Stream/s: Reaching Conservation Goals; Inspiring a new generation; Improving health and wellbeing; Respecting Indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture
Host Organisation: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with Sydney Living Museums
Location: Sydney Harbour National Park (Fort Denison) and Sydney Living Museums (Justice & Police Museum and Museum of Sydney)

Book here

Above Image: K McGrath OEH
Tile Image: D Finnegan Sydney Living Museums

New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with Sydney Living Museums invites you to explore Sydney’s rich and layered cultural heritage. On this excursion you will visit Fort Denison, and have a chance to uncover some of the darkest convict tales, and then to dig further into the city’s history at the Museum of Sydney and the Justice & Police Museum. Join us and learn how agencies collaborate to protect and promote the diverse heritage of a growing city.

Your journey will begin with a ferry cruise down the Parramatta River from Sydney Olympic Park, where National Parks and Wildlife Service guides will set the scene for the day. You will have a chance 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. At the highest vantage point on the island you will receive a welcome to country by a local Aboriginal custodian before being invited to share a traditional morning tea with special invited guests. You will then be invited to take a tour of the site with a National Parks and Wildlife Service guide who will give you insights 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, your next stop is Circular Quay, the hub of Sydney’s ferry travel. A great place for an easy harbour-side stroll, the Quay will present you with plenty of opportunities for some memorable photographic moments in front of Sydney’s treasured icons – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. You will be taken on a guided tour of two of Sydney’s favourite museums: the Justice and Police Museum and the Museum of Sydney. Here you will learn how the built heritage of the city took form, gain insights into the rich diversity of the communities that make up Sydney as well as explore fascinating tales of crime and punishment past and present.

Lunch will be enjoyed in the city before taking the ferry back to Sydney Olympic Park in time to take in the afternoon entertainment at PlanetFest.

Particulars and requirements

The first part of this excursion will be on a boat and Harbour Island. The second part of the excursion will include tours of two of Sydney Living Museums. A good level of fitness is recommended as there will be slight uphill walking from Circular Quay to the museums.


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