Sydney Harbour National Park
Did you know that the foreshore and islands around Sydney Harbour are actually part of a national park? From Bradley’s Head in the north, Nielsen Park in the east, and including Fort Denison and Goat Island, Sydney Harbour National Park is home to coastal walks, beaches and coves, bushwalking tracks, picnic areas, native wildlife living in rare pockets of bushland (and whales in the harbour during winter), convict-built buildings and military fortifications, Aboriginal sites and even a heritage lighthouse – all set around the harbour’s stunning coastline. 150 years of NSW military history can be accessed at
Middle Head, including the 1801 Fort above Obelisk Beach. Walk the Don Goodsir track to the Fort (guided tours available October-May) and explore underground tunnels from the 1870s, sandstone and gun pits and more.
From North Head at Manly, take the gentle and short family-friendly Fairfax Walk for fabulous views across the harbour and, in winter, you may even spot a whale or two. Try the Manly Scenic Walk and Bluefish Track to iconic Shelley Beach. If you’re game, join a Ghost Tour of Sydney’s historic Quarantine Station!
The South Head heritage trail starts at Camp Cove in the city’s east where the sheer ocean cliffs and The Gap, at Watson’s Bay, loom high above the harbour. Stroll the short and easy walk along an 1870s cobblestone road, past Lady Bay Beach, to the distinctive red and white striped historic Hornby Lighthouse, built in 1858. Don’t forget to visit Nielsen Park in Vaucluse, one of Sydney’s most famous family-friendly spots to play and relax, alongside awesome views. nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/ Sydney-Harbour-National- Park
Royal National Park
Where: In Sydney’s south About: The world’s second oldest national park is affectionately known as the ‘Nasho’ or simply, ‘the Royal’, and boasts 16,000ha of big beautiful backyard, with everything from rainforest to surf beaches.
Camping: YES Highlights:
• Spend the day at Wattamolla picnic area and enjoy swimming in the tranquil lagoon and exploring beach tracks.
• Stroll the pram-and- wheelchair-friendly Bungoona Path, bird-and- wildlife- watching as you go. Take a picnic with you and enjoy the views.
• Garie Beach picnic area is a great spot for families to play together – and marvel at the sensational views from Governor Game lookout.
Ku-ring-gai National Park
Where: In Sydney’s north About: This vast national park stretches from Sydney’s most northern point at Palm Beach, across Pittwater and all the way to the gateway to the Central Coast. Ku-ring-gai was Australia’s second national park, and home to the Garrigal of the Guringai Nation. The park is heritage-listed and has recorded over 800 Aboriginal sites.
Camping: YES Highlights:
• Visit Bobbin Head, a family favourite with plenty of picnic and playground areas, bbqs, fishing, walking tracks and more.
• Take a guided tour of historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse (every Sunday) that sits at Sydney’s northernmost