Only accessible by boat, Fort Denison is part of the Sydney National Park and is full of features to entertain and educate. As a former penal and defensive facility, much of its heritage has been restored and preserved. It's now a museum and tourist attraction, as well as being a popular place for weddings and events, and also a great destination for dining with a view and having some afternoon drinks.
Fort Denison has been used for a variety of things since the first fleet arrived in 1788. The island was actually flattened and quarried for it's sandstone to help build up Bennelong Point, where the Sydney Opera House sits today. The fortification was completed in 1857 where sandstone from Kurraba Point was quarried to help with the build and named Fort Denison after Sir William Thomas Denison who was the Governor of New South Wales at the time. The first thing you'll notice about Fort Denison is the Martello Tower; this was the only one built in Australia and the last one built in the British Empire. From 1906 the canon was originally fired daily at 1pm to allow sailors to set their ship's chronometer; it's still fired at 1pm daily by the National Park's Guide.
Museum & Tours
You can learn more about Fort Denison on the island where there is plenty of information on its history. You can do a self guided tour which is free or a guided tour that will also allow you to go up the Martello Tower.
4x 30 Minute Tours Daily
Times: 11.00am, 12.15pm, 1.45pm, 2.45pm
Price: Around $15.50 adult | $40 family of 4
Sydney's only island restaurant, Fort Denison definitely provides a unique dining experience. It's open every day of the year except Christmas Day and New Year's Day with lunch reservations starting from 11:30am to 2:15pm for the last kitchen order. It's also open for dinner on Sundays in March and Fridays in April. Reservations are essential and you can book online here.
The restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine in a fine dining setting. Plenty of great dishes to choose from, view their menu here. There are also gluten free, vegetarian and kids options.
Price Range (as a guide)
Lunch for 2 $150
Lunch for 2, with alcohol $200
With so many reasons to visit Fort Denison it's ideal for everybody. Great for tourists and history lovers with the museum and daily tours. Great for kids and families also. In fact during the school holidays they run 'Princess Day at Fort Denison' and 'It's a Pirate's Life on Fort Denison' days for childen to learn about the hidden features of the fort and then go on a treasure hunt (it suits ages 3-10 and costs about $15 per person). Perfect for couples for a romantic meal at the restaurant and popular for birthdays and wedding celebrations also. Corporates can enjoy events here too with the option to hire the whole island and evening reservations can be booked from 40 to 200 guests.
Fort Denison being in a prime location right in the middle of Sydney Harbour hosts several events throughout the year. Read about them here.
To get to Fort Denison, there are 2 options:
By Water Taxi: Quite expensive but then you aren't constrained to set times.
Costs about $75. Book here.
By Ferry: From Circular Quay it takes no time at all to get there.
Costs about $20 per person. Book here.