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Heritage walks around Sydney

Having arrived in Australia it’s time to stretch your legs. There are plenty of city walking tours on offer, and lots of opportunities to explore magnificent walking tracks free of crowds.

The Rocks Sydney NSW

In Sydney, start off by exploring the historic Rocks area of the city with Rocks Walking Tours.

The Rocks is considered to be the birthplace of European Australia. It’s packed with heritage buildings, boutiques, restaurants, and traditional pubs and tales of old-time convicts, pickpockets, and press-ganged sailors.

Unusual tours of the area include searching for ghosts, and exploring some of the city’s most atmospheric pubs on The Rocks Pub Tour.

One can also pick up some of the 12 self-guided historical walking tour brochures produced by the City of Sydney. Each brochure introduces you to a different area of the city and different aspects of Sydney’s fascinating history.

These self-guided historical walking tour brochures have been developed by the City of Sydney History Program to introduce you to different aspects of Sydney’s fascinating history.

Each brochure features a clear map of the walk with numbered points of interest, detours and museum stops suggested along the way. Each tour takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. More Details

Visitors to Sydney are usually amazed at all the greenery surrounding the famous harbour. In other parts of the world this ‘prime real estate’ would have been developed long ago, but here most of it is protected by the Sydney Harbour National Park.

There are several self-guided walks through the park. One of these is the 1.4km (0.9 mile) South Head Heritage Trail, known for its sandstone cliffs, historic fortifications, and sweeping views. You’ll see different angles of the harbour from a variety of lookouts on this track, which starts from Camp Cove in Watsons Bay.

Another lesser-known track is the 5km (3 mile) Bradleys Head and Chowder Head Walk. This starts near the Taronga Zoo ferry wharf and follows the shoreline through eucalypt forests. As well as spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House, you can see some of the historic cannons that once defended Sydney.

The 17km (10.5 mile) Manly Scenic Walkway offers more panoramic lookouts across Sydney Harbour. The trail takes in beaches, Aboriginal sites, community parks, forests, scrubland and even pockets of subtropical rainforest.

Among Sydney’s most challenging scenic tracks is the Coast Walk. The 26km (16 mile) walking trail spans the entire east coast of the Royal National Park from Bundeena to Otford. Experienced walkers can do it in one day, but it’s best completed in two. You will need camping equipment and plenty of water.

The walk leaves from Bundeena in Sydney’s south and takes in deserted beaches, coastal heathland, pockets of rainforest, and dramatic cliff tops. You can often spot whales during their annual migration. You can get to Bundeena from the surf-side suburb of Cronulla onboard the little M.V. Curranulla ferry. In 2009 this boat celebrated 70 years on the Cronulla to Bundeena ferry run. She remains the oldest commuter ferry in Australia working a regular timetable.

On Sydney’s western fringe you will find the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage-listed site containing plenty of marked walking trails ranging from easy strolls through dripping rainforest and around dramatic canyon rims, to adventurous hikes through the wilderness.

Walkabout in New South Wales

There is so much to do in New South Wales, but a week will surely persuade you to come back for more.

Day One

After breakfast head down to Circular Quay to see two Sydney icons at once the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the white-sailed Sydney Opera House.

Next, stroll across to The Rocks area to see where European Sydney started out. The compact waterside area is criss-crossed with alleyways and crammed with terraced houses, old pubs, and former maritime storehouses. Make the most of the experience by going on a guided walk with an operator such as The Rocks Walking Tours. 

Nearby are some steps that take you up to the walkway that spans the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can walk right across the bridge and take a local commuter train back to the city centre.

Or, you could actually climb the Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb. It’s a truly memorable experience, and the views from the top of the arch are magnificent.

Afterwards, head back to Circular Quay and take a boat trip on Sydney’s glorious harbour. There are lots of tour boats to choose from. One that gives an Aboriginal perspective on things is the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Culture Cruise. If you are the adventurous sort you could even take zip around the Harbour at break-neck speed on a jet boat.

From here you could walk past the Opera House and into the Royal Botanic Gardens. You might then want to pop into the Art Gallery of New South Wales, before heading towards the city again.

