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Aboriginal Rock Art

Local Aboriginal history spans over 40,000 years with many stories and landmark events recorded in the extensive rock art galleries on outcrops and in caves throughout Cape York Peninsula.

The rock art of south-east Cape York Peninsula forms some of the oldest and largest galleries in the world. The main areas stretch in an arc from north of Cooktown, inland to the Palmer River, with a multitude of paintings, stencils and engravings across the traditional lands of the Kuku Yalanji, Guugu Yimithirr and Kuku Thaypan people.

Aboriginal communities throughout Cape York Peninsula maintain strong connections with the land and sea, ensuring the survival of this ancient culture. Traditional custodians share some of their stories on guided walks at special sites around the region. From Cooktown you can visit the Nugal rock art sites outside Hope Vale with the traditional custodian and story-keeper.

In the Laura region you can take a self-guided walk around Split Rock or arrange an interpretive tour of different rock art sites up in the escarpment overlooking the Laura River.

Laura Rock Art

Split Rock aboriginal art galleryThe rock art galleries in Quinkan Country near Laura are listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 sites in the world.

The Split Rock site, located 14 kms from Laura, is the most famous of the galleries. Guided tours of around 1 hour can be arranged at The Quinkan Cultural Centre or there is interpretive signage if you would like to take a self-guided tour. The galleries are a 15 minute uphill walk from the car park with some rough sections, so wear sturdy shoes.  Call 07 4060 3457 for Visitor Information and book your guided tours in advance. 

The Mushroom Rock and Giant Horse sites offer an incredible array of rock art. Both sites can be combined on a 3.5 hour guided tour, or they can be visited separately. Access is easy to Mushroom Rock with a short walk from the car parking area. The Giant Horse site involves some steeper walking sections.Mushroom rock aboriginal art gallery

The views from the Giant Horse galleries combined with the sheer volume of art on display are breathtaking and a must-do experience when visiting the region.

More rock art galleries can be visited from the relaxed campsite at Jowalbinna, about 35 kms outside Laura.

Jarramali Rock Art Tours is an Aboriginal owned and operated business run by friendly and experienced Kuku-Yalanji traditional owners. Join a guided tour for an incredible Aboriginal cultural tour experience.