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Lifestyle : Harbour
1HERSA1 S003 phone 02 95831199 in o@ a lin e .com.au . a lin e .com.au Manly Ci cula Quay Da ling Ha ou 7 ay a eek ai con itione , ully licence Jump On Jump O All Day Whale Gua antee Daily C ui e . hale atching y ney.net Lunch & Dinne C ui e F om $37 C ui e the t anquil & cenic Geo ge Rive o you Ch i tma o Bi th ay Function NYE & Boxing Day C ui e on Sy ney Ha ou 24 hou ticket $24 Book Online WHALE WATCHING SYDNEY Geo ge Rive C ui e SYDNEY HARBOUR CRUISES gi t vouche availa le This event has sold out every year so get your tickets early and save. Early Bird sale finishing soon! Book your tickets on 9211 3192 or visit www.sydneynewyearsevecruises.com.au. Sydney Harbour NYE Cruise All Inclusive NYE Cruise from $495 6 hour cruise in the Official light parade, delicious cocktail menu, open bar, DJ, front row seats for the spectacular fireworks display at 9pm and midnight. OZ Jet Boating Sydney Aquarium Sydney Wildlife World Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney Tower & OZ Trek Your choice of 5 top attractions in and around Sydney. 20 exciting attractions to choose from! 5 FAMOUS ATTRACTIONS ONE AMAZING PRICE Great Christmas gift or school holiday activities To Buy your Attraction Pass call 9211 3192 or visit www.atstravel.com.au Retail outlets also available in Circular Quay & Darling Harbour. up to 50% saving Adult $125 Child $85 (4-15) A8097-191110 The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, November 19, 2010 HARBOUR 3 Family fun girt by sea The islands of Sydney Harbour are perfect for day trips, writes Melinda Ham. Picture perfect . . . Shark Island is an idyllic picnic spot. Photo: Hamilton Lund Sydney has one of the most breathtaking harbours in the world and you don't have to own a multimillion- dollar penthouse to indulge in it. Anyone can enjoy spectacular views from a clutch of ideally positioned islands and beaches. Owned by the Parks service, they offer many prime picnic spots. Clark Island Vying for the title of most beautiful and pristine venue is little Clark Island, off Darling Point and covering a little less than a hectare. It is named after Lieutenant Ralph Clark, a soldier on the First Fleet who tried to plant a large market garden on the island. ''The poor lieutenant thought he'd just grow himself a bit of food but unfortunately other people cottoned on and rowed over and pinched his vegetables,'' says a National Parks guide, Carole Beales, who is well versed in the harbour islands' history. Before colonial times, the richly wooded island was used as a meeting place and food-gathering spot for the local Eora, Guringai and Daruk nations. From the late 1870s, Sydney's upper classes also picnicked regularly on the island, building seats, grottoes and pillars into the existing caves and constructing winding paths through the bush. Today, it's accessible only by water taxi or your own boat, though you must book with National Parks and pay the $7-a-person fee. It's untouched by development and is limited to just 30 visitors at a time. Shark Island Named for its shark-like shape, this island, too, is an idyllic picnic spot, although a little busier. Both Clark and Shark islands have picnic tables, park benches, drinking water and public toilets. You can also bring your own gas barbecues. In addition, Shark has two tiny sand beaches for paddling or swimming. At 1.25 hectares, it's a touch larger than Clark and sits off Rose Bay. From the mid-19th century until 1975, when it became part of the Sydney Harbour National Trust, overseas farm animals were quarantined there. The Edwardians also chose Shark Island for picnics and built a gazebo to protect themselves from the elements. It has also had a stint as a naval storage depot. Massive palm trees and towering Norfolk pines provide a protective canopy, while large grassy knolls with a few level, rocky outcrops are perfect places to spread a picnic blanket. You can reach the island by water taxi, private boat or Captain Cook Cruises, which runs trips from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay, as well as ''Hop On Hop Off'' Harbour Explorer tours. The latter also allow you to visit Taronga Zoo, Watsons Bay, Fort Denison and Luna Park in one day. Goat Island More than just a beautiful picnic spot, Goat Island, which has Harbour Bridge views and looks back towards Balmain, has a fascinating history. Its Aboriginal name is Memel, which means ''eye'' or ''place from which you can see far''. Today, the stoutly built Queens Powder Magazine still stands intact on the island's south-west corner, built by convict labour using stone quarried on location. When it was completed, the colonial government moved 3000 barrels of gunpowder there from The Rocks to reduce the risk to Sydney residents, Beales says. ''If you remember that Guy Fawkes was going to blow up the British Houses of Parliament with 10 barrels of gun powder, you can imagine the damage 3000 barrels would do,'' she adds with a laugh. The north-east side of the island housed Sydney's first water police, from 1838. You can reach the island by private boat or water taxi. National Parks runs interactive tours during which you experience life as a convict or a soldier -- trying on leg irons, watching a musket being fired, touching a cat-o'-nine-tails and hearing convict tales. Onshore picnic gems Shark Beach in Nielsen Park, Vaucluse and Clifton Gardens in Mosman can get busy on weekends. These inner-harbour gems are also ideal after-work summer evening picnic spots, due to their lovely outlooks. Both beaches have shark nets and the water is generally tranquil. The best view at Clifton Gardens, in Chowder Bay, named after the chowder that whalers used to make from the bay's seafood, is under water. It's one of the world's best places to see endangered weedy sea dragons and sea horses hanging around the nets. So bring a mask, snorkel and waterproof torch. There's also plenty of grass on which to play cricket or football. Both beaches are accessible by car or private boat. See nationalparks.nsw.gov.au and harbourtrust.gov.au for more information on the harbour's islands. A Herald Special Report Editor Terry Smyth, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Tina Musumeci, 9282 1003, email@example.com Cover Getty images SPECIAL REPORT