Gardeners Cottage

Sydney Harbour National Park

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Overview

Treat yourself to a stay at Gardeners Cottage in the heart of Sydney Harbour National Park. This State Heritage-listed sandstone cottage is located by the beach in beautiful Nielsen Park, Vaucluse.

Accommodation Details
Accommodation type Cottage
Where 1 Fig Tree Road, Vaucluse, NSW, 2030 - in Sydney Harbour National Park
Bedrooms 2
Maximum guests 4
Facilities Barbecue facilities, cafe/kiosk, drinking water, showers, toilets, electric power
Price
  • Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking
  • Minimum stays may apply
  • Peak season: Weekends, long weekends, NSW school holidays (excluding winter), December and January.
  • A $300 security bond will be held against your card, the day of arrival or the day before. 
Bookings Book online or call the National Parks Contact Centre on 1300 072 757.
Please note
  • Check in 2pm, check out 10am.
  • You can pick up supplies at nearby supermarkets in Rose Bay.
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Gardeners Cottage has everything you could hope for in a location. Located in Nielsen Park, you'll have harbour beaches on your doorstep. Enjoy stunning views as you walk along Hermitage Foreshore track, then explore the grounds of Strickland House.

Perfect for a couple or small family, waking up at Gardeners Cottage will fill you with delight. Your hardest decision will be whether to swim, walk, or picnic the day away. With so much to see and do, it’s the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the online world and get away from the stresses of daily life.

Enjoy breakfast and coffee at The Nielsen, a short walk from the cottage. You can also find cafes, bakeries, pubs and restaurants nearby in Rose Bay or Watsons Bay. The historic Vaucluse House is also nearby and offers tours and a garden café. 

If you're keen for some exercise take a longer walk to South Head via Parsley Bay, Camp Cove, and Watsons Bay. In winter you'll have a good chance of spotting whales between June and September as they migrate along the coast. And you may hear or see endangered powerful owls in the evenings. This special area is also home to 2 endangered plants – the Nielsen Park she-oak and the sunshine wattle.

This State Heritage-listed cottage is graced with a terracotta tiled roof and was built in 1851 for John Reeve. It was designed by J.F.Hilly in the picturesque Victorian gothic revival style.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/gardeners-cottage/local-alerts

Bookings

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Park info

  • in Sydney Harbour National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Sydney Harbour National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    Bradleys Head carpark: $8 per vehicle per day. North Head carpark: $5 per vehicle per day. There are pay and display machines that accept cards and coins - no change given. Chowder Bay Road parking: Monday-Friday: $3 per hour, to a maximum of $16 per day. Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: $4 per hour, to a maximum of $20 per day. If you hold an NPWS All Parks or Multi Parks Pass, you can park free for up to four hours per day - additional time can be purchased. Car parks operated by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust or Mosman Council are not covered by your pass. Please check signs carefully.

    Other fees:

    Landing fee or tour fee applies to visit Sydney Harbour islands. To visit Shark, Clark or Rodd islands all vessels, including kayaks, need to pay a $7 per person landing fee. To arrange, please contact 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS). Annual NSW Parks Passes not valid for landing fees.

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Gardeners Cottage.

Getting there and parking

Gardeners Cottage is located within Nielsen Park, Vaucluse, which is part of Sydney Harbour National Park. It’s about 12km from the centre of Sydney.

  • Take New South Head Road away from the city towards Vaucluse
  • Turn left on Vaucluse Road and follow until you reach Fig Tree Road (on your left).
  • You’ll get an access code to open the security gate on Fig Tree Road
  • Follow Fig Tree Road, turn left at the t-intersection and follow to the cottage.

Nielsen Park has 25km per hour speed limit and is a shared traffic zone. Please watch out for pedestrians.

Key collection

After you book, we’ll give you an access code to open the security gate and the key deposit box at the cottage. If you haven’t received your access code before your stay, call 1300 072 757. Please return the cottage keys to the deposit box on check out. Fees may apply for lost keys.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at the cottage for 2 cars.

