Spirits of the Red Sand is a new Aboriginal interactive cultural experience including a theater performance and dinner with a higher purpose of creating admiration for Aboriginal culture through storytelling and tourism.
The experience, situated between Brisbane city and the Gold Coast, is the culmination of a 20-year journey by Elder of the Yugembeh, Yuggera and Quandamooka tribes and Eddie Ruska, who created a drama and dance program for at-risk youth. Through music, dance and song, the children benefited from a sense of pride in their culture. On a tour in New Zealand, Ruska came across Tamaki Maori Village where founder Mike Tamaki had famously used tourism as a force for good—sharing his culture with fellow New Zealanders and international visitors.
Ruska went on to join forces with Tamaki to create respect and admiration for Aboriginal culture through storytelling and tourism. The pair are working to replicate the success of Tamaki Maori Village, which is ranked seventh-best attraction in the world by Trip Advsior, with the additional layer of a historical re-enactment.
“I’m personally thrilled to be collaborating with talented performers and storytellers to celebrate Aboriginal culture and help to break down barriers and change perceptions. Guests are engaged in the performance gaining a glimpse of traditional customs and 21st-century Australia. Over drinks and dinner, guests engage one-on-one with performers and hear their personal stories first-hand,” explains Tamaki.
“Travelers are now seeking out more authentic experiences that give them a deeper connection to the history of a place. Spirits of the Red Sand does this by giving them a slice of Australian history that includes Aboriginal culture,” he adds.
During the interactive production, guests move from set to set as they journey back in time to 1880’s Queensland and experience the trials and challenges as the British and Aboriginal ways of life collide. Told by Jarrah, the only surviving member of three Aboriginal brothers, the show is set within a real 19th-Century Australian town complete with Church, Pub and Indigenous village. The dinner is a char-grilled Australian barbecue with dessert and a licensed bar.
Spirits of the Red Sand won best interactive Cultural Theater Program in Australasia in the Australian Enterprise Awards this month. They are also the only South East Queensland tourism experience to be endorsed by Tourism Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences Program.
Situated in Beenleigh between Brisbane and The Gold Coast, the experience offers round-trip transfers from select hotels in both locations. Tickets cost $120 for adults, $25 for children aged between five and nine, $65 for 10-15 year olds and $99 for students and seniors.Travelers and locals can book online or via travel agents, inbound tour operators, wholesalers and online travel agents globally.
The Spirits of the Red Sand experience is the meeting of two cultures, Maori and Aboriginal, both with incredible similarities and a deep mutual respect for one another. While Spirits of the Red Sand differs from Tamaki Maori Village in many ways, the essence is the same—to create respect and admiration for a culture through storytelling, to leave people from all over the world with unforgettable memories and to help local indigenous people thrive through sustainable work and career development. For more info, visit www.spiritsredsand.com.