Tjapukai Cultural Village
Experience hands on, Aboriginal music, dance, art, crafts, weapons and more.
Dance Theatre BOOK NOW
Tjapukai dancers invite you to join their Corroboree.
Join the world famous Tjapukai Aboriginal dancers in a corroboree celebration sharing stories of the hunt through the dances of the kangaroo, brolga and cassowary. Learn the Djabugay language through interactive song and dance and finish with a fire making ceremony.
Created in consultation with the Djabugay people, this is the original Tjapukai performance which opened in Kuranda in 1987. It is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest running stage show.
The original show was just about the men of Djabugay, with women and their role in the tribe introduced in 1994. More than 3 million people around the world have learnt to “shake a leg” and how to make a fire without matchsticks by joining this performance.
Aboriginal Bush Foods & Medicine BOOK NOW
Learn how Aboriginal people use bush plants for medicine and food.
Join the Tjapukai women for an insight into the ancient medicinal and culinary uses of native plants, fruits and seeds, which the Aboriginal people gathered. Learn how toxins are leached from poisonous rainforest plants and interesting facts like how flowers speak to you, telling you when the seasons will change and when it’s time to move hunting grounds.
The black bean and yellow walnut seeds must be roasted first before they are grated and then left in a dilly bag in running water. Each day the ladies check to make sure the poison is draining out. Then they grind it down to fine powder so they can make dough for bread.
There is no need to treat the fruit of the fig trees before you eat them. However, if you eat too many they may give you a belly ache. Once again the rainforest can be of assistance with the fruit of the brown apple tree reversing the effects of the fig.
Didgeridoo Show BOOK NOW
See a didgeridoo performance and discover its unique history.
The haunting sounds of the didgeridoo are central to Australian Indigenous culture. Discover how this woodwind instrument is traditionally made and the many techniques used to create its unique storytelling sound.
A didgeridoo player will bring the sounds of Australian native animals to life through the traditional instrument. He will show you how to blow softly and recycle your breath to get the sound right.
Hear how the Aboriginal people look for trees hollowed out by white ants to make their didgeridoos and use bees wax for the mouthpiece. If the white ants haven’t done their job properly hot coals are pushed into the tree to complete the process.
Hunting & Weapons BOOK NOW
Join the Tjapukai warriors to learn about hunting and weapons.
Enter the world of men’s lore which carries the responsibility of strict clan discipline and tribal warfare. Learn about the traditional tools used for hunting including the unique uses for a variety of different shaped boomerangs.
When you visit Tjapukai you’ll be able to touch and feel these real hunting tools; and weapons, and watch a demonstration guided by Aboriginal people on how these tools were used to gather food and defend their tribe from warfare.
The cross boomerang and the return boomerangs were used for hunting flocks of birds, the club boomerang was used to deliver the final blow to a large animal such as a kangaroo. The wagay or sword was useful for clearing grass or in tribal warfare, and the shield is unique to this region.
Spears are made from long saplings which can be bent over a flame to straighten it. They can be short or long with the rainforest people using shorter spears so they would not get entangled in the forest. Fishing spears have four or five prongs which are held in place with resin from trees and tied with sinew from a kangaroo or with bush string.
Spear & Boomerang Throwing BOOK NOW
The Tjapukai warriors will teach you how throw a boomerang and a spear.
Learn the techniques of traditional hunting under the guidance of a Tjapukai warrior.
The Djabugay people call the spear 'galga' and the spear thrower 'milay'. The Milay is used as an extension of your arm to give you more control when throwing the spear. It can help throw the spear almost 150 metres making it easier to hunt animals.The men will show you how to throw a spear at a target, practice on the throwing fields.
Aboriginal people also used a number of different boomerangs for hunting and warfare, but only the return boomerang will come back to you. Learn the correct way to throw a boomerang to make sure it returns.
Guided Bush Foods Walk BOOK NOW
Discover bush foods on a walk with an Aboriginal guide.
Join an Aboriginal guide, walking through the Tjapukai parklands to learn about bush foods and the traditional uses of native plants. End your journey with billy tea, damper and native fruit jams as you relax by the lake with your guide.
You will see trees like the Burdekin plum which is delicious when it is ripe. If you can’t wait for it to ripen then bury it underground to speed up the process. The cocky apple tree is useful for fishing as its bark can be put in a creek for 10 minutes to absorb the oxygen, when the fish surfaces, it makes them easier to catch. Plants such as the sandpaper fig tree have multiple uses. As its name suggests, it is useful for sanding wooden artifacts such as boomerangs and spears. Its leaves and sap were used by the Aboriginal people as a treatment for ringworm and sunspots. Other types of figs are useful to make string, ropes and weapons and their fruit is a tasty treat.