The Indigenous Smoking Ceremonies of the Daintree Rainforest

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Kuku Yalanji 1Travelling to Cairns and north Queensland wouldn’t be complete without delving deep into the Aboriginal culture that imbues the area and has done for thousands of years. The ancestral past is still visible throughout the lush region, where centuries-old secrets languish amongst rainforest scenery and incredible landscapes.

There are numerous tribes that call the area home, particularly in the Daintree Rainforest, one of north Queensland’s most popular natural attractions. Here, there is unique coastal scenery thanks to the three diverse eco-systems that make it up. In a small area, you can expect to see sprawling white sands of beaches, mangroves, and coastal reef – a bit of something for everyone.

Each individual tribe has its own traditions and rituals that you can discover and learn more about on a tour of the area. You can get a glimpse into their daily lives, and discover the ways they continue to hunt for food and create shelter in the surrounds that they have called home for as long as time. SmokingCeremony1


The tropical seasons are a part of life for the Aboriginal people in this part of Australia, and they use them to their advantage. They continue to prosper and thrive in the unique landscape, where they live happily side by side with nature and the tropical climate.


Many tours of the region start with a traditional smoking ceremony, which gives you an insight into local life. The ceremony is conducted by the local people who have a specific cultural knowledge about the region that they will willingly share with you. The ceremony itself is a spiritual cleansing to help ward off any bad spirits and to make sure that, while you’re wandering through the ancient land of the local people, that you are welcomed and honoured.

Once the smoking ceremony is over, you’ll often have the chance to try out some other Aboriginal activities. On many tours, you can try your hand at spear throwing – a hunting technique that the locals still use to this very day. Alternatively, you can learn how to track and hunt fish, crabs, and mussels, as they languish through the lush mangroves, or you can try bush tucker meat and learn all about the bush medicines that have been carried down from generation to generation.


Mossman Gorge CentreWhen you leave the Daintree Rainforest, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of the people who have safeguarded it for centuries and the rich past that has made it the place it is today. With the smoking ceremony, you get to become a part of that fascinating history, if only for a short while.