Sydney Harbour National Park
Sydney Harbour National Park comprises a series of small foreshore areas of great natural beauty and historic importance around one of the world’s most stunningly beautiful natural harbours. The park includes South Head with its historic fortiﬁcations, sandstone cliffs and 1858 Hornby Lighthouse; Nielsen Park, known for its lovely picnic spots, swimming and picturesque, heritage-listed 1852 Greycliffe House; Bradleys Head, the site of Taronga Zoo and superlative views of the landmark Opera House and Harbour Bridge; Middle Head where military fortiﬁcations date back to the Napoleonic era; Dobroyd Head with its natural coastal heathland; and North Head, containing the Old Quarantine Station and spectacular views from the craggy cliffs looming 90 metres above the water. The park also protects Goat, Shark, Rodd and Clark islands and Fort Denison.
The harbour area was part of the traditional lands of the Eora, Guringai and Dharug nations. Evidence of their culture and lifestyle was rapidly destroyed following the arrival of the First Fleet, yet even today some Indigenous sites remain and Aboriginal culture lives on. Convict-built fortiﬁcations, walls and even cottages are among the tangible signs of Australia’s colonial days.
There are many walking trails, but a ﬁne way to appreciate the harbour is the Manly Scenic Walk (9.5 km one way, 4 hours) from The Spit to Manly, a trail of sweeping views, pretty coves and beaches, Aboriginal sites and pockets of subtropical rainforest. The park has beaches for swimming, good scuba diving (especially around North and South heads), excellent rock and beach ﬁshing, and a multitude of leafy picnic venues. Sydney ferries cruise the harbour and there are also many ranger-led tours, including fascinating heritage tours of the former convict island prison of Fort Denison and fortiﬁed Goat Island.
Location and access
Located around Sydney Harbour and accessible at a number of points by car or public transport
- NSWNPWS 1300 072 757
- Cadmans Cottage, 110 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney (02) 9253 0888
Sydney (02) 9240 8788