Book Now

A Cultural Guide to Far North Queensland

by Sydney Bear, The Sebel Host | July 3, 2018

Far North Queensland may be home to striking scenery and exotic wildlife – but the region’s most distinctive feature is its culture.

If you’re planning a voyage to the top of the Sunshine State, we can help you experience the local way of life, infused with art, music and ancient traditions. Use this guide to navigate the north’s enchanting cultural landscape.

Cairns Art Gallery

As one of the largest urban centres in Far North Queensland, Cairns is a cultural melting pot. Surrounded by the Daintree Rainforest and Barrier Reef, this coastal town is the ideal destination for day trips from The Sebel Palm Cove Coral Resort. But before exploring Cairns’ most iconic tourist destinations, take a moment to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Displaying a variety of art forms, the Cairns Art Gallery provides visitors with the perfect introduction to Far North Queensland’s cultural identity. It’s located in the historic Public Curators Building on Abbott Street, taking up three floors of elegantly appointed gallery space.

With exhibitions by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, international collections and ancient artefacts, the gallery covers every aspect of Cairns culture. If you’re looking to take home a souvenir, you can pick up ceramics, prints, glassware and jewellery in the gift shop.

Janbal Gallery

To see more of Far North Queensland’s art scene, Janbal Gallery should be next on your to-do list. This 100% Aboriginal owned and operated gallery can be found in Mossman, a tiny community just north of Cairns. It’s filled with authentic artworks created by locals, including paintings, didgeridoos, boomerangs and other artefacts.

To learn more about Indigenous culture during your stay in Far North Queensland, Janbal Gallery hosts hands-on painting workshops and storytelling sessions every day of the week.

The term ‘Janbal’ is the Indigenous name for the Blue Quandong, a rare and bright blue-skinned rainforest berry found in Kuku Yalanji country around the Daintree Rainforest.

Live Music in Port Douglas

Visiting art galleries isn’t the only way to discover culture in Far North Queensland. For music lovers, Port Douglas is a must-see. Here’s where you can find the best live music in this laidback country town:

The Court House Hotel

As the oldest pub in Port Douglas, the Court House Hotel is a local icon. You can sit on the wide open veranda while listening to live music (or escape the humidity and grab a bite to eat in the pub’s air-conditioned restaurant).

The Tin Shed

Overlooking Dicksons Inlet, The Tin Shed offers mesmerising waterfront views and a family-friendly atmosphere. If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend activity, local bands play every Sunday afternoon on the bistro deck.

Port Douglas Carnivale

Planning to visit Far North Queensland in May? Be sure to check out the Port Douglas Carnivale, a street and music festival held annually in the centre of town. Attracting talent from all over the country, the Port Douglas Carnivale is a celebration of Far North Queensland’s laidback lifestyle.

Port Douglas takes just 40 minutes to reach by car from Palm Cove. To get there, simply follow the Captain Cook Highway north for around 42 kilometres. If you don’t have a car, you can book a shuttle bus.

Tjapukai Cultural Park

Tjapukai Cultural Park shares the ancient customs of the local Djabugay people. Set amid a tropical rainforest near Cairns, this unique attraction incorporates traditional Aboriginal art, music, food and dance, providing visitors with a cultural experience like no other.

From fire making ceremonies to weaving workshops, you can choose from a range of culturally enriching activities. And if you get hungry, the park’s Flame Tree Bar & Grill serves up Indigenous dishes (ever wondered what crocodile tastes like?), contemporary Australian fare and fresh seafood.


Now that you know what Far North Queensland’s culture encompasses, you can start planning your trip to this fascinating region. For advice on where to stay, get in touch with The Sebel Hotels and Apartments today.


Travel Guide
social media