Tjapukai Cultural Centre
Discover where Australia Begins at Tjapukai
Bulurru Storywaters Theatre BOOK NOW
Special effects and live performers immerse you in a Dreamtime story.
The mesmerising Creation Story of the Djabugay people unfolds around you in the 360° Bulurru Story Waters Theatre as live performers and innovative special effects transport you into an ancient Dreamtime world where animals and the seasons governed the lives of the land’s Traditional Owners.
Here life springs from bundarra dingal, the cassowary egg, into a world marked by the wet and the dry seasons. These opposing seasons are represented by two brothers - Guyala from the dry side and Damarri from the wet side.
Can they exist together or will their differences tear them apart? Journey with them as they battle to influence the landscape of their people and create the lores and moieties of the Djabugay people.
Bundarra Dingal (Cassowrry Egg) Theatre BOOK NOW
See how art is used to express Australia’s diverse Indigenous culture.
Discover the diversity of Indigenous culture throughout Australia and how it is expressed through the medium of art.
Learn about the Dreamtime stories of the Djabugay people depicted on Heart of My People, a wall-size painting, which was once the stage curtain for the Tjapukai Theatre when it was situated in Kuranda. The circular design in the centre of the painting depicts Kuranda, which to the Djabugay people was the traditional meeting place for clans to come together for a corroboree.
A common link among most tribes throughout Australia is the traditional colours of ochre red, ochre yellow, white and black used in painting. Red and yellow can be found from the ground and rocks, white comes from clay and black from charcoal.
History and Heros Journey BOOK NOW
Discover Australia’s Indigenous heroes and watch historic films.
A collection of short films and a photographic exhibition explore the diverse history of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the shattering impact of the Stolen Generation to our inspiring Indigenous heroes, both past and present.
Be uplifted by the stories of Australia’s best known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - the athletes, politicians, activists, business people, leaders and creative people who have inspired us for many generations.
Among the films are historical images of the Djabugay people who were forced from their nomadic life as the people of the tropical rainforest to a mission near Kuranda. At the Seventh-day Adventist Mona Mona Mission, they built a new life for themselves only to have it stripped away again when the mission closed.
Aboriginal Bayngga Oven
Taste traditionally cooked food unearthed from the underground oven.
A Bayngaa is an underground oven used to cook food for ceremonial purposes including weddings, burials and celebrations. A large pit is dug, then a fire is made from hardwood and allowed to die down to hot coals. The pit is lined with Tea Tree Bark (Gidi). Native Ginger and Lemon Myrtle are added for flavour, then white hot volcanic stones are placed on top using Lawyer Cane (Bugul) tongs.
Meat (Minya) is wrapped in Ginger (Munyin) or Banana leaves and carefully placed amongst the hot stones, edible Yams (Wulmbi) are layered next and finally Fish and Eggs (Dingal), with more hot stones laid on top.
The Bayngga is covered with a layer of earth and left to cook. Food is eaten with the fingers, from plates made from Candlenut (Ngabala) leaves.
Enjoy an exhibition of authentic Indigenous art.
Reflecting the beautiful World Heritage rainforest of Tropical North Queensland, the Canopy Breezeway is an airy and light-filled Aboriginal Art Centre and event space, hosting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art exhibitions and showcasing significant Indigenous artifacts.
The 2 metre single-grass dilly bag was created by Djabugay elder Rhonda Brimm and professional weaver Rene Bahloo. Dilly bags were used by the women to carry food and other objects and this giant one is an educational piece for the bush food guided tours.
A series of shields hang on the wall depicting the designs common to the Djabugay people. These were painted by Tjapukai performers including Richard Bing and Phillip Oui, an acclaimed artist. Another of his shield designs is showcased on the bus stop outside Tjapukai.
Restaurant & Events
Fresh local dishes featuring Indigenous flavours are sered at the Flame Tree Bar & Grill
Overlooking Tjapukai's lake and native gardens, the Flame Tree Bar & Grill serves barista coffee and an all-day café menu including Tjapukai's famous tasting plate featuring native bush food.
A hot buffet is available for lunch and dinner including Australian local seafood and an array of salads and desserts with tantalising Indigenous flavours. At night the chef also whips up fresh dishes from an open flame grill.
At Tjapukai’s Cultural Village you can see and touch traditional weapons and utensils.
Try Aboriginal hunting methods with a spear and boomerang, discover the ancient medicinal and food uses of bush plants and learn about the didgeridoo. The world famous Tjapukai Aboriginal dancers will invite you to shake a leg in their corroboree and teach you Djabugay language with a song before demonstrating a fire-making ceremony.