Australia with kids: Night Fire at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

The following is a guest post from reader Heather Hoeffling.

While in Cairns, Australia, looking for something “different” for dinner and a way to learn about Aboriginal culture, our family of four (including two boys, age 12 and 16) decided to try Night Fire (think Hawaiian luau) at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Our evening began with getting our faces painted in an art gallery by members of the Bama tribe, indigenous people of the rainforest, in traditional warrior paint and costumes.


We then moved through four more locations around the gallery complex. Three of the locations are outdoors, so if you go in August, like us, wear a jacket.  We followed torch-carrying warriors to a fire pit where appetizers were served, emu or kangaroo on crackers served with sparking wine or fruit juices. The food was all very good (and I was glad we tried them because dinner wasn’t served until 8:30). Aboriginal stories, music, and traditional dances were performed around the fire. We followed dancers and musicians by torch light to the next location. This location turned out to be a dance theater, where guests were encouraged to participate or just enjoy the performances. Didgeridoo demonstrations, dance lessons, fire making lessons, and more tribal stories were all part of the next two locations. At each location, we were also taught words or songs from the Bama tribe.

The last location was a dining room, with a stage for more entertainment, which is where the buffet was set up. Many different salads and breads accompanied choices of prawns, roasted lamb, crocodile, kangaroo, pork, fish, and chicken. Roasted pumpkin, other vegetables, a few Asian dishes, and a variety of desserts were all available.  The food was good and my family of picky eaters all found things they liked.  A full bar was available, but drinks beyond water, tea, coffee, and juice were extra.

Don’t rush out through the obligatory gift shop at the end of the evening, as performers move back outside to answer questions and pose for pictures with guests. All in all, we felt this was a great experience for the whole family.

night fire

If you go:

Reservations aren’t required, but highly recommended. Remember seasonally-appropriate clothing, as many of the activities are outside. The cultural park is open during the day as well, for families who’d prefer to tour the sites without the dinner experience. This may appeal to families with younger kids. Shuttle transfers are available from local lodging as well.


Adult- $123.00

Child- $75.00



Caravonica, Australia: Find directions from Cairns here.




About the author

Pit Stops for Kids Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler.