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Hello North Head Sanctuary

The Harbour Trust has awoken key objects and landmarks at North Head Sanctuary in Manly, and they’re eager to have a conversation with you! Introducing our Hello Harbour Trust initiative…

When you next visit North Head Sanctuary – a coastal nature refuge with heritage military landmarks dating back to 1936 – look out for the green "Hello" signs to kickstart a lively and informative conversation.

As you speak to objects, including landmarks from across different eras, you’ll learn about their place in Australia’s First Nations and defence narratives. Plus, you’ll receive helpful visitor tips, information about the natural environment, and be given opportunities to have your say on important matters and provide feedback on their visitor experience. 

So, what are you waiting for? Join the conversation!

How it works

Eager to start a conversation? Anyone can speak to our talking objects – all you need is a mobile phone!

To chat to a talking object, simply follow these steps:

  1. Look out for our green "Hello" signs (see: talking object map).

  2. Scan the QR code on the sign or text the advertised phone number.

  3. Answer the object’s questions, provide your feedback, and get to know each other.

  4. Once you’ve wrapped up your conversation, look out for other green "Hello" signs to awaken another object. 
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Interactive map

North Head Sanctuary features eight talking landmarks, including a visitor guide. Want to speak with them all? Check out this interactive map to discover where they are…

Visitor information

To ensure your time at North Head Sanctuary is enjoyable and hassle-free, refer to the below information…

Visitor guidelines arrow

For your own safety, and to protect the park’s flora and fauna, please remain on the dedicated walking or bike tracks when exploring the bushland and observe the following rules, enforceable by our rangers:

Conditions of entry: Do not feed wildlife or bring pets; only use bikes on designated bike tracks; do not litter, dump rubbish or leave dog waste; do not camp overnight; do not erect gazebos or marquees (without a permit); do not operate remote-controlled vehicles (including drones); do not smoke, light fires or use portable barbeques; remain on dedicated bush tracks; do not play amplified music (without a permit) or create excessive noise; do not undertake commercial activities (without a permit); do not hold private functions (without a permit); do not disturb plants, soil and rocks; do not skateboards or scooters on footpaths or walking tracks; do not climb walls, fortifications, sculptures or cliffs.

Total fire bans: In the event of a total fire ban, tracks and trails will be closed for the public’s safety (penalties apply). For more information, dial 1800 679 737 for the NSW Rural Fire Service’s bush fire information line.

Emergency and security arrow

North Head Sanctuary is patrolled by rangers from 8am to 4pm and by security personnel from 4pm and 8am. In the event of an emergency, dial 000 or 112 if mobile reception is poor. To contact a ranger during an emergency, call 0434 652 152 (8am to 4pm). Alternatively, to contact a security officer, call 0433 631 689 (4pm to 8am).

Facilities and accessibility arrow

Our visitor centre and carpark offer wheelchair access as well as accessible parking and toilets. Please keep in mind that North Head Sanctuary is a natural environment with uneven surfaces and that some walking tracks include stairs and medium inclines. There is a bike rack outside the visitor centre.

Parking arrow

Parking is available in marked spaces at North Head Sanctuary. Check signage for any fees or time limits. Subject to sign-posted time limits, parking is free of charge for motorcycles and drivers with Mobility Scheme Permits. Parking permits issued by Northern Beaches Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service are not valid in Harbour Trust parking areas.

Recommended routes arrow
Disruptions arrow

Upgrades to the North Head Scenic Area: NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service are carrying out upgrades to the North Head Scenic Area, including the carparks and landscaping, to improve the visitor experience and access to this section of the Sydney Harbour National Park.

These works are expected to start the week of 18 October 2021 along North Head Scenic Road between the Bella Vista Café and the start of the loop road. Works are expected to take approximately 3 months. During these works, visitors will still be able to drive and park at North Fort, visit North Head Sanctuary and access Bella Vista Café, which remains open for takeaway.  The following disruptions will occur:

  • Pedestrian access to the Fairfax loop will be closed during the first stage of construction (approximately 6 weeks). This will be reinstated once works are complete for new footpaths.
  • Local buses will be required to stop at the roundabout at the Q-Station. Buses and other large vehicles will not be able to access North Head past the Bella Vista Café.

For up to date information on the project including the upgrade plans, visit environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/parks-reserves-and-protected-areas/park-management/community-engagement/north-head-upgrade

Visitor centre temporarily closed: Our volunteer-run visitor centre at North Head sanctuary remains closed. for further details, see our COVID-19 updates webpage. 

Visitor access to North Head Sanctuary (January 2022): The public areas of North Head Sanctuary are largely open as is neighbouring land at North Head managed by the NSW National Parks. The following exceptions apply:

  • Although Fairfax Walking Track is accessible to the public, temporary fencing is in place to ensure public safety and support vegetation to regenerate.
  • Fairfax lookout will remain closed until the NPWS has repaired the fences and made the area safe. Visitors are advised not to enter the closed lookout area and keep to paths.

  • North Head Sanctuary – Closures Map (pdf)

See also: North Head Sanctuary – Status of walks and tracks following burn

Fox baiting: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is carrying out an ongoing baiting program at North Head Sanctuary to control foxes for the protection of native fauna including threatened species such as Long-nosed Bandicoots and Little Penguins. The current notification is for the period 1 August 2021 to 31 January 2022. The program uses manufactured baits, fresh baits and Canid Pest Ejectors containing 1080 poison (sodium fluoroacetate). Warning signs are located at the entries to sites being baited.

Visitors are advised not to touch the baits or ejectors. Further, pets may be affected (1080 is lethal to dogs and cats) and are not permitted at North Head Sanctuary. Working dogs must be restrained or muzzled in the vicinity and must not enter the baiting locations. Penalties apply for non-compliance. In the event of accidental poisoning, seek immediate veterinary assistance. For further information, please call the Harbour Trust on (02) 8969 2128.

Visitor access to North Head: Since October 2021, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have been carrying out upgrades to the North Head Scenic Area, including the carparks and landscaping, to improve the visitor experience and access to this section of the Sydney Harbour National Park. NPWS plan to carry out these works in stages to minimise impact on visitor access:

  • Pedestrians will have access to the Fairfax track from late January 2022.
  • The loop road will be closed to traffic between October and March 2022.
  • Carpark 2 is closed until March 2022.
  • Carpark 1 is currently open but will be closed from January 2022 (date to be advised) until March 2022.
  • The Bella Vista Café and North Head Sanctuary (managed by the Harbour Trust) will be open during the duration of works.
  • Site fencing will be in place at North Head Scenic Drive around the construction zone.

Please check the current alerts when planning your visit, particularly around the upcoming summer holiday season.

Directions arrow

By car: From Manly, follow Darley Road onto North Head Scenic Drive and pass through the stone archway and Q Station roundabout. Continue for approx. 2km and turn left at North Fort to arrive at our visitor centre and carpark.

By bus: The 161 bus service runs from Manly Wharf to North Head. For public transport information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website.

Helpful links

Want to learn more about North Head Sanctuary or speak to objects at other Harbour Trust destinations? Here are some useful links...