North Head Sanctuary

Visitors and locals flock to Manly for the sun and surf. Manly and Shelly beach aside, Manly hides a beautiful secret, particularly, for those looking to immerse themselves in native bushland without having to travel far from Sydney. This secret is North Head Sanctuary, where some of the last remnant native flora and fauna can be found in NSW. North Head Sanctuary is also an important site for indigenous culture and tradition, containing indigenous rock art, engravings and burial middens. The location also served as a quarantine station for early European colonisers arriving by ship. From the 1930s till the mid 1940s, North Head was a military site where large artillery guns were stationed to protect the harbour city from the Japanese.

Below, is a photo essay I put together with the pictures I took while wandering around North Head Sanctuary today (17.1.16). I strongly encourage both visitors and locals to hike to North Head and immerse themselves in a location rich in both biodiversity and indigenous and European history and culture.

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The Barracks Precinct and Parade grounds showcasing the military history of North Head Sanctuary. There is a visitors centre here and an educational space where you can learn about some of the common native flora and fauna that can be found in the area. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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Some of the lookouts offer impressive views of Sydney and surrounding lower North Shore suburbs. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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Another impressive view of Sydney, this time taken from the entrance to the Third Quarantine Cemetery. The cemetery is where people who died from infectious diseases were buried between 1881 and 1925. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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This is what awaits those who ascend North Head and reach Fairfax Lookout. From here, you can see the Eastern suburbs, Sydney CBD, Taronga Zoo and some of the lower North Shore suburbs. The water, sky and the headlands are a priceless frame for the Harbour City. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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On the eastern side of Fairfax Lookout, you will find patches of shrub and trees that have been damaged by fire. Not sure if this was the result of an accident or ecological burn. Regardless, this section will recover. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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Hanging swamp is absolutely teeming with life. As you stand here, all you hear are birds singing, dragonflies buzzing around and the wind rustling through the trees. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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Located to the east of the Gun Emplacement 2, Hanging Swamp is an interest feature. The area has a pool of water which allows for native vegetation to thrive. A number of insects such as dragonflies and spiders can be found here. The metal platforms ensure that you will keep your feet dry. Image credit: Hasmukh Chand
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