10 Great Aboriginal Tours in Sydney

Aboriginal Walk Bundeena Sydney

By joining an Aboriginal tour in Sydney you will have the opportunity to learn more about the rich culture of the first Australians. Many people consider Australia to have a very short history however Aboriginal Australian’s have occupied this land for over 60,000 years. Their history is rich with art and stories that are inspiring and interesting.

Learn more about the first Australians

At the time of European settlement, Aboriginal people had been living in the Sydney region for at least 40,000 years so while our city might be young the history of its first people is not.  If you want to learn more about Australia’s indigenous culture on your visit to Sydney, there are plenty of options. The best place to find out about Aboriginal culture is in outback Australia, but I suggest you try to include at least one of the places below if you have time.

1. Cadi Jam Ora: First Encounters Garden – Royal Botanic Gardens

Botanic Garden Sydney Aboriginal Tour
The Cadi Jam Ora Gardens display the plants used for food and medicine by the Cadigal people, the first inhabitants of this part of Sydney. A 50-metre long storyline with interpretation panels note historical incidences and are very informative. There is a native shelter, some beautiful grass trees and plenty of signs and labels.

The Aboriginal heritage tours are run every Friday and last for about 1 and half hours. During the tour, you learn more about traditional music, dance, food, and medicine. You may even get to taste some of the bush foods. Bookings are essential for these tours. Ph 9231 8134

Key Facts – Royal Botanic Gardens Aboriginal Heritage Tours

When: 10 am Fridays
Where: Walks depart from the Information Counter at the Palm Grove Centre (see the website for a map)
Why: Learn more about the first Australians
How: short walk from Martin Place Station
Visit Royal Botanic Gardens for more details.

2. Yiribana Gallery – Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery NSW

The Yiribana Gallery at the Art Gallery of NSW is home to the largest permanent collection of Indigenous Australian art in Australia and amazingly entry in free! The collection includes both traditional and contemporary works by aboriginal artists and features bark painting, sculpture, weaving, prints, photography and watercolours.

If you would like to explore some great indigenous artworks but are not taking a trip down under try the free online tour

Key Facts – Art Gallery of NSW

When: Free guided tours of the Aboriginal collection at 11 am daily. Gallery open 10-5pm daily and 9 pm on Wednesdays
Where: Art Gallery Road, The Domain
Why: For the free tour and talk about Australian Aboriginal Art
How: a short walk from Martin Place Station or Bus 441 from the QVB

Visit Art Gallery of NSW for more details.

 

3. Australian Museum – an interactive indigenous Australian experience

If you are at all interested in the culture and history of the first Australians, then this museum is worth a visit. There is a good range of interactive exhibits that are suitable for both adults and children. Listen to dream time stories, learn about the Stolen Generation, view a collection of boomerangs, didgeridoos, and other artefacts.

The exhibit includes the problems faced by aboriginal communities both in the past and today, something which most Australians don’t talk about. Their website is a background for learning more about indigenous culture.

Key Facts – Australian Museum

When: 9.30am to 5.00pm every day except 25 December
Where: corner of College Street and William Street Sydney – opposite Hyde Park
Why: Large aboriginal cultural collection and lots more
How: a short walk from Museum or Town Hall Station
More: Visit Australian Museum website

Image By Pimlottc (Own work) GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

6. Aboriginal Rock Carvings – Indigenous Rock Art in Sydney’s National Parks

Bundeena Rock Art Sydney

There are several examples of rock carvings in the national parks around Sydney.

Berry Island Reserve – less than 20 minutes from the city and easily reached by public transport.  Take the signposted walk along the Gadyan Track and learn the story of the Cammeraigal, who used the area as a campsite.

Jibbon Point – Another site that can be reached by public transport is the Royal National Park at Bundeena. To get to the park catch the train to Cronulla and ferry to Bundeena. The best examples are at Jibbon Headland, take the walking track from Bundeena to Marley Head. There are signs with descriptions and among the engravings are boomerangs, sharks, fish and whale.

If you have a car there are some incredible engravings at West Head in Kuringai National Park The Basin Engraving Site and The Elvina Engraving Site – are located off West Head Road between Elvina Nature Trail and West Head are all easily accessible and well signposted.

Key Facts – Aboriginal Rock Cravings 

When: Any nice sunny day
Where: Berry Island is closest to the city, Bundeena is a train and ferry ride south, The Basin needs a car in my opinion.
Why: A bushwalk and some art make for a perfect day out
How:  Train
There are lots more  Rock art sites to explore if you have time.

When: Season runs June to December – check the calendar
Where: 15 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay NSW 2000
Why: A more subtle way to be exposed to some indigenous culture
How:  Walk from Circular Quay or take the

8. Blue Mountains Walkabout – A Blue Mountains tour with a difference

How to visit the Blue Mountains West of Sydney

In my opinion, this is probably the most complete Aboriginal experience you can get while you are visiting Sydney. You explore the beautiful Blue Mountains with a local Aboriginal guide who was raised in the area and has spent his life studying the local environment. The tour consists of a 4-hour bushwalk and 3 hours of hands-on style activities including bark and body painting, bush tucker tasting and a swim in the billabong in warm weather.

Key Facts – Blue Mountains Walkabout

When: 10.30am Monday to Friday and 10.45 am on weekends
Where: Tour departs from Falconbridge Station in the Blue Mountains.
Why: for a “real” aboriginal experience you will not forget
How: Take the train from Sydney – detailed instructions on the Blue Mountains Walkabout website.

Visit Blue Mountains Walkabout for more details.  See ideas for visiting the Blue Mountains without a tour here

4 Comments

  1. This is a great round-up of the options to get an experience of Indigenous culture and history in Sydney. (Came here via #WeekendWanderlust)

  2. Hi,

    I would like my Museum Gallery to be considered for your List.

    The Unique features of Ultimate Art Four Seasons : –

    Collaboration is a important different between Ultimate Art Gallery and other Major Galleries within Sydney. The theme is also reflected in the Sculptures which reside on level 3 this theme continues in the contemporary sections with the “Art in the Family” exhibition.

    The last exhibition we had two Collaborative pieces as the centrally part of the Exhibition both Sold I know no other gallery has these Collaborative pieces

    The other major point of difference between Ultimate Art and other Galleries is each sections theme is driven either by the Family’s or Category Theme

    Wild Flowers Dreaming has only been exhibited in Melbourne in 1988 as part of the Emily “Earth’s Creation Series run by Lauraine Diggins Fine Art now will be exhibited at the Four Seasons

    I offer Complementary Tours on a Daily basis see below

    https://ultimateart.com.au/book-a-tour/

    Also have been listed on Whatson

    https://www.sydney.com/things-to-do/aboriginal-culture/museums-and-sites

    Also I am in the rocks near some of the other top 10 attractions

    Regards
    Tim
    0435 844 347

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