Experience Aboriginal Culture from the Sunshine Coast to North Stradbroke Island

Yulu Burri Ba dancers at Kunjiel (Corroboree), Quandamooka Festival, Minjerribah.

Yulu Burri Ba dancers at Kunjiel (Corroboree), Quandamooka Festival, Minjerribah. Courtesy of Arts Queensland, 2015.

If you’re looking for places to travel next holidays, consider checking out the many incredible Indigenous cultural experiences that the Sunshine Coast and North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) has to offer. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of Indigenous tourism experiences such as sailing tours, bush and cultural walks and workshops, and stunning local Aboriginal art galleries.

Aboriginal Heritage of the Sunshine Coast and Minjerribah

The Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi language group as the traditional owners of the Country, stretching from Burrum River in the north, to Pine River in the south, and west to the Conondale Ranges. The Jinibara Peoples are acknowledged as the determined native title holders for an area that incorporates the western section of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Moreton Regional Council, as well as parts of Brisbane City Council and Somerset Regional Council (Sunshine Coast Council, 2022).

As the world's second largest sand island, Minjerribah (located 1.5hrs from Brisbane CBD) provides endless adventures, from incredible beaches for surfing and swimming, to walking and 4WD trails, to clear-water mangroves for fishing, kayaking and more. The traditional custodians of this land are the Nunukul and Gorenpul clans of the Quandamooka people - the “people of the sand and water.” The Quandamooka People have lived on the lands and seas surrounding Minjerribah for at least 21,000 years (Redland City Council, 2022).

The Green House in the Buderim Forest Nature Refuge

Tais explaining "Scar tree" in Buderim Forest Refuge where the bark was used by Indigenous peoples for implements.

Tais explaining "Scar tree" in Buderim Forest Refuge where the bark was used by Indigenous peoples for implements. Courtesy of Travel Agencies Finder, 2022.

The public charity Beulah Community Limited managing the Buderim Forest Nature Refuge welcomes the public to explore 10 hectares of breath-taking rainforest tracks. Check in at The Greenhouse on 168 Lindsay Road, Buderim for information on the walking tracks, memorial gardens and public installations. You can enjoy a cuppa at the onsite café while you prepare for your adventure through the refuge.

The main track 'Dundalli Way' is named in honour of a local Indigenous lawman and warrior at the time of First Settlement. Along the track, you'll see various bark paintings and carvings, statues hidden amongst the trees and memorial gardens - all created by local First Nations artists.

Feel free to take a moment to rest and soak in the natural surrounds at 'The Circle', a small fire pit surrounded by a stone circle and a ceramic installation of Bennelong's 'gunyah' (a temporary shelter made from sticks, branches and bark).

If you're only wanting a short stroll, you can check out the current exhibitions at the onsite art gallery, supporting local artists.

To keep up to date on their current events, exhibitions and tours, check out Beulah Community Limited's Facebook page here.

Biral Tours, Buderim

Tais' Bush Walkabout Tour through the Buderim Forest Refuge.

Tais' Bush Walkabout Tour through the Buderim Forest Refuge. Courtesy of Biral Tours, 2022.

At 'The Circle,' respected Elder and Kabi Kabi spiritual knowledge holder Tais K'Reala Randanpi Aboriginal guided cultural Bush Walkabout Tours to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the spiritual and cultural connection the Kabi Kabi nations' peoples have to the land. During the stroll, Tais will also show you how his ancestors hunted and gathered on this land.

You’ll be on your feet for a few hours, so don’t forget to bring your own hat, walking/hiking boots, water, snacks, sunscreen, and personal items or medication. 

Tais' also runs other cultural experiences through Biral Tours, such as an overnight camping and yarning on traditional lands experience. This experience also includes other cultural activities such as boomerang dot painting and a traditional spiritual water ceremony.

Saltwater Eco Tours, Mooloolaba

Saltwater Eco Tours. Courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland, 2021.

