7 of the best kid-friendly Indigenous experiences
There are few words that can strike fear into the heart of a parent more than the dreaded phrase: “I’m booooored!” Those two anxiety-inducing little words are the last thing you want to hear at the best of times, let alone when you’re on holiday and in close proximity to the little terrors darlings for an extended period of time.
If you need help planning kid-tastic activities that will have them dropping into bed happy and exhausted, we’ve put together the following life-saving shortlist.
1. Discover the Dreamtime at Dreamworld
No Gold Coast family holiday is complete without the obligatory theme park trip, but before hitting the rollercoasters, get hands-on with an interactive history lesson in Aboriginal Culture at the Dreamworld Corroboree attraction.
Magical storytelling and cuddly wildlife encounters will have pre-schoolers hooked, while big kids will want front row seats for the weapon and fire-making demos.
2. Hit the Southern Gold Coast
Burn off some energy on a storytelling walk around Dreaming Mountain at Burleigh Head National Park, run every weekday by the friendly folk at Jellurgal Cultural Centre. Kids will love the beachfront ceremonial dancing, didgeridoo performance, ochre anointments and smoking ceremony.
Hot tip: pack your swimmers for a splash with the kids in the clear, tranquil waters of Tallebudgera Creek.
At nearby Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, littlies can catch a glimpse into the ancient world of the Yugambeh people during the Aboriginal Dance Show before cuddling a koala and feeding the resident rainbow lorikeets by hand.
3. Get creative in Cairns
Head straight for the Cultural Village, where kids can dance up a storm at a traditional Corroboree celebration, decorate a boomerang, make bush jewellery using native crystals and wooden beads and even sample authentic bush tucker on a Guided Bush Food Walk.
If your energy levels drop before the kids do, grab a barista-made-brew at The Flame Tree cafe.
4. Feel the magic of the rainforest
Just a short drive northwest of Cairns is the Rainforestation Nature Park, home to a plethora of native wildlife from koalas and free-roaming kangaroos to (not-so-free-roaming) saltwater crocodiles. It’s also where you’ll find the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience.
Begin your day with front row seats to a rousing Aboriginal dance show in the rainforest amphitheatre, then let the little ones try their hand at boomerang-throwing on the Dreamtime Walk.
Round things off with an all-terrain adventure through the lush, tropical rainforest aboard the amphibious World War II Army Duck.
5. Learn to live off the land
Explore the mudflats, mangroves and tidal lagoons as you discover the traditions of the hunter-gatherer peoples who first inhabited the region.
Your local Aboriginal guides, Linc and Brandon Walker, will give you a crash course in traditional mud-crabbing and spearfishing techniques, as well as how to identify authentic bush tucker.
6. Dive into Butchulla culture and practices
Big kids will be able to dive in the marine park and see fish habitat amongst the coral reef. Little kids will be able to see turtles, dolphins and occasional dugong from the viewing deck.
You can also treat your family to an adventure that teaches them the history and culture of the Butchulla people, the traditional land-owners of the Great Sandy Marine Park.
Your Indigenous guide will walk you through traditions, teach you some of the Butchulla cultural practices and help you understand that importance of Butchulla Lore.
7. Explore the Daintree Rainforest
Strap on your hiking boots and discover the Daintree Rainforest with one of its traditional custodians; Juan Walker.
Book a full day cultural experience where you’ll be collected from your accommodation to spend a day with your local Aboriginal tour guide. They’ll walk you through culturally significant sites and explain the relationship between the Kuku Yalanji and their land.
You’ll learn how to collect bush tucker, how to hunt and how to catch a mud crab.
Psst! You can read more about how to find, catch and cook Aussie bush foods here. Better yet, check out our must-do list of incredible Queensland Indigenous experiences, handily compiled into a free downloadable ebook.