Special Offer

Greycliffe House and Nielsen Park heritage tour

Sydney Harbour National Park

Book now

Overview

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.

When

The tour on Sunday 12 September 2021 has been cancelled to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff.

Sunday 9 May and Sunday 14 November 2021.

Wednesday 16 February, Sunday 6 March, Wednesday 13 April, Sunday 8 May and Wednesday 15 June 2022. 10.30am to 12.30pm. Meet at 10.15am.

Where
Nielsen Park, Sydney Harbour National Park
Accessibility
Hard
Grade
Medium. Suitable for adults and teenagers, 15 years and over. You'll walk approx 800m.
Price

Adult $15 per person. Concession/child $13 per person.

Meeting point
Front lawn of Greycliffe House
What to
bring
Drinking water, lunch, hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, suitable clothing
Bookings
Bookings required. Phone 1300 072 757 for more information or book online.
Book now

When property developer John Reeve married William Wentworth’s daughter, he purchased 14 acres of Wentworth’s Vaucluse estate. Reeve commissioned the colony's leading architect, John Hilly, to design a home. Greycliffe House was completed in 1851. It is an example of the neo-Gothic style of architecture popular in London at the time.

Reeve never lived in the house, and over the following decades it was occupied by prominent Sydney families. The Greycliffe estate was transferred to public ownership in 1911. It was then used as a hospital for babies and, later, a Tresillian mothercraft training school and home.

During the tour you'll walk the grounds of the Greycliffe estate. Find out how the site was resumed for public use. Hear the story of how the historical recreational facilities used in Nielsen Park came to be.

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the estate's grounds after the tour. 

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/things-to-do/guided-tours/greycliffe-house-and-nielsen-park-heritage-tour/local-alerts

Bookings

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 fees or tour fees apply to visit Sydney Harbour islands. All public visitors to Shark, Clark or Rodd Island, need to pay a $7 per person landing fee. To arrange, please contact 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS). Annual NSW Parks Passes do not cover 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 Greycliffe House and Nielsen Park heritage tour.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Catch the 325 bus from Circular Quay. To get to the front lawn of Greycliffe House, walk west along Promenade Road behind Shark Beach, and then up the stairs to Greycliffe House.

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    If you're driving, there is off-street parking at Greycliffe Avenue and Vaucluse Road. On sunny days the park can be busy, so allow time to find a parking space.

    Maps and downloads

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - hard

    Not wheelchair-accessible

    Learn more

    Greycliffe House and Nielsen Park heritage tour 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.

    • 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 – Muddawahnyuh Fort Denison – Muddawahnyuh (mud-uh-'wahn-yuh) is closed for maintenance and conservation works until early 2022. 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.
    • Goat Island convicts, castles and champagne tour Discover Sydney’s colourful convict past on a unique tour with Sydney Harbour Tall Ships. Visit historic sites on Goat Island and take in beautiful views as you cruise around Sydney Harbour.
    • 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.
    • Guided walks at Georges Head in Sydney Join your friendly guide from EcoWalks Tours for a fascinating harbour-side excursion at Georges Head in Sydney. You'll experience local history, enjoy stunning views and see native wildlife.  
    • 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.
    Show more

    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.
    Show more

    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 – Booraghee Amphitheatre Bradleys Head – Booraghee ('boo-ruh-gee) 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.
    • Sydney seaplane flight and Shark Island picnic Discover a whole new side to Sydney Harbour on a scenic flight with Sydney Seaplanes. You’ll fly through to Bondi before enjoying a decadent picnic on Shark Island.
    • Whale watching tours of Sydney Harbour and beyond Join Oz Whale Watching for an exhilarating cruise of Sydney Harbour, the heads and the sparkling blue ocean beyond. You’ll enjoy delicious food and the chance to see magnificent humpback whales.

    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.
    • Guided walks at Georges Head in Sydney Join your friendly guide from EcoWalks Tours for a fascinating harbour-side excursion at Georges Head in Sydney. You'll experience local history, enjoy stunning views and see native wildlife.  
    • 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.
    • Multi-day Sydney Harbour guided coastal walks See Sydney in a whole new light with Urban Walks. Stay in stylish accommodation, indulge in gourmet food and take in the stunning views of Sydney Harbour National Park on this multi-day coastal 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.
    Show more

    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.
    • Guided walks at Georges Head in Sydney Join your friendly guide from EcoWalks Tours for a fascinating harbour-side excursion at Georges Head in Sydney. You'll experience local history, enjoy stunning views and see native wildlife.  
    • 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.  
    • Whale watching tours of Sydney Harbour and beyond Join Oz Whale Watching for an exhilarating cruise of Sydney Harbour, the heads and the sparkling blue ocean beyond. You’ll enjoy delicious food and the chance to see magnificent humpback whales.
    • 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.
    Show more

    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

      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)