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Sydney Harbour Cruises

Sydney Harbour. It is stunning. It is sparkling. It is spectacular. It is the spiritual heart of Sydney and what makes it a sought out city to live in and a sought out destination to visit. You can drive and walk around it, you can drive and climb over it, you can even dive under it but there is no better way to enjoy the harbour than to get out on it. Take a cruise to explore the coves, sandstone bluffs, parklands, beaches, tributaries, islands and the man-made periwinkles that are collectively known as expensive real estate.

If you aren’t lucky or rich enough to own your own boat, a harbour cruise is the best way to get out and about and there are lots of different cruising options. There are cocktail cruises, lunch and dinner cruises, sightseeing cruises and specialised cruises for events like Christmas, Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

The most basic, inexpensive and (many would argue) enjoyable harbour cruise is to hop on a Manly ferry from Wharf Three at Circular Quay. The journey takes half an hour and is more than pleasant. You can wander from side to side for a change of scenery and it is usually a gentle ride (unless there is a swell when you cross the heads, but that can add to the experience). You get to see things like the Sydney Opera House, Kirribilli House, Admiralty House, Taronga Zoo, Fort Denison, Shark and Clark Islands, Rushcutters Bay, Point Piper, Rose Bay, Double Bay, Watsons Bay and, of course, Manly. Ferries run on the half hour.

You can also enjoy a ferry cruise to the harbour islands like Clark Island, Shark Island and Cockatoo Island for a picnic. At the other end of the cost scale, you could hire a water taxi to be your personal chauffeur or, you could just opt for one of the professional cruise operators who will undoubtedly provide a rewarding experience.

You can experience the harbour on a Tall Ship – you can get involved and help hoist the sails or just sit back and relax and take in the salty harbour breeze to take in the view and enjoy a lunch. The ticket booth is at Wharf 5, Circular Quay.

Or perhaps head to Darling Harbour and take a cruise from there. Captain Cook Cruises offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktail and high tea cruises as well as whale watching, sightseeing and hop on-hop off attraction passes.

There are Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruises that offer restaurant quality dining aboard a luxury catamaran (depart King Street Wharf). Sydney Harbour Charter Cruises are also based here. And while not specifically a harbour cruise, if you take a Whale Watching Cruise you get the adventure and reward of whale watching with the bonus of seeing Sydney Harbour on the way out and back.

It was Samuel Johnson who said that “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…” If the good doctor had lived in Sydney, he surely would have said the same about its harbour.

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