Maruku Arts, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism Australia

Maruku Arts, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism Australia

Aboriginal art experiences

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Hear the stories behind picturesque rock art
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Hear the stories behind picturesque rock art
Why you’ll love it: Experience incredible nature, history and art in one day.

Across Australia, Aboriginal rock art adorns rugged natural formations, communicating stories that have been recorded over many millennia. The best way to experience these meaningful works of art is by joining a guided tour through picturesque national parks, led by Aboriginal Traditional Custodians. Gain access to restricted areas, take in breathtaking cliff faces and deepen your understanding of Aboriginal history and cultures through your guides’ interpretation of each artwork.

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Get hands on at a dot painting class
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Get hands on at a dot painting class
Why you’ll love it: Learn the methods behind the masterpieces.

One of the best ways to learn about different cultures is through practice, and the same can be said about art. Getting hands on with dot painting while guided by an Aboriginal artist is a brilliant way to understand the techniques and symbolism behind each unique piece. Pick up a brush at the foot of Uluru with Maruku Arts, get painting amid the Daintree at Janbal Gallery or visit Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre just outside of Melbourne – there are plenty of places to grab a paint brush, have a ‘yarn’ (chat) and create your very own mini masterpiece.

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Wander innovative outdoor exhibitions
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Wander innovative outdoor exhibitions
Why you’ll love it: Experience modern adaptations of ancient art practices

While many of Australia’s world-class galleries and museums feature extensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections, there’s nothing quite as breathtaking as wandering through an outdoor gallery, witnessing stunning interpretations of First Nations wisdoms while standing on the landscapes they emerged from. Head to the Red Centre to watch drones light up the night sky above sacred Uluru during Wintjiri Wiru, see Indigenous artists represented throughout the Vivid Sydney light show or watch Alice Springs come to life for the annual Parrtjima festival.

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Visit regional art centres
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Visit regional art centres
Why you’ll love it: Meet the visionaries behind the artworks

Sprinkled throughout the country, Aboriginal art centres are community-based hubs for artists to create, showcase and sell their creations. These centres are also often used to teach skills to future generations. A visit to one of these hubs for creativity is a privilege that is sure to leave you feeling enriched. Take the chance to explore the collections, hear from local artists, watch creations come to life and maybe even treat yourself to something unique to take home.

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Listen to the sounds of the didgeridoo
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Listen to the sounds of the didgeridoo
Why you’ll love it: Experience an intimate traditional performance

The hauntingly beautiful sounds of the didgeridoo have echoed throughout Australia for thousands of years, and in many Aboriginal cultures, this music is an important part of storytelling, celebrations and traditions. Made from hollowed out tree branches, these intricate instruments often look as beautiful as they sound. Join Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel to hear one played above the Great Barrier Reef, sit by the fire with Wula Gura Nyinda on the Coral Coast, or spend a day with Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours just outside of Darwin.

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See a unique performance
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See a unique performance
Why you’ll love it: Be transformed by stories told through movement

Dance performances are a great way to take in the beauty and diversity of Aboriginal cultures, combining traditional movement with music and dress. Nestled just outside of Cairns in mountainous Kuranda, Rainforestation Nature Park offers guests the opportunity to witness the Pamagirri Dance Performance, including traditional interpretations of native animals in a rainforest amphitheatre. In Sydney, you can step into the iconic Sydney Opera House to watch Australia’s premier Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance company, Bangarra, unveil a captivating showcase that uses world-class light and costume design to bring ancient stories to life.

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Catch a modern act
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Catch a modern act
Why you’ll love it: Dance to talented Aboriginal musicians at contemporary festivals and events.

Australia is spoiled with a vibrant array of music festivals, many of which feature talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who proudly weave their cultures into modern masterpieces. You can dance to the likes of Yolngu rapper Baker Boy, Malyangapa and Barkindji artist Barkaa or Yolngu Aussie rock band King Stingray at many unforgettable events such as Byron Bay’s famous Splendour in the Grass. Keep an eye out for specific performances during Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ multi-week music and arts affair, Volume.

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Get amongst the action at a cultural festival
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Get amongst the action at a cultural festival
Why you’ll love it: Become immersed in the vibrance of Aboriginal cultures over several magnificent days.

Transformative music, heart-stopping performances, interactive workshops and moving storytelling are the things you’ll find at an Aboriginal cultural festival. These spectacular, multi-day celebrations present an opportunity to become immersed in First Nations cultures. Held in remote northeast Arnhem Land, the Yothu Yindi Foundation’s Garma is Australia’s largest Indigenous festival, with thousands coming together to celebrate traditional Yolngu culture. Annually celebrated in June, just south of Katherine, the Barunga Festival is another epic showcase of art, sport and storytelling from regional and remote communities.

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Wander Indigenous art fairs
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Wander Indigenous art fairs
Why you’ll love it: See amazing performances and exhibitions from across the country.

Whether you want to shop or just peruse, Indigenous art fairs are a fantastic way to get exposed to a variety of traditional and contemporary art forms. The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair brings together a diverse mix of artists to showcase all types of creations, from unique and wonderful textiles and fashion parades to bustling markets and picturesque galleries. Held annually on Gadigal Country in Sydney (Warrane), the National Indigenous Art Fair is a similar gathering, bringing together artists from remote art centres across Australia in one, central location.