation tales and elaborates on the traditions of the Djabugay Aboriginal Clan. A flash of luminescence simmers to a glow as tribe members tend to the survival fire. Here, guests are taught traditional aboriginal songs, like the one showcased in the link aforementioned and are able to try their hand at starting a fire. The awe is never lost as the exhilarating music, dancing and guest interaction by tribe members keeps the night going. Guests are invited to learn dances or even play the didgeridoo.
The night is tied together with a delicious buffet style dinner featuring a wide variety of dishes, included but not limited to coconut fish, vegetable medley rice, lasagna, chicken breasts and a fruit dessert platter.
Tjupakai guests are sent home with full bellies, a better understanding of Aboriginal culture and smiling painted faces. A must do for the culture junky while in Cairns!