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Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney: Aboriginal Heritage Tour

  • Things to do
  • Sydney
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Time Out says

Gain an insight into the flora used by the world's oldest living culture

Stingless bee colonies, climbing Moreton Bay fig trees and juicy Davidson plums are just a few of the natural wonders you’ll see (and taste) on this tour of Sydney’s harbourside horticultural oasis. You’ll walk by some of Sydney’s most famous landmarks as you trail around the fringe of the city looking back out to the Opera House, Mrs Macquarie's Chair and the Harbour Bridge. This walk, however, focuses on the Indigenous history of the land, outlining the origins of Sydney from the perspective of the world’s oldest living culture. You’ll wander through Farm Cove and learn about how the Gadigal people lived and worked with the seasons before the area was colonised. Time Out visits on a sunny Thursday morning and our guide Henrietta Baird cheerfully imparts her knowledge of every plant, tree, flower and nut on the 1.5-hour tour.

While this is a tour of beauty, you’ll also gain insight to the practical uses the flora is put to by Gadigal people. Soft yellow banksias can be used for maintaining embers and as a painting tool; candlenuts can be soaked and eaten or used for their multi-purpose oil; paperbark is used for everything from wrapping food to swaddling babies; and those tall, thick Gymea lily stems were used to practice spearing, while the bases can be roasted and eaten. Seeing this ingenuity in action is impressive. You’ll also learn about the deep connection to seasonality – when wattles are in bloom you’ll know that whales are migrating, while stingless bee colonies act as natural barometer (when it’s below 14 degrees, they won’t be out). In a busy city, it’s a special reminder to slow down, observe nature and acknowledge our history.

Find more of the best tours in Sydney.

Written by
Jordi Kretchmer


Garden Shop
Mrs Macquaries Rd
View Website
$30, kids $20
Opening hours:
Wed, Fri & Sat 10-11.30am
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