Humpback whales, spectacular fireworks, an internationally renowned yacht race and a world famous opera house.
Discover our iconic waterways
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.
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 up to 12 stops and up to two days to visit them. These red rocket ferries zoom between Circular Quay, Taronga Zoo, Watson’s Bay, Fort Denison, Fish Markets, 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 75% 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.
Vivid Sydney is turning 10 with the show of the decade on the harbour from 25 May to 16 June. Cruise through a kaleidoscope of light and laser displays aboard Captain Cook Cruises official Harbour Light participating vessels. Up to six cruises depart nightly between 5pm and 9.15pm from $25 per person or dine aboard Vivid Sydney 2000 from $75 to $239.
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.
It’s that time of year again! Whale watching season is here. The three-hour Discovery Cruise on Ocean Dreaming II will take you on Sydney’s largest and best purpose-built whale watching boat, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride over three levels with 360-degree wrap around spacious decks. The two-hour Adventure Cruise on Totally Wild takes you on a purpose-built, 27-seat high speed craft, perfect for thrill seekers wanting an adrenalin rush. Both cruises reach the whales in lightning speed, and with a 99% success rate or your next cruise free.
Travel with the best for less with the Whale Watching Sydney Discovery Cruise Combo. Including the three-hour Discovery Whale Watching Sydney Cruise, a 24-hour Eco Hopper Hop On Hop Off pass, plus professional photos taken onboard, there’s no better deal for the full harbour and ocean experience.
The Eco Hopper 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, the pass provides travel on five different ferry services, including the popular Eco Hopper City Loop. 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.
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 regular departures from Wharf 6 Circular Quay and Darling Harbour each day.
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.
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. Speak with the friendly and knowledgeable staff and they will advise you on the best ways to get the most out of your time on Sydney Harbour.
WHERE TO BOOK:
MY FAST FERRY. Harbour Sightseeing cruise departs Wharf 6, Circular Quay and to Manly departs Wharf 2, Circular Quay. The My Fast Ferry App is a free download for IOS and Android from myfastferry.com.au/app Tel: 9583 1199. myfastferry.com.au
ECO HOPPER. Tel: 9583 1199. ecohopper.com.au
COOK CRUISES. Departs Wharf 6, Circular Quay and Pier 26, Darling Harbour. Tel: 9206 1111. captaincook.com.au barangaroofastferry.com.au