North Head

One of the best places to view a Sydney sunset

North Head is a giant sandstone promontory connected to the mainland by a isthmus of sand that Manly's town centre sits on. If not for this sand isthmus North Head could easily be an island. Because of this it has provided a unique environment for the Long-nosed Bandicoot, Brush-tailed possum and Ring-tailed possums, Water Rats, echidnas and reptiles that inhabit the area. All are now listed as endangered species. Over 90 species of birds and over 140 native plants can be found here as well.

In January 2007 North Head was declared a nature reserve and animals will soon be reintroduced.

In 1979 it was made part of Sydney Harbour National Park. For many years it's 385 hectares (950 acres) was the realm of the Catholic Church, a sewerage treatment works, the Military and Sydney's Quarantine Station.

Before that it was home to the Camaraigal Aborigines. Rock engravings, artifacts and shell middens in the area record their presence here for thousands of years before British settlement.

Access to North Head is via boat or by road from Manly, the first of Sydney's Northern Beaches.


These dramatic cliffs rise to a height of 90 metres or more on the wilder ocean side of North Head. Much of the land here is covered by a hardy coastal heath.

As the land slopes away to the west and the harbour side of North Head the windswept heath is left behind and you begin to encounter open scrub, woodland and open forest that runs down to sandy beaches and rocky foreshores.

There is a long military history at North Head. It was until quite recently home to the Australian Army's School of Artillery. In 1934 the army constructed a large network of underground tunnels, an underground plotting room and installed two 9.2 inch guns facing out to sea.

For many years the army conducted artillery training firing their guns out to sea. It is all quiet now, the Army has pulled out of North Head, the large barracks and parade ground are empty. In 1990 the Royal Australian Artillery National Museum was created and visitors can now take tours of the site.



Old military observation post



North Head in the distance, seen from Balmoral in Middle Harbour

back track
to Ocean Beach

walk on
to Spring Cove


more on....

North Head - Manly Council page

Fortress Tourst - Harbour Trust

North Head History - North Head Sanctuary Foundation

North Head History -Harbour Trust

Planning - Harbour Trust

DIVE - North Head



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