fort denison…

installation outside Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) at Circular Quay
installation outside Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) at Circular Quay

Some days you just know your public transport karma is going to be off.

So it was for yesterdays staycation.

We would have got the (earlier) train if:

  • We’d run for it or
  • If the couple who already had their ticket hadn’t ducked in front of us at the ticket office at the crucial moment to ask a stupid question.

They made the train. We watched the doors close.

No matter, we were running early- and one of the only rules of staycationing is that you never start the day running for a train.

The other rules of staycationing? Simple:

  • You’re on holiday, so approach the day with a vague destination, but no fixed plan.
  • You’re on holiday, so photos are compulsory.

Our return trip was the same. The ferry was full, so we waited a few minutes for the next…which meant we arrived at the top of the stairs at Circular Quay Station to see our train leaving…which meant we arrived at the top of the stairs at Wynyard Station to see our connecting train leaving.

In any case, ferry travel was involved, so that always balances out any bad public transport karma.


And yesterday the harbour was particularly beautiful.

One of those days where the sky is a completely cloudless bright blue, and the water glistens as though someone has dropped millions of tiny diamonds on to it…but I wax a little lyrical…


Yesterdays staycation destination was Fort Denison- in the middle of Sydney Harbour…and the plan included lunch….and photos.

Fort Denison has an important and fascinating place in Sydney’s history, with both a convict past and a military past in its role in the defence of Sydney Harbour. It even came under “friendly fire” by US forced during WW2.


In the beginning it was a little rocky outcrop and place of confinement for hardened convicts. They nicknamed it Pinchgut Island after the starvation rations they had to face.

the restaurant
the restaurant

Starvation is certainly not a risk these days.

Lunch was delicious.


The setting was gorgeous, the view was amazing, and every time the jet boat came by and sent ocean spray soaring above the sea walls we all laughed.


Getting there:


Because Fort Denison is run by National Parks and Wildlife, it’s not on the Sydney Ferries schedule.

Captain Cook Cruises run a timetabled service. They also include Fort Denison as part of their “hop on hop off” harbour service- a great option for tourists.

Be warned, even though Fort Denison is a quick 5 minute hop across from Circular Quay, it isn’t cheap. Expect to pay $20 return for an adult ticket. This includes entrance to the National Park. But hey, this is a destination…

There are a few water taxi companies licensed to drop off and pick up at Fort Denison. Check the website for details.

the MartelloTower
the MartelloTower

Eating there:


The Restaurant is open for lunch each day. Check out the website for menu options and prices. If you’re visiting during the school holidays or on a weekend, it’s best to book.

The island is tiny, really tiny, with a small grassed area near the Tower. If you bring your own lunch, this would be the only place to eat it- there are no established picnic facilities.


Guided Tours

Regular tours are run by the National Parks & Wildlife Rangers. I did one last time I was at the Fort- it’s the only way of getting into the Martello Tower and up into the lighthouse.

The photos below are from that last trip- in March 2012…

taken from the top of the lighthouse
taken from the top of the lighthouse


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

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