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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

May 28

Tjapukai by Night – Night Fire

Posted on May 28, 2018 by

Photo Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Since it started in 1987 Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has come a long way and is well worth a visit or a second visit.

Tjapukai Night Fire is a clever world class event which takes you through a journey back to the mystical dreamtime. Enjoy the stories of creation and learn about the colourful culture of the Tjapukai people.

Tjapukai cultural park has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including The Queensland Tourism Award for Best Significant Tourist Attraction and The US Film and Video Award. In 2002 Tjapukai hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip during their royal visit to Cairns where Tjapukai by night made its opening night debut.

The Tjapukai entrance is colourful and inviting. Upon arrival we were offered a welcome drink and given an opportunity to browse through the gift shop which is full of art work and traditional Aboriginal crafts. The artwork is all created by local indigenous artists we were able to read about their personal profiles.

Photo Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

At 7.30pm it is time for the main attraction. We were guided into a room and the lights were dimmed. A didgeridoo starts echoing and we were treated to stories of the dreamtime the performance also touches on the meaning behind a lot of the artwork and animals depicted in these. All of a sudden there was a deafening crack of thunder, a huge bolt of lightning and out of nowhere the rainbow serpent appeared!

We were then led out to the fire making pit where we had our faces painted and took part in a fire making ceremony we were handed two wooden instruments. The Tjapukai performers made sure that everyone was involved by teaching us a fire making chant and also how to use the instruments. The instruments are two thick wooden sticks (clapping Sticks) that are used to make a strong pulsating beat when this is combined with the chant it sounds very authentic! The Tjapukai performers then started the fire by using the traditional method of rubbing two pieces of wood together.  At first only a small puff of smoke was visible then all of a sudden a raging fire was lit. One of the warriors lit his spear and threw if far across the lake before it exploded!! By this time it was dark outside so the affect was amazing.

Photo Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Then it was then time for the buffet dinner. Some of the food was inspired by traditional Tjapukai flavours I would highly recommend the bush herb chicken it’s delicious!  There was also a wide variety of food available including hot and cold meats, seafood, pasta, salads, vegetables and desserts.

Photo Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

After dinner it was time for the finale. Two people were in invited up on stage to try their hand at lighting a fire using the technique shown earlier. After several attempts the performers stepped in to lend a helping hand (it’s harder than its looks).

The Tjapukai people tell their stories through dance and this was demonstrated in depictions of animals that were remarkably realistic. Four more guests were invited up on stage to try a traditional dance; the performers make the dance look so easy but the four people brought up on stage proved that it does take a lot of practice!

Photo Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

The rest of the crowd was encouraged to participle in the final traditional song which was accompanied by the beautiful sound of the didgeridoo and boomerangs banging together in the back ground making it both vocal and vibrant! Everyone was singing and stamping their feet in time to the music. It was a fantastic finale that definitely had everyone leave on a high! It is very obvious that the Tjapukai performers are very passionate and this is reflected in the enthusiasm and enjoyment they have in promoting their rich and fascinating culture.

Photo Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

After the show we were given the opportunity to meet the Tjapukai performers and ask them a few questions. A few of the children jumped at the chance to get boomerangs signed. We thanked them for their great performance before heading home.

Overall Tjapukai by night is an excellent introduction into Aboriginal culture it is entertaining for people of all ages and is suitable for young children as it is a fantastic show jam packed with vibrant energy it is very engaging and interactive and is one of those shows where everyone is encouraged to participate. If you are looking for an entertaining family friendly show with great food then Tjapukai Night Fire is must do for when you are in Cairns.

Pre-book your evening here or give us a call on 1300 761 612

Tjapukai is also opened during the day – Tjapukai by Day

Author: Sophie Tabouel – Tour Specialist

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