In tropical north Queensland, experience Aboriginal life and culture in Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, where different strands of indigenous life are exhibited, performed, and learned.
There are seven separate arenas in Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, each exhibiting a facet of the Queensland rainforest people's culture from the time of the Dreaming, through Aboriginal history, to today's processes of reconciliation where knowing is a basic first step to understanding.
Where is it?
The 25-acre Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is located along the Captain Cook Highway at Caravonica, near Smithfied, north of Cairns, less than half an hour's leisurely drive from the city centre.
Shuttle bus services are available from, and return to, your place of lodging in Cairns.
There are performances at the History, Creation and Dance Theatres. The Creation Theatre is performed in the Tjapukai language and translated into eight languages through personal headsets.
At the interactive Camp Village, visitors learn how to play the didgeridoo and throw the boomerang and native spear.
Aboriginal bush tucker is available.
Tjapukai by Night
In the new show Tjapukai by Night, Gadja and Quinkan spirits introduce the Dreamtime where guests take part in an ancient corroboree ritual ending in the ceremonial making of a fire.
Guests are then escorted along a flame-lit pathway to a dinner banquet with some of the Cairns region's best food and wines.
There is a final performance of indigenous culture before show's end.
Transfers from your Cairns accommodation leave at 6.40pm with more than sufficient time to catch the start of the show at 7.30pm.
Who own the park?
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cltural Park is owned by the Tjapukai speaking communities and several others in partnership with them. Indigenous shareholders own just over 50 per cent of the company.
The land at Caravonica is owned by the indigenous Djabugay (Tjapukai) and Irukanydji people. The Djabugay spelling is the one adopted by the Djabugay Aboriginal Coporation while Tjapukai is used for the company and as a brand name.
The Tjapukai language, close to extinction 10 years ago, is now in use throughout the park and is the language of the Creation Theatre.
For more information visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park website.