19 February 2013 by Luke McCormick
The waterways and bushland of Sydney Harbour today became Australia's 16th National Landscape, opening the way for a push to invite visitors to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the harbour city.
Just minutes from the vibrant centre of a great international city, the Sydney Harbour National Landscape stretches across 1,000 square kilometres 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.
Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and Environment Minister Tony Burke today announced the new tourism push for Sydney's spectacular Harbour.
"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," Minister Ferguson said.
"With our world-famous harbour at its heart, this landscape is the first glimpse that welcomes 42 per cent 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."
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.
"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,'' Mr Burke said.
"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 Ministers also announced Australia's Wildiaries National Landscapes Nature Series, a collection of short films about each of Australia's 16 iconic landscapes to be rolled out on Tourism Australia's social media channels and online platforms. The films 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.