Welcome aboard the “Spray of the Coral Coast,” a 114 year old historical timber vessel  where Saltwater Eco Tours will provide you with a unique experience that combines the local Indigenous Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi culture, bush tucker inspired canapés, maritime history and live music performances. Upon arrival at the “Saltwater Cultural Tour” (every Saturday 11.30am - 1.30pm), you’ll receive a complimentary alcoholic beverage or their signature Lemon Myrtle cocktail to celebrate the afternoon sailing down the gorgeous Mooloolah River. 

During the tour, owner, Master Class Captain and Torres Strait Islander man Simon Thornalley hosts a range of local Indigenous storytellers who will teach you about the local wildlife and Dreamtime stories, rituals, hunting techniques and lands of the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi/ Kabi Kabi peoples.

Enjoy a 3 course bush-tucker infused lunch with fresh Mooloolaba prawns and oysters, and if you fancy a glass of something cold to quench your thirst, the vessel has a licensed bar. As the tour draws to a close, you’ll return home with a deeper understanding of the spiritual connection Australia’s First Nations communities have with the land and sea. 

Saltwater Eco Tours also hosts a 2 hour “Sunset tour” where you’ll get to unwind with friends or family to live music, sip on locally sourced beverages at the licensed bar and snack on a delicious grazing box.

All tours depart from Penny Lane Jetty at the Mooloolaba Wharf. Check out their website or Facebook page to book a tour.

Yura Banji Scooters, Minjerribah

Yura Banji Scooters at Point Lookout Headland with public art.

Yura Banji Scooters at Point Lookout Headland with public art. Courtesy of Visit Brisbane, 2022. 

Located at Point Lookout Headland, Yura Banji Scooters provides an eco-friendly alternate way to explore Amity Point, Dunwich and Point Lookout on Minjerribah. Hire an electric scooter or bike to travel around the scenic island. The ACE-X Electric Bike manages all sorts of terrain such as sand, hills, dirt, grass or pavement with ease.

At the Yura Banji Scooters Shop, you can also check out Yura Banji Island Art, which sells handmade beachy home decor and jewellery.

Book your scooter hire here.

The Goompi Trail on Minjerribah

Aboriginal tour guide Matt making fire on Quandamooka coast.

Aboriginal tour guide Matt making fire on Quandamooka coast. Courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland, 2022. 

Next holidays, join local Nunukul tour guide Matthew Burns in a family-friendly immersive experience through the Goompi Trail on Minjerribah. Choose between an early morning or evening 1 hour stroll along the foreshore of Dunwich overlooking Moreton Bay. 

Since Matthew has been sharing his culture and facilitating workshops since 2004, the whole family will gain tremendous, in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience about Aboriginal artefacts, fire starting, boomerang throwing and local bush tucker and medicines. You’ll also get to see the remnants of an estimated 10,000 year old sacred and protected rock fish trap. The walk ends at the jetty at Amity Point where wild dolphins often come to say hello!

From Brisbane’s bayside on the Redlands Coast, Minjerribah is just a 15-minute boat ride or a 45 minute car ferry ride away. Check out the Stradbroke Ferries time tables here.

You can book online via North Stradbroke Island’s official website here

Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery, Minjerribah

Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery.

Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery. Courtesy of Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery, 2022.

At the Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery, you'll discover ancient stories, cultural artefacts, textiles and contemporary paintings and graphic designs from the unique Indigenous culture of the Quandamooka peoples.

This magnificent art gallery hosts a range of arts and cultural workshops where school and university students, tourists and community groups are able to have fun creating something, while also learning about Quandamooka history, culture and wildlife in the process!

One of Yarn's talented collaborating artists Shara Delaney quite often exhibits her artworks at the Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery, so keep an eye out when you visit! The Quandamooka woman's artworks encapsulate her identity as a strong saltwater woman, her connection to family, sand and sea.

Shop Shara's designs on everything from clothing, to accessories to homewares here.

Don't forget to check out the gift store full of gorgeous locally handcrafted souvenirs, accessories and homewares on your way out.

We hope you have fun learning about and experiencing the world's oldest living culture! If you’re a South East Queensland resident, check out our previous post:

Indigenous Experiences Around Brisbane and the Gold Coast