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Wish You Were Here: A Not-So-Secret Secret Island in Sydney Harbour

March 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | ()

Ask any Sydney tourist where to go for the best views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and they’ll most likely recommend a trip on the Manly Ferry, which departs from Circular Quay near the base of the bridge. It’s a bit like Sydney’s version of the Staten Island Ferry in that it’s packed with both commuters and tourists, and it tirelessly plies the Harbour’s waves day in and day out.

While the Manly Ferry is certainly a great idea, we’ve got a better one: Fort Denison.

You see, Sydney Harbour is the largest natural harbor in the world. As such, it’s going to have a few surprises like islands and forts, or, in this case, a combination of the two.

Fort Denison is a man-made island with two trees, a harbor light, cannons (one still working), a lovely albeit overpriced cafe, and a few rooms of museum exhibits dedicated to the history of the structure, which stretches back to the late 1700s. Every day at 1pm, the fort continues the old practice of firing a cannon to alert ships to the time, by which they could set their watches and clocks for precise navigation.

But about those views…

Located as it is, smack dab in the Harbour just out from the Opera House and with a bang-on view to the Bridge, it’s hard to think of any better place for an event (the island is rentable), a sunny lunch (hence the cafe), or just some serious sightseeing.

Fort Denison has a $7 per person access fee as part of the Sydney Harbour National Park, and it’s reachable by private charter and the Captain Cook's harbor tours. We ponied up the $52 ticket price for their Hop On Hop Off 24-pass service ($45 plus $7 national park fee), and made Fort Denison only the first stop of many.

Wish you were here!

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher]

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