Enjoy these distinctive urban parklands - they're free to everyone to visit all year round.
Escape to Cockatoo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage listed sanctuary in the heart of Sydney Harbour. Formerly a convict penal establishment, reformatory school and naval ship dockyard, Cockatoo Island offers heritage accommodation, a waterfront campground, a program of exciting tours, family-friendly cafés and tranquil picnic spots with panoramic harbour views.
Located on the Mosman peninsula, Headland Park comprises three unique precincts – Georges Heights, Middle Head and Chowder Bay. Formerly occupied by six defence bases, Headland Park features military remnants, coastal bush walks with distinctive harbour views and heritage buildings, sympathetically repurposed by artists, cafes and other local businesses.
Perched upon the clifftop of Vaucluse, Macquarie Lightstation is the site of Australia’s original lighthouse. Completed in 1818, Macquarie Lighthouse was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway for the Govenor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie. Crumbling sandstone foundations led to the construction of a replacement lighthouse in 1883. Designed by James Barnet to closely resemble the original, this lighthouse is still in operation.
Originally a research laboratory and later used to house army officers, the Marine Biological Station at Camp Cove was one of the first buildings established in Watson’s Bay. Today, it is leased as a private residence. Although it is closed to the public, it can be viewed from the beach at Camp Cove and by those undertaking Sydney’s Great Coastal Walk.
A spectacular nature refuge, bordered by dramatic cliffs, North Head Sanctuary is located on the peninsula at the northern entrance to Sydney Harbour. As you explore the park’s coastal bushland, you’ll discover diverse flora and fauna, military fortifications from World War II and signs of the park’s enduring significance for its Traditional Owners and Custodians: the Gayamagal.
Formerly a torpedo factory, submarine base and gasworks, Sub Base Platypus is now an emerging public domain. Featuring a shaded barbeque area with seating, a maritime-themed playground, and a scenic over-water walkway to Kesterton Park, enjoy the waterfront position and engage with local history.
Image: Diramu Aboriginal Dance and Didgeridoo at Sub Base Platypus Community Open Day 2018
Situated on the Hunter’s Hill peninsula at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, Woolwich Dock is a working sandstone dry dock co-located with a restaurant and function centre. The historic dock is bordered by public parklands with striking views of Sydney Harbour, including Cockatoo Island.