Australia’s Indigenous culture is one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world, and Rainforestation Nature Park recognises the importance of preserving and sharing this unique culture. Local indigenous Pamagirri Guides welcome you to join them on a journey to discover the Dreamtime and learn about the fascinating customs and ancient traditions that are kept alive in the rainforest of Kuranda, in Tropical North Queensland.
The Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience takes approximately 1 hour, including the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance Show held in the Rainforest Amphitheatre, and the Dreamtime Walk conducted either before or after the show. Extended Dreamtime Walk activities are available for groups to learn even more about the fascinating history of Australia's Indigenous culture at an extra cost.
This natural setting provides a beautiful backdrop for The Pamagirri Corroboree; a traditional dance performance depicting aspects of indigenous culture including animals, food gathering and hunting. The rainforest serves as the theatre walls whilst sounds of wildlife provide accompaniment to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and clapsticks. Be sure to watch closely - there's a surprise for the audience at the end! The amphitheatre is wheelchair accessible, and has a a large protective canopy and tiers of comfortable wooden seats with the capacity for 400 people. The dance programme is available in 14 different languages.
SHOW TIMES: 10.30am, 12.00noon and 2.00pm.
This half-hour guided tour along an all weather walk-way modelled on the Rainbow Serpent gives further insight into aboriginal traditions and beliefs, and how several ancient implements were used. Enter the Pamagirri Cultural Centre at Rainforestation and experience Tropical North Queensland through the eyes of the people who have been its custodians for tens of thousands of years.
Try your hand at boomerang throwing - after a demonstration and a few lessons, you’ll be ready to test your skills. The area is specially netted for your safety, as boomerangs do come back!
Observe spear-throwing - you'll be amazed at the distance the Pamagirri Guides can throw spears using a Woomera. One of our Guides, Jauwa, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records with a distance of 147.75 metres – that’s one and a half football fields! Discover how the spear was used for hunting (imagine having to catch your own dinner for every meal?!) and to uphold traditional law in tribal communities. Thankfully, punishments endured in the past bare no resemblance to those used today!
Indigenous Australians are born entertainers - music and dance are an integral part of this culture used to pass on customs and traditions. In the midst of traditional aboriginal dwellings, your guide will explain how didgeridoos are made and used in ceremonies, and then reveal the techniques used to play this haunting ancient instrument by imitating the noises of Australian animals. Listen carefully for sounds imitating Kangaroos or the Kookaburra. It's easier said than done – you’ll have a chance to try this yourself after the lesson!
At the end of the tour, your personal Pamagirri Guide will be available to answer questions and take photographs.
DREAMTIME WALK TIMES: 10am, 11am 11:30am. 12:30pm,. 1:30pm, 2:30pm.
Pre-booked groups may choose to add additional activities to If the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience is prebooked by a group, an additional option of with a Pamagirri Guide or having your face painted with traditional ochre is available. During a 1 hour cultural journey, your Pamagirri Guide will share the following features of their remarkable way of life:
Aboriginal Canvas Art Workshops
Create your very own Aboriginal masterpiece using age-old techniques passed down through generations. We can supply either a large canvas for a group to work on together, or an individual mini canvas or boomerang per person, with a basic Aboriginal design outlined by a Pamagirri Artist. The artist will then conduct a brief tutorial explaining the use of traditional colours, painting techniques (dot art) and symbols and storytelling in Aboriginal art. Each group member is able to expose their talent by adding their own aboriginal dot-style design to the canvas, using the Australian landscape and wildlife as inspiration, just as Pamagirri artists do. The Pamagirri artist then completes the canvas with a professional touch-up.
Bush Tucker and Bush Medicine
For thousands of years Aboriginal people throughout Australia have lived by hunting and gathering various wild foods; also known as "bushtucker". Your Pamagirri Guide will introduce some of these fruits and berries used as food and remedies. Although there are now supermarkets in most Aboriginal communities, gathering bush tucker is still very popular. You’ll be surprised what you can eat in our rainforest!
Aboriginal Face Painting
Have your face painted in the traditional manner using ochre, with further explanation on the use of colours, techniques and symbols in tribal face and body paint.
All of the authentic artwork and artefacts (boomerangs and didgeridoos) displayed in The Pamagirri Cultural Centre have been hand-painted by indigenous artists, the majority of which are the talented Pamagirri performers. Visitors can also purchase most of these items on display.
Rainforestation Nature Park first introduced an aboriginal cultural experience in 1987, giving tourists the chance to learn how to throw a boomerang whilst waiting for an Army Duck Tour of the rainforest. In 1993, an expansion was made on this growing interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, with the formation of the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance Troupe. Charlie and Pip Woodward, owners of Rainforestation then initiated the Dreamtime Walk Cultural Tour staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and constructed the Pamagirri Cultural Centre to display traditional dwellings and artefacts.
In that same year, the Woodwards formed the Pamagirri Dance Troupe with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, developed a traditional dance programme, and constructed an amphitheatre nestled in the rainforest.
To link the amphitheatre with the main building, a 130 metre covered walkway was constructed, themed on the mythical Rainbow Serpent. The walkway was decorated with figures from the Dreamtime. Pamagirri actually means “silent snake”, and is symbolic of this Rainbow Serpent, responsible for the creation of the mountains and rivers in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.