Middle and Georges Head walking track link to the Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk

Enhancing the experience of the iconic Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk.

View from Middle Head of the North and South Heads of Sydney HarbourThe National Parks and Wildlife Service is planning to construct a new walking track in the Sydney Harbour National Park linking Middle Head and Georges Head to the Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk. The link will connect the headlands and create a seamless walking experience for visitors.

What the project involves

The new walking track, with story-telling along the route and, improvements to Chowder Bay Road are identified in the Sydney Harbour National Park, Middle Head & Georges Head Masterplan.

Middle Head is a jewel within the stunning array of foreshore open space and beaches that adjoin Sydney Harbour. The combination of natural and cultural qualities at Middle Head and Georges Heads is unique to Sydney and Australia. Intrinsic to this is a sense of retreat and release from urban Sydney that is enabled by the place’s largely undeveloped and low-key character. The masterplan seeks to reconcile these fundamental values with improved and safer access for visitors.

The most important strategy for enhancing the community experience of Middle and Georges Head is its effective integration into the Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk. At present the headlands are not linked effectively to the broader Harbour Scenic Walk with key connections difficult and unclear. The walk will connect the headlands to deliver the missing link along the Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk and creating a seamless experience for visitors. Improvements to Chowder Bay Road are also proposed to improve safety for road users and walkers.

Across Middle and Georges Heads there are points of interest focussed on natural and cultural features from various phases of Sydney’s history. Interpretation of these sites will form part of this project to create a highly layered recreational and educational experience.

Planning for the Middle Head to Georges Head walk trail has commenced with site assessment, design and internal project approval prior to the first stages of construction which is anticipated to commence in late 2019. Construction will be undertaken in a staged approach and is expected to be completed by 2022.

Middle Head and Georges Head are not linked to the broader Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk. Walkers largely bypass the headlands. Establishment of a new track linking Middle Head to Georges Head will create an iconic harbour experience that leads walkers to the unmatched cultural and visual environment of Middle Head. This will enhance the visitor experience at Middle and Georges Head and link the sites to the Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk.

Our national parks are managed to protect their unique values and provide for sustainable visitor use and enjoyment. This includes providing visitor experiences and, where appropriate, new visitor facilities including tracks and trails.

We are conducting independent environmental assessments to examine the significance of any likely environmental impacts of the proposal and identify means to eliminate or mitigate any impacts to the natural or cultural values of the site.

Within the Sydney Harbour National Park are Middle Head and Georges Head which contain the largest collection of nineteenth and twentieth century coastal fortifications anywhere in Australia, demonstrating evidence of the continual response to the technological changes in warships and artillery and the nature of perceived and actual threats to Sydney. The headlands also contain Aboriginal sites, pockets of natural bushland and some threatened plant and animal species.

Developing rich and engaging interpretation will be a key focus with the aim of immersing the walker in the natural and cultural landscape creating respect, a strong connection and sense of place.

NPWS engaged with community groups and stakeholders throughout development of the Masterplan and will continue to engage with stakeholders and interested community groups during design of the walking track and interpretation. Regular updates will be provided on the NPWS website.