Hermitage TrailLocation: Vaucluse
A strip of Rose Bay foreshore land from Bayview Hill Road to Nielsen Park that was resumed in May, 1912 and added to the Sydney Harbour National Park, November 1983. The area was largely left in its natural state so that with both the Hermitage Reserve and Nielsen Park there is now more than 3 km of rock and beach foreshore which is mostly untouched by urban development and is fully accessible to the public.
Commence this walk at Nielsen Park, Vaucluse, a well used family recreational area which, in 1975, became one of the first inclusions in the Sydney Harbour National Park. The rocky headlands on either side of the beach have historic significance. Shark or Steel Point to the east contains the remains of a 140 year old gun emplacement which it was part of Sydney's defence strategy. The Hermitage Trail follows the harbour foreshore through light scrub for a few kilometres from near Greycliffe House at Nielsen Park. The walk passes three beaches - Queens, Tingara and Milk Beachs - all of which are sheltered, shallow and calm, though small and offers views of the city skyline. Easy walk.
Queens Beach: A small, isolated beach which has views across the harbour to the city skyline, Harbour Bridge and Shark Island.
Milk Beach: Milk Beach is is slightly larger than Queens but similarly breathtaking and a favourite backdrop for wedding photography. Milk Beach is also an excellent vantage point for New Year s Eve fireworks with a clear view of the Harbour Bridge. The beach is free to the public on New Years Eve but you need to get there early.
Hermit Bay: one of the tiniest but loveliest beaches in Sydney. Access is on foot from historic Strickland House along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk and then take a small flight of stairs down to the sand, which stretches for just a few metres. Gorgeous for picnics, it has stunning harbour views and beautiful clear water.
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Greycliffe Avenue, Vaucluse. A single gun emplacement was constructed here in 1871 as part of the harbour's defence system. All that remains today is the stonework on the point above Shark Beach. The land on Steel Point was resumed from its private owners and construction was completed in 1874 with an additional barracks being added in 1880. The site was designed under the supervision of colonial architect James Barnet who was responsible for designing several other harbour fortifications during this period. In 1872 three 80-pounder rifled muzzle-loading guns were installed.
Although Steel Point never fired a shell in anger, it was the source of sufficient noise to annoy the occupants of Greycliffe House, the elegant house that still overlooks Nielsen Park. They complained about the noise and the damage caused to the house and actually won compensation.
In its last form, the battery consisted of three sandstone gun emplacements or pits with embrasures for the guns to fire through. These pits were connected by open passages and covered passages that led into underground chambers that consisted of a gunpowder magazine, a shell and artillery store and two shell and lamp recesses built of stone. The site had its own living quarters that included amenities for the workers manning the fort. Steel Point at present consists of a three-gun battery. The passageways, tunnels, magazine store and barrack room are still there, but are now partially buried.
A Victorian Italianate style mansion built for John Hosking (Sydney s first Lord Mayor) in the mid-1850s. The mansion designed by John Hilly, consists of 3 storeys of sandstone and verandahs with Doric columns. The property was subsequently purchased by the NSW State Government in June, 1914 who later used the property as the Strickland House Convalescent Hospital. The hospital was named after Sir Gerald Strickland who was the NSW State Governor from 1913 to 1917. The convalescent facility was later closed down in December 1989 and in 1994, the grounds of Strickland House were declared an urban park and opened to the public.
Access is limited but it is used for functions and as a film set occasionally. It is a great spot to watch the float-planes departing from, and returning to, the sea-plane base in Rose Bay. The grounds around Strickland House is a great place to have a picnic. There are picnic tables under shady trees around the property, all with stunning views either towards Rose Bay or the main harbour. The grounds are open daily from 9am to 5pm; the house is only open to the public around Easter. Strickland House, 52 Vaucluse Road, Vaucluse. Ph 02 9337 5999.
A well used family recreational area which, in 1975, became one of the first inclusions in the Sydney Harbour National Park. The rocky headlands on either side of the beach have historic significance. Shark or Steel Point to the east contains the remains of a 140 year old gun emplacement which it was part of Sydney s defence strategy. The beach, interestingly called Shark Beach, has a shark net, so it is safe for swimming. Vaucluse Point, with a rock formation known as the Bottle and Glass Rocks at its tip, contains the remnants of Aboriginal rock art.
There is a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach on Shark Bay. It is a spectacular spot to have breakfast or lunch and the attached cafe/kiosk. In summer it is very popular - like the beach, so you'll need to arrive early to get a parking spot. But in autumn and winter, especially during the week there s no one here. It's an excellent spot to a catch up with friends. Greycliffe Avenue, Vaucluse.
Greycliffe House: adjoining Nielsen Park is Greycliffe House, which houses the local headquarters of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Built in the late 1840s as a home for the daughter of statesman William Charles Wentworth and her husband, John Reeves, the house is built on land which was once part of Wentworth s Vaucluse estate. A popular bushwalk called the Hermitage Trail follows the harbour foreshore for a few kilometres from near Greycliffe House. The walk passes three beaches Queens, Tingara and Milk Beaches all of which are sheltered, shallow and calm, though small. Open all times. UBD Map 237 Ref L1 Facilities: sheltered harbour beach with shark net, kiosk, toilets, change rooms, showers, picnic facilities. Public transport: Bus No. 325 from Circular Quay, alight at Nielsen Park.
Shark Beach: Greycliffe Avenue, Vaucluse. In spite of its name this beach has a shark net (summer months only), so it is safe for swimming. Vaucluse Point, with a rock formation known as the Bottle and Glass Rocks at its tip, contains the remnants of Aboriginal rock art and affords views to the city. UBD Map 237 Ref L1.
Bus No. 325 from Circular Quay, alight at Nielsen Park.
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