This walk explores a great section of Sydney Harbour National Park. The walk starts with views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the views continue to get better as you explore bushland and the bays along the way. The walk also explores a historic section of the Harbour, including the fortifications at Bradley's Head and Chowder Bay. Some sections of this walk are closed at night. There are a few places to get food along the way, and many great places to eat your own packed lunch.
Side trips and Alternate routes mentioned in these notes are not included in the tracks overall rating, distance or time estimate. The notes only describe the side trips and Alternate routes in one direction. Allow extra time for resting and exploring areas of interest. Please ensure you and your group are well prepared and equipped for all possible hazards and delays. The authors, staff and owners of wildwalks take care in preparing these notes but will not accept responsibility for any inconvenience, loss or injury sustained by using these notes or maps.
Sydney Harbour National Park contains landscapes of great beauty, historic places of national and state significance, Aboriginal sites, wildlife habitats and rare plants of scientific and educational interest. The park is also a major recreational resource for the people of Sydney and attracts many Australian and international visitors.
Sydney Harbour National Park covers 393 hectares of headlands, beaches and islands in and around Sydney Harbour. It is surrounded by suburbs, defence reserves, industrial and commercial developments and marine facilities. It also adjoins a number of conservation and open space reserves managed by local councils.
The current extent of Sydney Harbour National Park is shown on the park map (centre pages). The park covers four major headlands on the northern side of the harbour (North Head, Dobroyd Head, Middle/Georges Head and Bradleys Head), and two major headlands on the southern side of the harbour (South Head and Nielsen Park), as well as a number of smaller, separate areas of land on both sides of the harbour. It also includes five islands within the harbour: Clark Island, Shark Island, Rodd Island, Goat Island and Fort Denison.
The proposal to establish one national park around Sydney Harbour, incorporating all public foreshore lands, was first raised by the National Trust in 1968. In 1975 Sydney Harbour National Park was established over parts of North Head, Dobroyd Head, Bradleys Head, Shark Island and Clark Island in order to protect the scenic gateway to the city and the remnant vegetation of Sydney Harbour. In 1979, following negotiations with the Commonwealth Government, land previously used for defence purposes was added to the park, and various other parcels of land have since been added. The most recent additions were Fort Denison and Goat Island, which were reserved as part of the park in 1995.
Sydney presently has a population of around 3.6 million people, which is expected to increase to around 4.6 million by 2011. Sydney Harbour National Park is a major recreational resource for the people of Sydney, particularly those residing in the nearby suburbs. It also attracts many Australian and international visitors,
especially to the main lookout areas and increasingly to its walking tracks, while even greater numbers enjoying viewing the park from harbour cruises. It is estimated that there are approximately 2 million visits to the park each year.
Sydney Harbour National Park is one of a group of national parks in the Sydney metropolitan area, which includes Botany Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase, Garigal, Lane Cove and Royal National Parks, that conserve sections of the coastline, the harbour and sandstone environments with a range of Aboriginal sites, historic places, native plants and animals and habitats