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Fort Denison

Fort Denison Island is an enchanting destination located in the heart of Sydney Harbour and one of the city’s best day trips. Over the past century, the island’s varied uses have made it a must-visit for anyone touring Sydney.

Fort Denison was once a tiny rocky island that the locals referred to as ‘Muttewai’. Following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the then-Governor Phillip changed its name to Rock Island, perhaps because of the island’s geographical features.

Fort Denison History, Tours, Weddings & NYE, Sydney Harbour NSW

The island was flattened over the years and used to dig sandstone. The sandstone was used to construct Bennelong Point – the location where the iconic Opera House stands today. Due to its strategic location, the island’s flattening led to its use as a defence structure.

The island’s fortification is believed to have used around 8,000 tonnes of sandstone. The name was then changed to Fort Denison Island in honour of Sir William Thomas Denison, who served as the State Governor during this period.

The island is home to a former defence facility, and visitors can expect to see a number of the buildings used during this period. Take a guided museum tour and marvel at some of the weaponry used. Look out for the canons of gunpowder storage, and proceed to take the winding staircase to enjoy panoramic views from Martello Tower.

A trip to this island is incomplete without visiting the tide gauge room, which records Sydney’s tidal benchmark. The fully operational room is a mesmerising collection of exciting gadgets. After hours of exploring, sit down and enjoy the beautiful views before calling it a day.

Unfortunately, due to its history and preservation, Fort Denison is not wheelchair-accessible – it has a fixed wharf with rough ground and stone steps and a steep, narrow staircase in the Martello Tower.

Note that the Fort Denison Island Restaurant has closed, and no cafe is operating. For this reason, visitors may carry snacks onto the island.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Sydney Point website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having visited Sydney many times and seeing a lot of the city in the process), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.

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