Words Jamie Jansen


A place of cultural expression, where the Eastern Kuku Yalanjiwarra people can celebrate and share their dance, art, ceremony, food and stories - right in the heart of the oldest living rainforest in the world.

That is the idea for the new Indigenous cultural tourism centre that is set for development in Cape Tribulation.

Soon visitors to our beautiful region will be able to immerse themselves in the unique culture of the traditional owners of the Daintree Rainforest, the Kuku Yalanjiwarra people.

As members of the oldest living culture in the world, the Kuku Yalanjiwarra are the traditional owners of the Daintree rainforest where they have been living in harmony with the environment for more than 50,000 years.

A development that has been long desired by the community, the tourism hub will be a special place where their unique and diverse Indigenous culture is being recognised.

Desire for a place of living culture

The $4.84 million development is jointly funded through the Australian and Queensland governments and is due for completion in 2023.

The state and federal funding has been secured by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation - a registered native title body representing the Eastern Kuku Yalanjiwarra.

Through a series of facilitated workshops, the community revealed their desire for a place of living culture, where they could maintain a meaningful connection to Country while sharing their culture with visitors.

A gateway to cultural experiences

The project will facilitate cultural activities for education purposes, as well as connecting and supporting Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama in Far North Queensland.

Connecting the Bama community is important to protect the unique culture from loss of knowledge, tradition, language and wisdom.

As part of the project, cultural stories from elders and traditional owners will be recorded and the information will be used in eco guide training.

Visitors to the new hub will also be able to meet Eastern Kuku Yalanji people and learn about their knowledge of these custodians of the land and sea.

The Kuku Yalanji people’s understanding of land and water is the living cultural knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation.

As they are true rainforest people, living in complete harmony with their environment. It is part of them and they are part of it.

The experience will also allow visitors to enjoy performances including traditional ceremonies and dance.

The new centre will support existing Eastern Yalanjiwarra tourism operators to help them to continue refine and grow their businesses and work with aspiring cultural entrepreneurs.

A win-win for all concerned, as the centre strives to offer more authentic cultural tourism experiences to visitors, acting both as an incubator to support emerging Indigenous tourism businesses and as a service provider to existing businesses.

The hub will be an authentic experience, working together with the local community using their knowledge of local sites and stories that have passed down through generations while remaining true to their heritage “the Bama way”.

Meeting Yalanjiwarri aspirations in the design

A key objective of the project is to ensure that the aspirations of the Yalanjiwarra community are met in the design.

The hub will be built at Dubuji, in the Daintree National Park, next to PK’s in Cape Tribulation.

The name Dubuji means “Place of Spirits” or “Place of Ghosts”, indicating the significance of the site as a sacred place.

A curved shaped building will welcome and embrace visitors and is shaped around a gathering place for cultural activities including dancing and smoking ceremonies.

The circle is the gathering space that allows for “story” and considerations of ceremony, performance and education.

With construction starting soon, locals and future visitors can get excited about a place that facilitates a way of being that makes you feel a special connection to country.

Not only will the hub be a magical place for the local Indigenous community to thrive, it will also be an exceptional spot for visitors to meet, learn and immerse in a cultural experience unique in the world, right in the heart of Yalanjiwarra country.

Only a two-hour trip by car from Port Douglas - travelling through some of the most scenic natural beauty that the Daintree rainforest has to offer - the hub should definitely be on your bucket list once the development has completed.

Whether a day trip or staying overnight it will be a highlight of your time spent in this special region.