The Ancient Art of Australia

A history of the Aboriginal people lies partly in the rock paintings they have left behind all over Australia. In the tropical north, for example, a wide-ranging body of prehistoric art decorates sandstone gorges near the tiny township of Laura on the rugged Cape York Peninsula. Depictions on rock-shelter sites range from spirit figures of men and women to eels, fish, wide-winged brolga birds, crocodiles, kangaroos, snakes, and stenciled hands. One wall, the “Magnificent Gallery,” stretches more than 40 m (131 ft.) and is adorned with hundreds of Quinkan figures—Quinkans being the Aboriginal spirits associated with this region.

Much Aboriginal rock art is preserved in national parks. Examples readily accessible on day trips from major Australian cities include Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, and the Royal National Park near Sydney. Then there’s the Grampians National Park west of Melbourne and the fabulous hand stencils at Mutawintji National park near Broken Hill in New South Wales. There are also ancient paintings near Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre.

In Queensland, Carnarvon National Park (about 400 km/249 miles west of Brisbane) offers a breathtaking display of early indigenous paintings.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.