Ahead of you is Sydney Tower, the tallest building in Sydney. The tower offers stunning 360-degree views across the city, and beyond to The Blue Mountains. Daredevils can walk around the outside of the tower on a Skywalk.

Day 2
Spend the morning in Darling Harbour, Sydney’s main entertainment precinct. There are plenty of bars and restaurants around here with outdoor seating, and lots of major attractions.

A must is to clamber over real ships and a submarine at the Australian National Maritime Museum, and discover our love of maritime and the ocean.

Day 3
Today it’s time to head to the hills.

The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are less than two hours from Sydney. You can get there by train and join a tour, take a tour from Sydney, or wander around alone.

On the way, you could stop off to see the kangaroos and other creatures at Featherdale Wildlife Park.

In the Blue Mountains you can ride the world’s steepest incline railway and enjoy spectacular rainforest views from a cable car at Scenic World.

There are lots of incredible bushwalks, majestic waterfalls, and the sandstone escarpments and canyons are awesome. Stay the night if you wish to extend your trip, and immerse yourself in the amazing scenery again the next day.

Day 4
Travel back to Sydney and head north to the Hunter Valley wine country.

Most of the area’s 120 wineries offer tastings at the cellar door. There are plenty of great restaurants, romantic retreats, quality eateries, galleries, and producers selling handmade cheese and olive oil.

You can roam around the beautiful farming countryside on hired bicycles, in a horse and carriage, or even in a hot air balloon.

Day 5
From the Hunter Valley make your way to Port Stephens. The pristine waters of the harbour here are home to two large pods of bottlenose dolphins. You are almost guaranteed to see them on a dolphin-watch cruise. This is a perfect place to spot whales during their annual migration too.

If you want to see koalas in the wild then Port Stephen’s Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve offers a good opportunity.

Day 6
Drive south from Sydney via the Royal National Park on the new Grand Pacific Drive. A focal point of the trip is the dramatic 665-metre (2,181-foot) Sea Cliff Bridge. 

From here, the unspoilt natural beauty of the southern coastline of New South Wales unfolds in a series of bays, harbours, beaches and small townships.

You could stop off at Jervis Bay and the Aboriginal-managed Booderee National Park.
The park is known for its kangaroos and other wildlife, fascinating bushwalks, sparkling green water, and pristine beaches.

One of these is Hyams Beach, which has some of the world’s whitest and noisiest sands – it makes a loud squeaking sound when you walk on it.

You can go on a dolphin spotting cruise here, or take an adventurous dive among underwater arches, caves and rock stacks.

At Huskisson, camp among the kangaroos overnight, or stay at Woollomia Village Retreat, an Australian Historical replica village.

Day 7
Kangaroo Valley Views NSWYou might want to keep heading south along the coastal route all the way to Melbourne or beyond – or you can slowly head back to Sydney.

This time head inland via Kangaroo Valley, and call into the Southern Highlands, then return to Sydney.

This gorgeous rural area offers quaint towns, historic pubs and hotels, orchards and wineries, antiques, Devonshire teas, and a gentrified way of existence.

BridgeClimb Celebrates the 2.5 millionth Climber to Scale to the Summit of Sydney’s Icon

BridgeClimb Sydney has celebrated the 2.5 millionth Climber to experience “The Climb of their Life” on the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. At 10.05am on Friday 12 March 2010, Hilary Baker from the UK scaled to the summit of the Bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney.

Ms Baker, a coach driver from Sundon, England (just outside London), climbed with her partner Greg Ashworth as well as her sister Alison Kirkham and Alison’s husband John Kirkham.

“This is our first visit to Australia and what a way to be welcomed” Ms Baker said. “I have been looking forward to climbing the Bridge for so long, and to be lucky enough to be the 2.5 millionth climber…well this is just brilliant.”

At the summit Ms Baker was presented with a trophy containing a cement core from the original 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge foundation work, sourced from the excavation of the BridgeClimb access tunnel to the Bridge.

