Working together to conserve rich cultural and natural heritage in a complex urban landscape

Stream/s: Reconciling development challenges; Improving health and wellbeing; Reaching conservation goals; Respecting Indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture; Inspiring a new generation; Marine
Host Organisation: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with Taronga Conservation Society
Location: Sydney Harbour National Park (Fort Denison and Clark Island)


*This excursion is invitation only. Please select another experience.
If you are interested in a Sydney Harbour- based experience you may like to consider the “Cockatoo Island” excursion or either the “Sydney Harbour Museums” or “Sydney Harbour Botanic Garden” excursion, both of which also go to Fort Denison.

Above Image: Minouschka Lush
Tile Image: Murray Vanderveer

New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service welcomes you to become immersed in the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Sydney Harbour. On this excursion you will visit two Sydney Harbour National Parks – Fort Denison and Clark Island. You will meet Indigenous custodians, talk with park rangers and even have face to face encounters Australian animals from Taronga Zoo.

Your journey will begin with a ferry cruise down the Parramatta River from Sydney Olympic Park, where your hosts will set the scene for the day. You will have an opportunity to try out the new interactive app “Against the Tide” that gives you the choice of selecting one of a variety of stories about experiences linked to the habitation of Sydney – some over 250 years old and others contemporary – as you make your way into Sydney Harbour.

Fort Denison will be your first stop. Originally a popular fishing spot for local Aboriginal people, this small rocky island in the centre of Sydney Harbour became a penal colony after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. With a 360-degree view, today it is a coveted vantage point from which to experience Sydney, especially on New Year’s Eve.

At Fort Denison you will receive a welcome to country by a local Aboriginal custodian before being invited to share a traditional morning tea. National Parks and Wildlife Service guides will take you on a tour of the site and help you uncover some of the island’s dark and haunting secrets– there is good reason why Fort Denison is also referred to as ‘Pinch Gut Island’.

Back on the ferry you’ll cruise past Chowder Bay, which was named after the whalers who made chowder from the abundant seafood in the mid-1800s. Your journey will continue past other places on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour National Park and you will hear about the local flora and fauna, and more about the safeguarding history of the harbour.

Clark Island will be the next stop. There you will be treated to an Aboriginal dance and learn how Aboriginal people used the resources of the harbour in their daily lives. A visit to the island by the Zoomobile from Taronga Zoo will also give you the chance to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s unique fauna.

You have a chance to enjoy the exceptional views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge while you enjoy your picnic lunch, and then take a stroll along the island’s bushland pathways.

The boat will return to Circular Quay to collect delegates from the other Sydney Harbour excursions before continuing back to Sydney Olympic Park in time for you to enjoy the afternoon entertainment at PlanetFest.

Particulars and requirements

This excursion will predominantly be from a boat, with visits to two Sydney Harbour Islands.


Transportation: Return travel to Sydney Olympic Park via ferry. There will be a communique to delegates closer to the date regarding options to get to/back from Sydney Olympic Park pre/post excursion.
Meals: Morning tea and lunch *Catering will include some vegetarian options. Delegates with other special dietary requirements will need to bring their own packed food/beverage.

What to bring

  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Closed-toe walking shoes
  • Sun lotion
  • Weather gear (hat, rain jacket, a sweater/warm clothing in case the wind picks up on the water)
  • Water bottle


Weather conditions can be checked at

IUCN WCPA Parks Australia NSW NPWS