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“Must do experience for whole family” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Top Didj Cultural Experience

Top Didj Cultural Experience
Gorge and Jaensch Road, Katherine, Northern Territory 0850, Australia
+61 8 8971 2751
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Ranked #5 of 18 things to do in Katherine
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Owner description: Top Didj & Art Gallery offers a genuine Aboriginal Cultural Experience. Manual Pamkal, winner of the Tourism NT Brolga award in 2013, for outstanding interpretive guide, is happy to pass on his traditions from Aboriginal contemporary life after playing a traditional welcoming tune on the didgeridoo. Manual will teach you the fine art of Rarrk Painting and give you the chance to paint your own masterpiece using a special brush made from a reed called Julk. This fantastic 2 1/2 hour interpretive experience will provide many hands on activities such as: Learning about indigenous culture and art Paint a piece of Indigenous artwork Learn fire lighting skills Learning how to throw a spear using a woomera Get to hold or feed baby wallabies View and purchase some of the best Aboriginal art and didgeridoos in the Northern Territory
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Must do experience for whole family”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

We are a family of four with children aged 8 and 10 travelling Australia for 6 months. We really enjoyed the Top Didj Cultural Experience with Manuel Pamkal

The site is also home to some orphaned wallabies and our children got to hold the little ones.

Manuel is a local indigenous fella and artist who takes the tourists through his life story, the story of the local indigenous peoples and also guides them through doing their own artwork using traditional Rarrk painting (Cross Hatch), fire stick fire lighting and spear throwing.

We all had a fun time and shared the experience with another couple from Adelaide. The photos speak for themselves. A great educational 3 hours with lots of interesting stuff and lots of laughs. According to the kids "dad your painting of a barramundi is the best".

We worked with traditional brushes made from reeds, fire sticks made from a local special tree and my wife insisted we work on the floor in "traditional mode".

We all had a go at using the fire sticks and Dad was the last one to give it a go and his strength got the fire finally started. Amazing to see how its actually done. Our son wanted to know "where can we buy the fire sticks?"

The spear throwing was lots of fun. We all had two turns to hit a make believe kangaroo about 30 metres away. It was amazing to see Manuel hit the target in the heart at that distance.

Our whole experience was one to remember and thanks to Manuel and his able assistant Basil. We encourage visitors of all ages to enjoy the fun experience and learning with Manuel.

Visited May 2013
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Top Contributor
131 reviews 131 reviews
61 attraction reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“Learn as you enjoy the genuine top end art”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

Great FREE collection of art from the area is on display. Artist in residence to offer insights into what wonders are incorporated into what you see and may want to take with you. Wearable art-for instance beautiful silk scarves, and many lovely pieces of jewellery incorporating top end flora and fauna are on sale as well as a good stock of didgeridoos. These instruments come with background on the creators and there are also instructional DVDs or CDs to go with them if you are really serious about getting beyond the drone sound.
There is also a cultural experience with different start times and adult, child and family rates available. Postage of large pieces can be arranged on site.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maroochydore, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Absolutely wonderful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013 via mobile

The morning spent learning, having fun, painting, listening, was really one of the highlights of my top end holiday. Manual generously shared his story and patiently helped us attempt to create our own work of art. We tried firelighting, the kids stealthily stalked our quarry of the kangaroo (but don't worry, it was a model) for the spear throwing lesson, and then the wonder of a cuddle with the orphan joey was a bonus. I learnt that I have the hunting skills that would result in starvation, I did nearly get a fire smoking, and gained a huge appreciation for the work, skill and patience required for the aboriginal painting. But most of all it was an amazing time spent in the company of Manuel, one of life's true gentlemen. I was travelling with family including a child under ten, and we had thought it would be a great experience and fun for her, which of course it was. However, not one of us adults had realised that we too would have the most fantastic time and learn so much. I would recommend this tour to anyone of any age.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darwin, Australia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Excellent and Friendly Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

During more than 2 hours, Manual (aboriginal person from Northern Australia) shared with us his culture : his history, his impression of evolution of the culture, his point of view... and in the same time we got a great interaction with him : we practiced aboriginal painting, Spear Throwing, fire lightning, story telling...
It is a Must Do for me if you pass in Northern Australia

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“great aboriginal culture - Manual is amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

After getting off the Ghan in Katherine, we made a stop to Top Didj. This cultural experience is a great place to learn many aboriginal cultures first hand. Upon arriving, we were met and taken to meet with Manual. This cultural experience was a dream that he had and had found a family that was willing to help his dream come true. He taught us many things about aboriginal cultures and how many practices are still used today.

Manual also taught us about aboriginal paintings and what they mean and represent. We were also able to try and create our own. We even got to hold a little joey!

I would highly recommend this and it is literally right on the way to Katherine Gorge. This place is not to be missed! I was there October 24, 2011.

Visited April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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