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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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S6 - Sydney Harbour YHA - An Economic Enterprise

Sydney Harbour YHA – an economic enterprise supports the Stage 6 Geography topic People and economic activity. It focuses on a case study of Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel as a tourism enterprise operating at a local level. The program is a partnership between Observatory Hill EEC and Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel Australia. 

NB Having students stay overnight at the Sydney Harbour YHA is an excellent way to immerse them in their economic activity case study. The flexible nature of delivery means that teachers can combine this program with an additional Observatory Hill EEC S6 Geography program such as an Urban Dynamics case study to either nearby Barangaroo, Green Square or Pyrmont (or an additional case study to Taronga Zoo Sydney). Ring the Centre on 9247 7321 to enquire about program combination options. 

Program location

Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel Sydney, 110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, NSW, 2000.

View the interactive google map for the meeting location. The Sydney Harbour YHA is a short (11min) walk from Wynyard or (6min) from Circular Quay railway stations. Please note the Circular Quay route contains steep stairs. 

Key inquiry question

A geographic study of an economic enterprise operating at a local scale.

Key syllabus outcomes

Students will:

  • learn about the changing spatial and ecological dimensions of an economic activity
  • evaluate environmental management strategies in terms of ecological sustainability
  • plan geographical enquiries to analyse and synthesise information from a variety of sources
  • apply maps, graphs and statistics and fieldwork to analyse and integrate data in geographical contexts.

Integrating the ‘Sustainability’ Cross Curriculum Priority is a feature of the program.

Skills outcomes

Learning activities include:

  • observing and recording aspects of the nature of the economic enterprise, its locational factors, and ecological dimensions and linkages and flows of people, goods, services or ideas within the economic enterprise
  • developing Geographic Inquiry Skills including: Acquiring (what is where), Processing (why is it there), and Communicating (why care)
  • answering a fieldwork question; “Describe the nature and location of your economic enterprise, any environmental constraints on it, and any impacts it may have on the environment. List any effects of global changes in the tourism industry on the operation of your economic enterprise. Describe in detail one linkage or flow of people, goods, services or ideas within the economic enterprise”.

Student pre-visit and follow up activities

Successful fieldwork visits have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities carried out prior to the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide connectedness and relevance to classroom learning.

Have students view the comprehensive Student Fieldwork Support Website to better understand their case study. The site also contains a virtual tour of the enterprise. 

On the day activities

During the full day fieldwork excursion, students will:

  • listen to a presentation on the main featues of the global tourism industry by OHEEC geography teachers, and an introductory presentation on the Sydney Harbour YHA by Sydney Harbour YHA Staff.  
  • undertake a guided tour through the Sydney Harbour YHA  to investigate its operations, including back of house areas not usually accessible to the public, to appreciate its role as an example of a local economic enterprise within the tourism industry.
  • observe and record linkages and flows of people, goods, services and ideas 
  • have opportunities to use their own cameras to document their fieldwork activities


  • Government Schools:  $15 per student (GST Free)
  • Non-Government Schools: $25 per student (GST free). 

Excursion program downloads