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Enrich your Queensland holiday with these First Nations experiences

written by Tiana Templeman May 26, 2021
Painting class at Janbal Gallery

Learn about cultural traditions past and present, including knowledge that has been passed down through the generations for thousands of years, when you connect with Queensland’s Traditional Owners during these First Nations experiences. From discovering why the Gubbi Gubbi people use two boomerangs instead of one for hunting to creating your own work of art at a painting class led by an acclaimed Aboriginal artist, the following experiences have been 50,000 years in the making.

Kuyu Kuyu – Kuku Yalanji First Nations Experience 

Foraging for food at Cooya Beach

Head to Kuyu Kuyu (Cooya Beach) for an educational experience with a member of the local Kuku Yalanji community. First Nations people still fish traditionally here, skillfully using a combination of spear throwing and handling. After a fishing lesson, follow your cultural guide along Cooya Beach, observing cultural medicine and food plants while they continue their daily spear fishing and gathering. After walking along the mudflats, you’ll see Kuku Yalanji artefacts and learn more about how Kuku Yalanji people live in harmony with the beautiful ever-shifting landscape which surrounds them.

Experience it on a Daintree Family Holiday  

Gubbi Gubbi Cultural Cruise  

Connect with the First Nations people of the area, the Gubbi Gubbi people, on a memorable two-hour cultural cruise which celebrates the Dreamtime legends, ancient traditions, beliefs and stories of the Sunshine Coast’s first eco-custodians, the Saltwater People. Along with finding out why Aboriginal hunters use two burragun (boomerang) rather than one when they hunt, your Indigenous guide will point out cultural sites, places for hunting and gatherings, and where the stories and songs of Dreamtime started as you sail along picturesque Mooloolaba canals.

Experience it on a Queensland Hinterland Adventure 

Ngaro First Nations Welcome to Country  

Whitsunday Islands

Discover how much more there is to the Whitsunday Islands, one of Queensland’s most famous tourist spots, as you learn about Ngaro history and culture which can be traced back thousands of years. Nara Inlet on Hook Island in the Whitsundays is the oldest Aboriginal site discovered in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and one of the oldest sites so far discovered on the East coast of Australia. During a Welcome to Country ceremony, you’ll learn more about the history of the Ngaro people and the sea, reefs and tidal mangrove systems of the Whitsunday Islands which make up their country.

Experience it on a Whitsundays Island Explorer 

Bunya Mountains First Nations Guided Walk  

Hear about the nutritional benefits of the bunya seed, rich in oils and carbohydrates, and the ‘Bunya Gatherings’, where Aboriginal groups came together to reap the bunya harvest. Some travelled from as far south as northern New South Wales at the invitation of the Aboriginal people of the Bunya Mountains and nearby Blackall Ranges. Bunya Gatherings were a time for ceremonies, renewing friendships, exchanging information, songs and stories, and resolving any problems between groups. The nuts could either eaten raw if they were fresh, or roasted and pounded into meal to make a ‘cake’ that could be stored for weeks. If you are lucky enough to try a fresh, creamy Bunya nut, you’ll understand why so many Aboriginal people travelled so far to eat them.

Experience it on a Queensland Hinterland Adventure 

Janbal Art Workshop  

Painting class at Janbal Gallery

Join an Aboriginal painting class with acclaimed Aboriginal artist, Brian ‘Binna’ Swindley, at Janbal Gallery where he shares East Coast Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime stories about the animals, environment and language of the Indigenous rainforest people from Mossman and the Daintree rainforest. Learn about Aboriginal ochre paints, Indigenous art history and painting techniques, as well as the traditional bush foods, construction materials and medicines which can be found in this part of Tropical North Queensland. You don’t need to be accomplished painter to create your own special work of art to take home as a souvenir of your time in this beautiful and culturally significant part of Queensland.

Experience it on a Brisbane to the Daintree Discovery 

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