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Protecting and enhancing scenic and cultural landscapes

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Planning Priority N17

The scenic and cultural landscapes of the North District contribute to the identity and international profile of Greater Sydney. Scenic and cultural landscapes encourage an appreciation of the natural environment, protect heritage and culture, and create economic opportunities, particularly for recreation and tourism. Aboriginal culture is deeply entwined in the landscapes of Greater Sydney.

Scenic and cultural landscapes can complement green infrastructure, particularly where scenic landscapes include waterways and urban bushland. Scenic and cultural landscapes can often be prone to natural hazards; for example, escarpments can be prone to land slip and erosion.

One of the District's key assets is its stunning Harbour and coastline. The Harbour and coastal views contribute to, and shape, the character of the District and the way people live. Tree-lined ridges and escarpments provide natural backdrops enjoyed from the Harbour. Beaches, bays and rock outcrops also contribute to these scenic views. Views from the Harbour, and views to the Harbour and foreshores, are both important. Escarpments such as West Head provide viewing locations which should be retained and enhanced in the planning and design process.

Other valued scenic landscapes in the District include the Hawkesbury River and its tributaries, such as Berowra and Cowan creeks, which are framed by Protected Natural Areas. Views to and from the Hawkesbury River include natural coves, tree-lined ridges and beaches, providing a scenic setting for boats and foreshore picnics.

Protected Natural Areas provide scenic views from beaches and the coastline, including locations such as Palm Beach and Whale Beach. Bushland areas, shaped by ridgelines and valleys, are also important landscapes in the District, such as Ku-ring-gai National Park.

The Metropolitan Rural Area provides another valued scenic and cultural landscape in the District, with pastoral and historic locations including Glenorie and Arcadia (refer to Planning Priority N18).

A protected cultural landscape within the North District is North Head, including Sydney Harbour National Park and the Quarantine Station at Manly. The site provides a prominent gateway into Sydney, with a landscape spread with heritage- listed buildings from new arrivals to Australia in the colonial era. This cultural landscape is already protected for its scenic and cultural values.

Continued protection of the North District's scenic and cultural landscapes is important for the sustainability, liveability and productivity of the District. It can complement the protection of biodiversity and habitat, help manage natural hazards and support tourism. Protecting scenic and cultural landscapes can also help preserve links to Aboriginal cultural heritage.


Identify and protect scenic and cultural landscapes.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies


Enhance and protect views of scenic and cultural landscapes from the public realm.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies