Tjapukai is an Aboriginal tourism operation in Tropical North Queensland that shares the rainforest culture of the Djabugay people to cultivate a greater understanding of authentic Aboriginal culture, history and traditions. A cultural content agreement with the Traditional Owners ensures their language, dance, hunting and gathering knowledge, art and stories are presented accurately, while Traditional Owners manage the cultural park.
Who are the people behind Tjapukai?
The Djabugay people of the Kuranda rainforest.
Tell us something quirky or memorable about you, your team, your customer or your business
Tjapukai is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s longest running stage show. While the stage show has been running since 1987, the authentic culture that it presents is more than 40,000 years old.
What’s the favourite thing you love about your business?
Sharing an ancient living culture with people from around the world wanting to know about the first Australians and allowing the Djabugay people to earn an income from practising their culture.
What’s the company background?
Tjapukai was founded by theatre artists Don and Judy Freeman, David Hudson, a Ewamian man brought up among the Djabugay people, and his wife Cindy. They worked with six Djabugay men – Willie Brim, Alby Baird, Wayne Nicols, Irwin Riley, Neville Hobler and Dion Riley – to combine Djabugay cultural knowledge with their performance expertise. The show opened in Kuranda in 1987 at a time when no-one was sure what it would mean to present Indigenous culture through tourism. People around the world discovered how to “shake a leg” by joining in performances drawn from Djabugay corroborees.
What’s your ultimate vision for Tjapukai?
Preserving and passing on the Djabugay culture while creating employment for the Djabugay people.
A testimonial about Tjapukai?
My tour guide was amazing. Showed us so many things and was so encouraging with the boomerang and spear throwing. He even gave me two special kind of leaves to scrunch up and sniff because I had a cold and it helped! Lisa J, Washington, TripAdvisor.
More information about Tjapukai
Tourism Region: QLD-Tropical North Queensland
Industry sector: Attractions