Where Sydney

HAROUR TOWN

Spectacula­r fireworks, a world-famous opera house and an ocean full of whales.

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Cruising iconic Sydney Harbour

SYDNEY’S ICONIC HARBOUR has pretty much seen it all since Lieutenant James Cook arrived aboard the Endeavour in 1770 and named it Port Jackson. The first settlers set up camp here 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 breathtaki­ng fireworks displays take 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 there is no shortage of options. 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 and afternoon tea selections and coffee to order.

Sydney’s official Hop On Hop Off Harbour Explorer pass includes up to 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, Luna Park, Manly, Maritime Museum, 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 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 returns from May 24 to June 15 with Sydney Harbour as its centrepiec­e. Cruise through a kaleidosco­pe of light and laser displays aboard Captain Cook Cruises' official Harbour Light participat­ing vessels. Up to seven cruises depart nightly between 5pm and 9.15pm including the familyfrie­ndly Vivid Lights cruises from $25 per person. Dining options start from only $69 including drinks, right up to $245 per person for the prestigiou­s Gold Penfolds Dinner Cruise.

Barangaroo Fast Ferry is the new direct service between Manly and Barangaroo, Sydney's newest and most exciting city precinct. From the calm headland reserve to the urban energy of the retail centre, Barangaroo is a place to meet, work, dine or relax. Captain Cook Cruises operates two fast vessels daily, with Opalpay cards accepted on all ferry services.

The northern migration of humpback whales is in full swing, meaning curious whales coming right up to boats to say hello!

With more than 25 years' experience and a fleet of custombuil­t whale-watching vessels, a Whale Watching Sydney cruise— departing daily from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay—is the obvious choice for the experience of a lifetime.

The three-hour Discovery Cruise takes you on Sydney's largest purpose-built whale-watching boat, ensuring a comfortabl­e ride over three levels with wrap-around decks. For thrill-seeker, the twohour Adventure Cruise takes you on a 27-seat high-speed craft. Both cruises reach whales in lightning speed, with a 99% success rate or your next cruise free.

The My Fast Ferry 48-hour Hop On Hop Off Pass is great value, with five services included in one pass that gives you access to the best of the harbour: Manly, Darling Harbour, Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Fort Denison, Quarantine Station, Circular Quay, Rose Bay, Pyrmont Bay and Milsons Point. This ticket has the most inclusions, highest frequency and longest operating hours. It also includes unlimited travel on Manly Fast Ferry.

My Fast Ferry and Whale Watching Sydney ticket offices are located on Wharves 2 and 6 at Circular Quay, Manly Wharf and Darling Harbour, Pier 26 shop 2B. Their friendly staff can advise you on how to get the most out of your time on Sydney Harbour.

WHERE TO BOOK:

■ MY FAST FERRY.

Harbour Sightseein­g cruises departs Wharf 6, Circular Quay and the Fast Ferry Service to Manly departs Wharf 2, Circular Quay. Tel: 9583 1199. myfastferr­y.com. au

■ WHALE WATCHING SYDNEY. Tel: 9583 1199. whalewatch­ingsydney.com.au

■ CAPTAIN COOK CRUISES. Departs Wharf 6, Circular Quay and Pier 26, Darling Harbour.

Tel: 9206 1111. captaincoo­k.com. au barangaroo­fastferry.com. au

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