Founded as a British penal colony on 26 January 1788 by Arthur Phillip, Sydney is one of the oldest European settlement in Australia. Sydney is a vast sprawling city, and is surrounded by nature and national parks, which extend into the suburbs and right to the shores of the harbor.
Sydney Harbor National Park – A national park comprising parts of Sydney Harbor, foreshores and various islands. The Sydney Harbour National Park shelters secluded beaches, picturesque islands and rare pockets of native bush land. Travelers can swim, picnic, visit convict-built buildings and hike along the beautiful foreshore or visit harbor islands on a ferry. We recommend visitors go sailing or kayaking, get up close to the wildlife in the park and discover ancient rock art. For the adventurous and active, hike your way around Sydney’s famous harbor. There’s a variety of options depending on how much hiking you want to do, from short trails to day walks or even sections of the 100km Great Coastal Walk. North of the harbor, visitors can head to popular beach areas such as Balmoral Beach, Manly and Chowder Bay. We recommend visitors check out the Taronga Zoo, and walk between Manly and the Spit Bridge. There are plenty of old forts and barracks left over from Australia’s colorful history for visitors to explore and there are spectacular views across the water from Bradleys Head and Middle Head! Towards the south is Nielsen Park and Parsley Bay, where families gather in droves over summer. There are also Aboriginal sites, military fortifications and historic sites stretching back to the early years of the colony, plus archaeological features and over a thousand engravings at the Quarantine Station. Due to the sheer size of this national park, its always good to pack lunch and spend a whole day there.