Where to Watch Indigenous Performers in Australia

Maze Backpackers - Saturday, December 15, 2012

Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years, making them the world’s oldest living culture, and there is no better way to get a sense of Aboriginal people and their culture than by checking out some Aboriginal art. While the painting, carving and sculptures are all fantastic, the live performances in particular will blow you away, so don’t leave Australia until you have caught a live performance or two. The following are just a few of the many places in Australia where you can catch Indigenous performers doing their thing live.

Tandanya (Adelaide, SA)

Also known as the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tandanya is an absolute jewel of South Australia, and if you are looking for a place to catch some live Aboriginal performances, this is as good a place as any. While Tandanya specialises in visual art exhibitions, this great place also hosts incredible performance art, and if you time your visit right you can catch anything from live music to traditional Aboriginal dancing. If you are anywhere near Adelaide and want to check out a real Australian cultural treat, head to Tandanya -- you will not be disappointed.

Koomurri Aboriginal Centre (Katoomba, NSW)

Located in the gorgeous Blue Mountains region of western New South Wales, the Koomurri Aboriginal Centre is a great place to see incredibly talented Aboriginal performing artists. Performances take place daily and consist of a series of traditional rituals and ceremonies performed by Aboriginal dancers in traditional paint. Koomurri also holds regular didgeridoo performances. The Blue Mountains is only a short day trip from Sydney, so whether you rent a car, take the train or hop on a day tour leaving from your Sydney hostel, make the effort to check out Koomurri and the Blueys.

Circular Quay (Sydney, NSW)

Sydney’s Circular Quay is a great place to see live Aboriginal performances mere steps from many popular Sydney hostels, and at the Quay you can regularly find talented Aboriginal performers showcasing their traditions and culture through their performance art. While the performances are technically free, if you like what you see or are at least entertained by it, you should put some money in their hats. Remember -- this is what they do for a living.

Brambuk Living Cultural Centre (Halls Gap, VIC)

If you have never been to the Grampians before, you should do so the first chance you get, because apart from being one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, it is also where you will find the Brambuk Living Cultural Centre. The Brambuk centre offers a wealth of information on the history of the area and its people, and is also where you can catch some fantastic and colourful live Aboriginal performances.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park (Cairns, QLD)

Located on the traditional territory of the Tjapukai people in tropical North Queensland, this fantastic cultural park is a great place to learn about one of the many groups of Aboriginal people inhabiting Australia. The park does a wonderful job of educating visitors on everything from traditional dancing to how to throw a spear and the medicinal benefits of bush tucker. The ‘Tjapukai by Night’ show includes some stunning live performances. Tjapukai is located near the Great Barrier Reef, so if you are going to make the trip to the reef anyway, plan a short side trip to Tjapukai as well.