Harbour Cruising: Sydney explored by sea
Humpback whales, spectacular fireworks, midget submarines, an internationally renowned yacht race and a world famous opera house.
SYDNEY’S ICONIC HARBOUR has pretty much seen it all since then Lieutenant James Cook arrived aboard the Endeavour in 1770 and named it Port Jackson. It was here that the first settlers set up camp in 1788 and the harbour has been an important part of city life ever since, used for transportation and recreation.
Little wonder it is widely regarded as the greatest leisure harbour in the world. On any given day, the harbour is alive with boats of all shapes and sizes, be it passenger ferries, state-of-the-art yachts or kayakers. This is particularly true during the traditional Boxing Day launch of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race, when hundreds of craft follow the racers out of the harbour. And on New Year’s Eve, there’s no better spot to be than on a boat beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the breathtaking fireworks display takes place in the skies above.
While the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are its two most famous landmarks, the harbour has plenty more sights up its sleeve. Circular Quay, Luna Park and Anzac Bridge are all accessible and visible from the water along with hundreds of bays, coves, beaches and waterways. Several islands can also be found in the harbour, the most notable being Fort Denison, Shark Island and Cockatoo Island.
Historians will no doubt want to head round to Green Point in Watsons Bay where the remains of fortifications designed to protect the harbour from a submarine attack in World War II can still be seen. The net anchor points are still in place and one of the midget submarines caught up in those defences in 1942 is now on display at the Australian War Memorial.
With so much to see and do, it pays to plan ahead and the good news is that there are plenty of ways to get out on the water, designed to suit all budgets, time frames and interests.
Multi-award winning Captain Cook Cruises offers premium dining, sightseeing, ferry and whale watching cruises. The Harbour Story cruise combines premium sightseeing with the stories of Sydney’s most fascinating characters every day at 10am and 2.15pm from Circular Quay. Upgrade to the premium package including
a glass of sparkling wine, morning afternoon tea selection and coffee to order.
Sydney’s official Hop On Hop Off Harbour Explorer pass now includes 11 stops and up to two days to visit them. These red rocket ferries zoom between Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo, Watson’s Bay, Fort Denison, Shark Island, Garden Island, Luna Park, Manly, Barangaroo, ICC Sydney and Darling Harbour with commentary. Start your journey from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour or Manly and save up to 95% on attraction entry with a Captain Cook cruise and attraction combo ticket including entry to Sydney’s most popular waterfront attractions. The company’s flagships Sydney
2000 and John Cadman 2 take Sydney Harbour dining to an impressive level. A comprehensive range of breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner options operate daily with a choice of contemporary Australian buffet, à la carte, and six-course degustation menus.
Celebrate Autumn with a High Tea at Sea onboard Captain Cook Cruises. A perennial favourite with the girls, the cruise departs five days a week at 2.30pm and includes a delectable selection of sweet and savoury treats, a welcome glass of pink bubbles, tea and coffee.
Barangaroo Fast Ferry is the new direct service between Manly and Sydney’s newest and most exciting city precinct—barangaroo. From the calm headland reserve to the urban energy of the retail centre, Barangaroo is a place to meet, work, dine or relax. Ferry transport specialists, Sealink, operate two fast vessels daily, seating up to 400-passengers.
Experience the best of Sydney Harbour with My Fast Ferry. Book online at myfastferry.com.au or purchase tickets directly via the Myfastferry app. It’s free to download and has an extensive range of ferry options. You can even use your Opal Card to travel with Opalpay on selected My Fast Ferry routes from Wharf 2 including the Manly Fast Ferry and services to Darling Harbour, Watsons Bay and the City Link 1 Hour Cruise.
The Ecohopper 24-hour hop-on hop-off sightseeing pass visits popular harbour locations; Manly, Darling Harbour, Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Fort Denison, Quarantine Station, Circular Quay, Rose Bay, Pyrmont Bay and Milson’s Point.
Offering great value, Ecohopper 24-hour hop-on hop-off pass provides travel on five different ferry services, including the popular Ecohopper City Loop ferry. This versatile ticket has the most inclusions, highest service frequency and longest operating hours and is the only ticket which includes unlimited travel on Manly Fast Ferry, so there’s no need to rush back from Manly in the evening, with the final Fast Ferry departing at 9pm. Commentary and alcoholic refreshments are available on-board. Why not also include a visit to Taronga Zoo or Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium with the popular Combo Pass. This is the only Zoo Combo ticket that provides travel on five separate services with direct connections from Manly to Circular Quay and Darling Harbour with no vessel change required.
If you don’t have time to do it all, but still want to experience Sydney from the water, one-hour and two-hour cruise options are also available. With commentary and licensed bar onboard this is a great, relaxing way to see iconic Sydney. There are regular departures from
Wharf 6 Circular Quay and Darling Harbour each day. Also on offer is a Weekend Harbour Beaches service which provides a quick and affordable cross harbour connection between Manly, Watsons Bay and Rose Bay.
If you are just after a fast ferry ride than a trip to Manly is a must do, it only takes 18 minutes and services depart every 20 minutes from Wharf 2. Use your Opal Card to travel on Manly Fast Ferry Opalpay system, set fares are $9.10 per adult and $5.40 per child.
My Fast Ferry ticket offices are located on wharves 2 and 6 Circular Quay as well as Manly Wharf and Darling Harbour—pier 26 shop 2B. So if you are still unsure as to which harbour experience is best for you, speak with the friendly and knowledgable My Fast Ferry sales staff and they will advise you on the best ways to get the most out of your time on Sydney Harbour.
A ferry is the perfect way to explore Sydney, and with so many options available with My Fast Ferry, there is sure to be something for everyone.
Fantasea Cruising offers a wide variety of harbour cruise experiences, from hop-on hop-off cruises, to morning tea cruises to water taxis. Enjoy Sydney like a true Aussie with an Aussie BBQ and beer on a family friendly, fun cruise. The Classic Aussie Cruise has four daily departures from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, with a 24-hour hop on hop off pass also available.
Photo: Hugh Stewart/destination NSW.
High Tea with Captain Cook Cruises.
My Fast Ferry.