5 magical must-do Indigenous tours around Cairns
There’s something magical – perhaps even reverential – about arriving in Tropical North Queensland. Maybe it’s because it’s home to the world’s oldest rainforest with towering trees and curious animals quietly scurrying beneath the heavy canopy. Or perhaps it’s because the local Indigenous people have lived on the land continuously for 40,000 years and help you see life in a different way. Whatever it is, the region is so much more than a colourful reef and a feel-good tropical escape.
“Every creek and every river has a story name and an Aboriginal name. Every rock has a name” – Sonja Jeffrey, Ingan Tours.
Amazing Mungalla Aboriginal Tour
Departing from the grand Mungalla Station Homestead, you’ll board a bus and be taken to original site where the first European settlers advocated for Aboriginal people and allowed them to remain on their lands. This amazing tour uncovers over 45,000 years of Nywaigi Aboriginal culture and heritage, including the unbelievable story of Aboriginal peoples’ Captive Lives displayed at the exhibition. The Aboriginal guided tour includes traditional gathering, hunting techniques and a kup-murri (ground oven) dinner experience.
Pamagirri Experience at Rainforestation Nature Park
For those shorter on time, but still wanting to dive into Australia’s history, Rainforestation Nature Park is the right experience for you. Located in the World Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforest at the top of Kuranda Range, the nature park offers a delightful insight into the Pamagirri’s culture and community. Watch a one-hour tribal dance show in a natural rainforest setting before taking a guided Dreamtime walk modelled on the Rainbow Serpent. Try throwing a boomerang and a spear before making music with the didgeridoo!
Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks
The Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk tour focuses on Mossman Gorge, a world-heritage listed Eden that’s hailed for its sparkling streams, cascading waterfalls, stunning rainforests and a dramatic gorge. Here, the magic and the mystery of a World-Heritage listed forest comes to life with a personal local guide who stops frequently to identify bush foods and show unusual uses for native plants. During the tour, you will hear traditional stories, witness a smoking ceremony and come that little bit closer to understanding the sacred land.
Walkabout Cultural Adventures
Walkabout Cultural Adventures offers full- and half-day tours that visit culturally significant sights between Port Douglas and Bloomfield. Spend time with the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people and learn about their history, and relationship with nature and its healing powers. You’ll see natural wonders including waterfalls, river systems and coastal habitats. Your guide will teach you about the different food resources and medicines that you can make from nature and the rainforest. After a big day of walking, take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Daintree river.
Halfway between Cairns and Townsville lies the Davidson Valley, home to Jabanbarra Jirrbal people and Ingan Tours. Here tours through the heavy growth rainforest lead to the crystal clear Echo Creek where a local guide recounts how Yunba the Black Water Python healed his sick and wounded ancestors. Alternately, the Ingan River Walk takes you through knee high water and shows the art of basket weaving. If you are visiting nearby Mission Beach or Paronella Park, then this is the tour for you.