From the Opera House to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, there’s certainly no shortage of top tourist attractions in Sydney. Australia’s largest city is also full of naval history and has been involved in some of the country’s most significant maritime events. Within the city you’ll find Garden Island – a naval destination in Potts Point and a must-visit when in Sydney.
Discover why the Macleay Hotel is a top choice when looking for the perfect accommodation near this maritime landmark.
A history of Garden Island
Garden Island hasn’t always been an Australian Navy base. In 1788, this space was given to sailors onboard HMS Sirius (the flagship of the First Fleet from England to found the first European colony in New South Wales) merely as a space to grow vegetables, back when the site was only 4.6 hectares in size and still an island – hence the name ‘Garden Island’.
Historically, this was a significant moment, as it was one of the first times colonists and indigenous people came into contact. The gardening practises also helped to introduce European food species and cultivation techniques to the country.
By 1858, Garden Island was fully established as a naval base and was used as a port and site for repairing ships. During World War II, Garden Island joined Sydney’s mainland through the construction of the Captain Cook Graving Dock in 1942 – expanding the 4.6 hectare site to 27 hectares. Today, it is known as the East Coast of Australia’s main base for the Navy Fleet and for its regional defence activities.
If you’re looking for a serviced hotel near Garden Island, the Macleay Hotel is the perfect choice for people requiring comfortable and central accommodation near one of Sydney’s top historical attractions.
What can you do and see at Garden Island?
Although Garden Island is still in use as a working base for the Australian Navy, visitors to Sydney can still enjoy exploring some parts of this historic site.
One great way to see Garden Island is through an organised group tour with the Naval Historical Society of Australia. Here, you’ll learn about the ground’s fascinating history and visit heritage sites such as the Naval Chapel, Sail Loft and Rigging Shed, and the HMAS Kuttabul Memorial. This memorial commemorates the sailors who lost their lives while onboard HMAS Kuttabul during an attack from a Japanese Midget submarine.
Take a break from visiting Garden Island’s maritime sites at The Salthouse Cafe. With incredible views of Sydney Harbour as your backdrop, enjoy a spot of lunch before heading to the RAN Heritage Centre. Since opening its doors in 2005, more than 100,000 people have visited this exhibition space. View artefacts and weapons from some of the Australian Navy’s epic battles in a range of displays and exhibits.
Before leaving, be sure to head to the lookout for unbeatable 360 degree views of Sydney Harbour and beyond. But back at the Macleay Hotel, you can also enjoy supurb vistas of the city from the comfort of your own room!
How to get to Garden Island
Getting to Garden Island couldn’t be easier. The Macleay Hotel is located in Potts Point – a charming suburb of Sydney just a 20 minute walk away from the Navy base. Simply head north up Macleay Street until the sight of the Harbour greets you. If you require alternative transport, the staff at the Macleay Hotel will be more than happy to help arrange this.
The Macleay Hotel also happens to be in close proximity to other Sydney tourist attractions such as the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for complete convenience when exploring the city.
For comfortable and central accommodation, look no further than the Macleay Hotel when planning your trip to Sydney.