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Sydney Harbour named a ‘National Landscape’

Sydney Harbour named a ‘National Landscape’
February 21, 2013

The natural beauty of Sydney Harbour has this week been recognized with its naming as Australia's 16th National Landscape, opening the way to a global marketing push inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the harbour city.

The Sydney Harbour National Landscape stretches across 1,000 kilometres2 of beaches and rivers, islands and bushland, from Royal National Park in the south to Barrenjoey Headland in the north and west to Parramatta Park, taking in the Georges, Hawkesbury, Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers.

Announcing the accolade this week, Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson stated "it is fitting that spectacular Sydney Harbour joins Australia's National Landscapes collection, which now showcases 16 iconic Australian environments and their people, from the Red Centre to the Great Barrier Reef and to Tasmania's Island Heritage.

"With our world-famous harbour at its heart, this landscape is the first glimpse that welcomes 42% of international visitors to Australia.

"Sydney Harbour offers a taste of the uniquely Australian natural and cultural experiences that our international visitors are looking for, particularly in markets such as China."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said visitors are spoiled with opportunities to discover Australia's Aboriginal and convict heritage and encounter native wildlife, right on the city's doorstep, adding "when you have landmarks as iconic as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, it's easy for people to make the mistake that they can take a photograph in each direction and they have seen Sydney Harbour.

"The truth is the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge only tell the beginning of the story of Sydney Harbour. The reason for recognising our Harbour on the National Landscapes is for people to realise there is easily a week of exploring you can do around Sydney Harbour and still find new experiences and life long memories every day.

"Stories of European settlement ring out from scores of historic places, easily accessible by ferry, from the World Heritage listed convict sites of Cockatoo Island and Parramatta's Old Government House to the one o'clock cannon which still strikes at historic Fort Denison.

"Beneath the busy water traffic lives a surprising wealth of marine life, with more than 580 species of fish and a chance to see whales, little penguins, dolphins, even kelp forests with sea dragons."

The addition of Sydney Harbour to the National Landscapes program has been welcomed by the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), with acting Chief Executive Trent Zimmerman said Sydney Harbour is one of the nation's most valuable and attractive assets.

Zimmerman explained "Sydney is the top destination for international and domestic visitor and the inclusion of Sydney Harbour in the National Landscapes program recognises this."

"Promoting Sydney Harbour as a nature-based tourism destination emphasises the incredible variety of experiences available to visitors to Sydney and is a natural next step from TTFs HarbourView vision.

"It is a reminder that the harbour, including Sydney Harbour National Park, its foreshore parks and islands, is one of Australia's world-renowned, iconic natural assets, up there with Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.

"It also adds another element to the range of historic, cultural, entertainment and adventure experiences on offer around the harbour at attractions like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company, Luna Park, BridgeClimb, Q Station and Taronga Zoo.

"Many visitors from Australia's emerging markets in Asia do not venture outside our cities, although they do participate in nature-based tourism activities.

"Promoting Sydney Harbour as part of the National Landscapes and rolling out an iconic overnight walk centred on the harbour will provide them with a taste of Australia's natural wonders and entice them to enjoy some of Australia's natural assets in regional areas on future visits."

Coinciding with the announcement, a collection of short films about each of Australia's 16 national landscapes are being introduced on Tourism Australia's social media channels and online platforms.

The films, the Australia's Wildiaries National Landscapes Nature Series, feature the people and wildlife that inspire artistic endeavours, life changing journeys and lifelong passions in these stunning Australian landscapes.

The National Landscapes program is a partnership between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia. It showcases Australia's most inspirational environments to visitors wanting to connect with world class nature and cultural experiences. For more information on all 16 National Landscapes visit

Images (from top): Aerial view of the Sydney Harbour National Park, location signage, the Hermitage Foreshore track and the Manly Quarantine Station.



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