By public transport

  • Take Bus 325 to Nielsen Park.
  • Walk to the cottage. The cottage is located behind the cafe and bathers pavilion.

Facilities

  • The cottage is fully self-contained with 2 bedrooms. Bedroom 1 has a queen bed and bedroom 2 has 2 single beds. 
  • There’s a bathroom, kitchen, dining room and lounge room
  • Bed linen, towels and a hair dryer are provided.
  • The kitchen has a fridge, electric oven, microwave, toaster, kettle and washing machine.
  • Kitchenware is provided including crockery, glassware, cutlery, coffee plunger and tea strainer.
  • Please leave the cottage clean and tidy. All kitchen items should be washed up and put away. Cleaning products are provided
  • Additional fees may be charged for any unreasonable cleaning required or for missing/broken items. 
  • Rubbish and recycling bins are available
  • There is no internet access at this cottage

Toilets

  • Flush toilets

Barbecue facilities

There’s a gas barbecue and outdoor seating area. Please leave the barbecue clean and tidy.

  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

Cafe/kiosk

Drinking water

Showers

  • Hot showers

Electric power

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

Accessibility

Disability access level - no wheelchair access

Prohibited

  • Noise restrictions apply between 10pm and 7am and amplified music is not permitted.
  • Unauthorised guests are not permitted for overnight stays.

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Drones

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Learn more

Gardeners Cottage is in Sydney Harbour National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A world of history

Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

Although British authorities first planned to set up their penal colony in Botany Bay, the First Fleet of convicts only stayed in Botany Bay for a few days and then set sail around the coast to Sydney Harbour, where the colony was established. Since then, Sydney Harbour has continued to play an important part in the development of the nation and a number of places in the park have strong links to Sydney's history. You'll find buildings constructed using convict labour, maritime and military fortifications, and the Quarantine Station which once housed new boat arrivals to Sydney, protecting Sydneysiders from infectious disease.

  • Beehive Casemate tour NPWS is conducting a series of guided tours of this historic fortification in Sydney Harbour National Park. We'll explore the rarely opened Beehive Casemate as part of this tour at Middle Head, near Mosman.
  • Convict kids on Goat Island 'Guilty of petty theft – your punishment is penal transportation to Australia for the term of your natural life.' Discover what life was like for the first convicts of Australia in this unique Stage 2 (Years 3-4) excursion on historic Goat Island.
  • Fort Denison Fort Denison is a heritage fort on a Sydney Harbour island, once called Pinchgut. This former military site is the most complete Martello Tower in the world and a popular Sydney attraction. Fort Denison is currently closed for maintenance and conservation works. 
  • Goat Island heritage tour Take a fascinating tour of Goat Island, an iconic Sydney landmark in Sydney Harbour National Park.
  • Greycliffe House and Nielsen Park heritage tour Enter the world of the mid 1800s when you visit Greycliffe House. It's been a part of Sydney's history since its first residents moved in. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the grounds after the tour.
  • Military relics at Bradleys Head Discover Sydney's military history at the Bradleys Head Fortifications Complex. Bradleys Head is next to Tarongo Zoo in Mosman NSW.
  • South Head Heritage trail The short, easy South Head Heritage trail takes in scenic beaches and Sydney Harbour views, historic gun emplacements, and great whale watching from the distinctive red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse.
  • Spectacular Sydney Harbour National Park tour Explore Sydney’s most magical places from a local’s perspective on your own private outing with Personalised Sydney Tours. Enjoy an unforgettable day with your friendly guide as you visit iconic landmarks and discover hidden coastal gems.
  • Strickland House Step back in time as you walk up the lush lawn to Strickland House in Vaucluse. This 19th-century estate is a heritage treasure and boasts one of the best harbour views anywhere in Sydney.
  • Strickland House heritage tour Wind back the clock and explore the varied history of Strickland House on a guided tour. With stunning harbour views, it was home to leading figures of Sydney's establishment in the 19th century.
  • Sydney Harbour kayak adventures to Goat Island Explore Sydney Harbour by sea kayak on this guided tour with Paddle Pirates. You'll experience marine life and discover the fascinating history of Goat Island, in Sydney Harbour National Park.
  • Sydney top 10 hidden harbour beaches tours Live like a local and experience stunning harbour beaches and beautiful nature in and around Sydney Harbour National Park on these relaxed tours for very small groups.   
  • Tour de Forts - Middle Head This excursion in Sydney Harbour National Park is for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students and focuses on HSIE. Students will visit observation posts, searchlights, gun emplacements and other defensive structures at Middle Head.
  • Tour de Forts Middle Head In the early days of colonial Sydney, the Middle Head area formed a key line of defence against attack via sea. This Tour de Forts history excursion for Stage 5 students (Years 9-10) explores these fortifications, including lookouts, gun placements and ammunition stores.
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Aboriginal heritage

