Sydney lays claim to one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, with iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kirribilli House, Elizabeth and Double Bays providing outstanding vistas at every turn. Sydney Harbour is part of the Port Jackson ria, which forms a natural inlet as a result of a drowned river valley that has remained open to the sea. There are several islands within the harbour, including Shark Island, Clark Island, Fort Denison, Goat Island, Cockatoo Island, Spectacle Island, Snapper Island and Rodd Island.
Heath-covered headlands, dramatic clifftops, scenic beaches, historic sites and outstanding panoramas of Sydney’s skyline abound at North Head Sanctuary and adjoining Sydney Harbour National Park. Situated on the northern-most edge of the harbour, North Head is a sandstone headland connected to the mainland only by a sand spit and provides habitat for birds such as New Holland Honeyeaters, White-browed Scrub Wrens, Rainbow Lorikeets, Little Wattlebirds with occasional sightings of Long-nosed Bandicoots and Echidnas. Across the region, visitors will find interconnected swamp wetlands, white quartz covered sand dunes, pockets of heath, ferns, shrubland and forest with Camfields Stringybark, Sunshine Wattle and patches of the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.
Sydney has more marine species than any other harbour in the world, with 600 marine animals identified. Remarkably, this is more than the United Kingdom or the whole of the Mediterranean Sea. At Shelley Beach the sandy seabeds, rocky reefs, and protected bays are perfect for snorkelling where species such as Blue Groper, Gunthers and Dusky Butteflyfish, Black Rockcod, Wobbegongs, Australian Giant Cuttlefish, Potbelly Seahorses and the Weedy Sea Dragon and a myriad of Star Fish can be sighted.