Todd Coates, Managing Director of BridgeClimb said “Hilary has travelled from across the globe to summit the Bridge today. Her story and the memory she will treasure forever is as unique and special as every one of our 2.5 million Climbers”.

Since BridgeClimb opened in October 1998 58% of Climbers have been international visitors to Sydney, 24% were Sydney-siders and 18% were from the rest of Australia.


BridgeClimb now have three exciting climbs to the summit of the Bridge; The Bridge Climb, The Discovery Climb and The Express Climb, all available at dawn, during the day, twilight and at night. For booking enquiries call (02) 8274 7777 or book online at www.bridgeclimb.com

2.5 millionth Climber Pictures by James Morgan on behalf of Bridgeclimb, Sydney, Australia.

Australian Convict Sites

There are 11 convict sites (known as the Australian Convict Sites) that make up Australia’s World Heritage. The sites are:

  • New South Wales: Old Government House and Domain (Parramatta), Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney), Cockatoo Island Convict Site (Sydney) and Old Great North Road (near Wiseman’s Ferry).
  • Norfolk Island: Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).
  • Tasmania: Port Arthur Historic Site (Tasman Peninsula), Cascades Female Factory (Hobart), Darlington Probation Station (Maria Island), Coal Mines Historic Site (via Premadeyna) and Brickendon-Woolmers Estates (near Longford).
  • Western Australia: Fremantle Prison.

The Australian Convict Sites were listed under criteria (iv) and (vi) under the UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention  for its outstanding global significance.

In July 2010 the World Heritage Convention’s announced that Kingston and Arthurs Vale on Norfolk Island and the other 10 Australian convict sites to be listed on the World Heritage List.

Contact Heritage Tourism for KAVHA tour details

Australian National Maritime Museum

Australians are closely linked to the sea through commerce, defence, exploration, adventure, sport and play. Our oceans and waterways have influenced our development…and who we are.

The museum captures these themes with fascinating artefacts, lively exhibitions, fun activities and even the chance to board ships and experience life on the water. Explore today!

The Australian National Maritime Museum, on the western shore of Sydney’s Darling Harbour, is in a lively heritage precinct with many attractions. The distinctive main building, with a roofline evoking waves and sails, houses exhibitions that:

  • explore Australia’s links with the sea
  • consider how maritime activities and issues have shaped the lives of people in Australia.

These exhibitions are themed, ranging from Indigenous lore and European seafaring to aquatic sport and the maritime defence of our shores.

Australian National Maritime Museum

City of Canada Bay Museum Concord Sydney

The City of Canada Bay Museum SydneyWelcome to the Concord Heritage Society displays of the history of the area – the former municipalities of Concord and Drummoyne.

Our kitchen (1930-1950 vintage) delights both young and old.  It brings back many memories for the older generations and intrigues the younger ones.

Toys from a bygone era also fascinate the children. But one of our most important displays is of the lawn mowers.

iconic Aussie rotary mowerHave you ever wondered where the iconic Aussie rotary mower, the Victa, originated?  

Mervyn Victor Richardson took “borrowing your neighbour’s lawn mower” to a whole new level when he laid eyes on the petrol-driven rotary mower designed by his neighbour, Lawrence Hall, a Marine Engineer, in 1948.   Visit our museum to learn more.

The City of Canada Bay MuseumTo really appreciate what is on offer you need to come and see for yourself.  

We are at 1 Bent Street, Concord.

Opening Hours:  Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Admission FREE.  Donations appreciated.
www.concordheritage.asn.au

Chain Gang – Convicts

As many as 50,000 convicts transported to New South Wales from around the old British Empire spent some time at the Barracks.

Based at the Barracks, they provided the labour and skills that built the colony. Later the old building was a temporary home for thousands of female immigrants and infirm or destitute women. By the turn of the 20th century its rooms and corridors echoed to the sound of lawyers, clerks and a range of public servants working at a variety of jobs from providing law courts to public services like the vaccine institute and government printer. Today it is a museum of its own history and a window into our past.

Today it is a museum of its own history and a window into our past.

Hyde_Park_Barracks_Museum