Arabanoo lookout, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Before Australia became a British colony, the area around Sydney Harbour was occupied by the Eora and Daruk Aboriginal Nations. Upon the arrival of settlers and convicts, land was cleared to make way for the developing colony, and Aboriginal people were forced further and further away from their traditional camping and hunting grounds. As the colony spread, more evidence of Aboriginal life and culture was destroyed. Today, despite the great spread of the city, you can find many Aboriginal sites like rock engravings and middens - examples of an ancient and enduring cultural heritage and a record of the Eora Peoples' connection to Country.

  • Aboriginal culture: Expanding contacts Arabanoo lookout Aboriginal culture expanding contacts Arabanoo lookout is a Stage 4 (Years 7-8) school excursion in Sydney Harbour National Park which focuses on history as a KLA. Embark on a learning journey of Aboriginal culture from pre-colonisation to now.
  • Aboriginal culture: Expanding contacts Bradleys Head Aboriginal culture expanding contacts Bradleys Head is a Stage 4 (Years 7-8) school excursion in Sydney Harbour National Park which focuses on history as a KLA. Embark on a learning journey of Aboriginal culture from pre-colonisation to now.
  • Aboriginal culture: Expanding contacts Nielsen Park Aboriginal culture expanding contacts Nielsen Park is a Stage 4 (Years 7-8) school excursion in Sydney Harbour National Park which focuses on history as a KLA. Embark on a learning journey of Aboriginal culture from pre-colonisation to now.
  • Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head is named in honour of Arabanoo, the first Aboriginal man to live among European settlers. It's a great spot for whale watching, offering views over North and South Head and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Grotto Point Aboriginal engraving site Sydney Harbour National Park’s rock engravings immerse you in Sydney’s Aboriginal heritage. Head to Grotto Point at Dobroyd Head for historic rock art and scenic views.
  • Living world WildTracker: Bradleys Head On a WildTracker excursion, Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students investigate and analyse the natural environment of Bradleys Head. Students identify and group species and discuss adaptations that help these species survive and thrive here.
  • Living world WildTracker: Nielsen Park On a WildTracker excursion, Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students will explore and analyse the natural environment of Nielsen Park. We'll identify and group species and discuss the adaptations that help these species survive and thrive here.
  • Who's Arabanoo? This school excursion in Sydney Harbour National Park is for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students and focuses on HSIE. Walk down the track to Reef Beach with an Aboriginal ranger to hear about the cultural history of the area and learn about the European history of surrounding sites.
  • WildThings at Bradleys Head Book your WildThings school excursion for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students in Sydney Harbour National Park. Together we'll explore the living world and identify the features that help native plants and animals thrive here.
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An island paradise

Bradleys Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

The park protects five historic harbour islands. Discover the rich convict and maritime heritage of Goat Island, along with stunning views from all angles. Why not picnic at Rodd or Shark Island? Set aside for public enjoyment as early as 1879, both offer picnic areas, beaches and paths for you to explore. The park’s exceptional landscapes are the perfect setting for fishing, swimming, scuba diving and soaking up the views. Head to Clark Island for an Aboriginal cultural experience and enjoy the city lights as you dine on Fort Denison. Sydney Harbour National Park is beloved by landscape photographers, so why not bring your camera and take a few shots? 

  • Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head is named in honour of Arabanoo, the first Aboriginal man to live among European settlers. It's a great spot for whale watching, offering views over North and South Head and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Bradleys Head Amphitheatre Bradleys Head Amphitheatre is an exceptionally popular place within Sydney Harbour National Park. A fabulous lookout, it's also a great picnic area and fishing spot.
  • Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk Take the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk for beautiful views of Sydney Harbour. This easy walk takes you from Taronga Zoo to the beach and cafes at Chowder Bay.

Diverse landscapes

Arabanoo lookout at Dobroyd Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

Immerse yourself in nature at Sydney Harbour National Park. Exploring its varied scenery, you'll find everything from sandstone cliffs and rocky foreshores to quiet beaches and bushland. Stand beneath gigantic Sydney red gums and Port Jackson figs or absorb the sheer size of the harbour from a headland lookout.

  • Aboriginal cultural cruise in Sydney Harbour Join the friendly and knowledgeable guides of Tribal Warrior for a fascinating boat and island tour as you learn about the Aboriginal culture of Sydney Harbour.
  • Bottle and Glass Point Bottle and Glass Point is an ideal picnic spot in Nielsen Park in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Enjoy lovely harbour views and go fishing, snorkelling, diving or swimming.
  • Guided kayak tours at Manly Beach Join the friendly local guides of Manly Kayak Centre for an unforgettable paddle and scenic walk. From ocean to hilltop, it’s a great way to enjoy the highlights of Sydney’s beautiful North Harbour, near Manly Beach.
  • Manly scenic walkway Also known as the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk, Manly Scenic Walkway is among Sydney's best walking tracks. Enjoy bush, beach and beautiful views on this excellent day walk.
  • Spectacular Sydney Harbour National Park tour Explore Sydney’s most magical places from a local’s perspective on your own private outing with Personalised Sydney Tours. Enjoy an unforgettable day with your friendly guide as you visit iconic landmarks and discover hidden coastal gems.

Native birds and animals

Water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii), Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: John Spencer

You'll probably spot at least one of the park's 150 bird species on your visit, like a white-bellied sea eagle or a New Holland honeyeater. If you're near Manly, you may be lucky enough to glimpse an endangered little penguin as it is the state's only known mainland colony. If you happen to see unusual webbed footprints on a beach or shoreline, they may well belong to a native water rat looking for seafood in shallow water close to the shoreline.

  • Aboriginal cultural cruise in Sydney Harbour Join the friendly and knowledgeable guides of Tribal Warrior for a fascinating boat and island tour as you learn about the Aboriginal culture of Sydney Harbour.
  • Fairfax walk The paved Fairfax Walk is easy, gentle and ideal for walking with children. Located at North Head in Sydney Harbour National Park, it's a great walk for whale watching.
  • Living world WildTracker: Bradleys Head On a WildTracker excursion, Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students investigate and analyse the natural environment of Bradleys Head. Students identify and group species and discuss adaptations that help these species survive and thrive here.
  • Living world WildTracker: Nielsen Park On a WildTracker excursion, Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students will explore and analyse the natural environment of Nielsen Park. We'll identify and group species and discuss the adaptations that help these species survive and thrive here.
  • The earth's environment at Bradleys Head The earth's environment is a fun, Stage 1 (Years 1-2) geography excursion at Bradleys Head. Students will identify the physical features of this beautiful place. They'll discuss how people interact with the place in both past and present contexts.  
  • WildThings at Bradleys Head Book your WildThings school excursion for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students in Sydney Harbour National Park. Together we'll explore the living world and identify the features that help native plants and animals thrive here.
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Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Dan Burns

    Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    The humpback whale has the longest migratory path of any mammal, travelling over 5000km from its summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to its breeding grounds in the subtropics. Its playful antics, such as body-rolling, breaching and pectoral slapping, are a spectacular sight for whale watchers in NSW national parks.

Plants

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

  • Blueberry ash. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

    The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.

  • Flannel flowers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi)

    The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.

  • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

    Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (14)

Shark Beach in Nielsen Park. Photo: John Spencer/OEH