Exploring Shark Island National Park

Set 1 kilometre from Rose Bay in the clutches of Sydney Harbour, Shark Island promises visitors a spectacular picnic spot with a rich and fascinating history. This part of the region boasts an impressive foreshore with incredible views over the surrounding scenery.

Complete with a selection of lush grassy areas that pose the perfect backdrop for a picnic, it is a great spot for watching the world go by. Elsewhere on the island, there are plenty of grottos that were hand-built in the 1900s to explore, many of which are home to an exciting range of tide pool creatures.

The History of Shark Island National Park

The past of the island is woven with stories, tales, and tragedy. Back when it was first discovered in 1879, it was used as a recreation reserve. It then became an animal quarantine and remained that way until 1975 when it was declared a part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.

The island got its name after a prominent shark attack in 1877 that saw cricketer George Coulthard pulled from his boat by a large shark.

The Aboriginal Heritage of Shark Island

For many years, the landscape surrounding Sydney Harbour was owned and lived in by the Eora, Guringai, and Daruk Aboriginal tribes. But when European settlers arrived, the land was overturned to create more space for the developing community. This forced the native Aboriginal people away from the traditional hunting grounds.

Today, despite the dispersed history of the tribes, there are still many Aboriginal sites around the national park, including numerous rock engravings and middens.

Things to Do on Shark Island

As well as exploring the history and discovering the unique Aboriginal heritage of the island, there are plenty of other things for visitors to do while in the area.

1. Explore the Foreshore

Shark Island is most famous for its prominent foreshore, which hosts a number of magical grottos that hark back to the early 1900s. These are home to a range of tide pool creatures and are well worth exploring to discover some of the unique wildlife in the area.

2. Take a Swim

The island is surrounded by calm, sparkling waters that are ideal for taking a leisurely dip in. Splash around in the shallows while soaking up the mesmerising and iconic views of Sydney Harbour as it unfolds around you.

3. Have a Picnic

The scenery of Shark Island lends itself perfectly to picnics, and it has become an incredibly popular spot to take lunch. Lay down a rug and tuck into delicious local food while enjoying the sprawling views in every direction.

Why not check out our Sydney City Tour with Harbour Cruise if you’re in the area?