National Trust Heritage Festival 2016


Discovery and Rediscoveries is the 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival theme. With seven tours running as part of the festival, Kotahi Tourism and our Indigenous partners offer plenty to discover about the history, cultural heritage and natural environment of New South Wales!


This is the first of a series of blogs about the 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival and introduces you to two very different cultural heritage tours that both take place on Gadigal Country in Tallawoladah  – The Rocks in Sydney.

The Rocks is well known by most Australians for it’s colonial history – generally interpreted as the place where the ‘first fleet’ of eleven ships from England docked in 1788 and convicts, marines and sailors disembarked and ‘set up camp’. Of course, this was an invasion of Gadigal Country – the history of the area goes back much further than 1788, at least 60,000 years!

The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour

A leisurely 90-minute walk with an Aboriginal guide on The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour is the perfect way to learn more about the rich Aboriginal cultural heritage of Tallawoladah (The Rocks).

The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tours are run by Indigenous Tourism Champions,  Dreamtime Southern X and tours depart daily (10.30-12) from outside Cadmans Cottage, 110 George St, The Rocks.

Please note, some dates during the festival are already fully booked – don’t miss out!

Poihākena tours: stories of Māori in Sydney

On this 2-hour walking tour with a Māori guide you’ll discover fascinating and surprising stories of Māori history and heritage in Tallawoladah – The Rocks.

Our first Poihākena tour for the 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival marks the 223 year anniversary of the first (recorded) visit of Māori to Sydney. Tuki Tahua and Ngahuruhuru had been kidnapped from the far north of Aotearoa – New Zealand by the British and were brought to Poihākena (Sydney) en-route to Norfolk Island, arriving 15th April 1793. To cut a long story very short, this was the beginning of Māori connections with New South Wales including trade and migration. These days one in five Māori live in Australia.

Winner of the 2015 National Trust Heritage Festival Award for Tours and Multimedia,  Poihakena tours: stories of Māori in Sydney was inspired by the discoveries of  greenstone (pounamu) cultural treasures (taonga) on an archaeological site in The Rocks, which we visit on the tour.  As well as the 223rd anniversary tour on Saturday April 16th, there’s also a Poihākena tour on May 14th. Tours run 11am – 1pm and depart from Campbells Cove, The Rocks.


Bookings are essential for all our festival tours. The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage  Tour and Poihākena tours: stories of Māori in Sydney can be also booked for private groups and are offered as curriculum-linked education programs for schools.

Look out for more blogs coming soon to learn about our 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival tours in Conjola, Narooma (South Coast); Scotts Head and Gaagal Waanggan National Park (NSW North Coast) and Parramatta. If you can’t wait, call us on 0419 836 341 or visit the festival website to find out more!