Sydney Harbour National Park
Sydney Harbor National Park is located in the southeastern part of Australia in the southeast of New South Wales. The national park boundaries encompass an area of only 1.5 square miles (3.92 sq km).
Most people think of the renowned Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Bridge when the think about the Sydney Harbor. The opera house is one of the most recognized structures in the world.
The park incorporates a portion of Port Jackson and parts of the city of Sydney. The renowned Sydney Harbor is at the heart of the park, however, there are many other facets of the area under the protection of the park. There is both natural tranquility with beaches, islands, and aquatic reserves along with cultural heritage through colonial and military features.
Landforms and cultural features within the park boundaries include:
- Bradleys Head
- Clark Island
- Dobroyd Head
- Fort Denison
- Georges Head
- Goat Island
- Middle Head
- Nielsen Park
- Rodd Island
- Shark Island
- Sydney Heads
Sydney Harbor National Park is an opportunity to escape the hustle of the city and enjoy some of the serenity of the beaches and islands within the park. Bradleys Head provides views out of the harbor looking into the city with the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Bridge.
This is one of the first places in the world that welcomes in the new year with spectacular firework displays off of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic architectural structures in the world.
The most striking features of Fort Denison is the Martello Tower and the barrack and battery buildings. The tower may be accessed to experience views of the harbor which also includes views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Bridge.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognized and identifiable architectural structures in the world. This striking achievement of mankind is visible from Fort Denison and some of the national park grounds.
The Sydney Opera House is comprised of a series of concrete shells. The total building covers an area of 4.4 acres (1.8 ha) measuring 600 feet (183 m) long and 394 feet (120 m) wide.
The radius of the Sydney Opera House is 246 feet 8.6 inches (183 m). The tallest point reaches a height of 219.81 feet (67 m). The primary concert hall has seating for 2,679 people. There are five other entertaining areas inside the building.
The Sydney Bridge is a steel arch bridge with pathways for trains, automobiles, and pedestrians. It is 160 feet (48.8 m) making it one of the widest long-span bridges in the world. The top of the bridge is 440 feet (134 m) from the surface of the water.
The bridge is 3,770 feet (1,149 m) in total with the longest span coming in at 1,650 feet (503 m). The Sydney Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world. It often serves as the focal point during holiday celebrations and is one of the first places the world looks to when bringing in the new year.
Sydney Harbour National Park Trails
There are several trails ranging from easy to moderate making for nice escapes into nature for breaks from work, day outings, or long weekend play.
Gap Bluff - Green Point Trail
This is an easy rated 1.6-mile (2.57 km) loop trail that provides lookouts and views of the rugged rocky coastline.
Balmoral Beach Trail
This is a 3.6-mile (5.79 km) out and back trail that provides views of the harbor, access to the beach, and chances to see some historical sites as well. It is family-friendly while giving everyone a chance to explore and see.
Manly to the Rocks Trail
This is a long but partially paved trail with views of the harbor and varying coastlines. It has an elevation gain of 2,395 feet (730 m) over a distance of 21.2 miles (34.12 km).
Blue Fish Trail
This 7-mile (11.26 km) loop trail provides views of the harbor, chances to see wildlife, and is family-friendly. It gives access to swimming at Cabbage Tre Bay or Manly Beach. There are stairs that make some of the ascents easier while exploring this part of the national park.
Sydney Harbour Highlights
- Fort Denison
- Sydney Opera House
- Sydney Bridge
- All Trails, Best Trails in Sydney Harbor National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/australia/new-south-wales/sydney-harbour-national-park, retrieved June 2020.
- Australia, Sydney Harbor National Park, https://www.australia.com/en-us/places/sydney-and-surrounds/guide-to-sydney-harbour-national-park.html, retrieved September 2019.
- Britannica, Sydney, https://www.britannica.com/place/Sydney-New-South-Wales, retrieved September 2019.
- Britannica, Sydney Harbor Bridge, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sydney-Harbour-Bridge, retrieved June 2020.
- Britannica, Sydney Opera House, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sydney-Opera-House, retrieved June 2020.
- Lonely Planet, Sydney Harbor National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/australia/sydney/attractions/sydney-harbour-national-park/a/poi-sig/1104299/362319, retrieved September 2019.
- NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Sydney Harbor National Park, https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/sydney-harbour-national-park, retrieved September 2019.