Things to do in Sydney Harbor National Park

Image courtesy of Jorge Láscar

Beyond its gorgeous buildings, Sydney Harbor National Park lodgings separated beaches, rare pockets of local bush land and attractive islands. Swim, picnic and bushwalk along the spectacular geological formation or visit harbor islands on a ferry. Go sailing or kayaking, get up near wildlife and find out ancient rock art and convict-built buildings. The harbor’s bays, parks and headlands are also natural grandstands for a few of Australia's biggest events, from New Year's Eve fireworks to the Sydney to Hobart boat race.

You can hike all around Sydney's renowned harbor, on short trails, day walks or sections of the 100km Great Coastal Walk. On the harbor’s northern edge, discover popular beach precincts such as Balmoral Beach, Manly and Chowder Bay. Do the walk between Manly and the Spit Bridge, swim from pretty Chinamans Beach, and visit Taronga Zoo.  Get pleasure from spectacular views across the water from Bradleys Head and Middle Head, and Explore old forts and barracks. Brerath taking at Nielsen Park and Parsley Bay, where families gather in droves over summer. Feast on fish at South Head, then follow a heritage trail past the gap.

Image courtesy of Senning Luk

Monuments history are sprinkled across its harbor. Learn about the lives of the city's original peoples, the Cadigal people, on a cruise with an Aboriginal guide. Learn the Aboriginal names and meanings of Sydney's landmarks. Get up near rock-carvings and stop for a conventional Aboriginal welcome and bush tucker lunch on Clark Island.

See the legacy of Australia convict settlers at convict-built Cadmans house in The Rocks and also the old Quarantine Station at Manly. Join a camp nightlong on parrot Island, once a convict prison and ship dockyard. Today the prison barracks, workshops, huge grain silos, and underground tunnels are the background for events and latest exhibitions. Hop on a ferry to Fort Denison, where prisoners were placed in solitary confinement throughout the early days of the colony. Shark Island is a pretty spot for excursions.

Image courtesy of Jorge Láscar

This National Park protects all local vegetation where birds and animals thrive. Join a night tour to see nocturnal animals, spot sea birds and hear a cacophony of birds within the trees around Middle Head and North Head.

There are regular ferry services to several destinations around the harbor. Join a cruise for commentary with your scenery, or get on a boat to a personal beach. Otherwise, navigate your own way between the harbor’s bush-fringed bays and nacreous rock headlands on a sailing boat or kayak.

The park is also the hub for Sydney's hottest events. See every tall ship, ferries, yachts and boats race across the harbor on Australia Day or the start of the Sydney to Hobart sailing-race on the Boxing Day. Sydney’s people jostles for a waterfront position on New Year's Eve to see the world's greatest fireworks explodes off Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Image courtesy of Kay Adams


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