The Best Ways to Experience Sydney Harbor
Posted on 06/13/2017
Seeing Sydney sits atop many traveler’s bucket list, as this sunny Australian city beside the sea is home to a host of iconic sights, world-class restaurants and bars, along with a hip citizenry that can rival Los Angeles or London.
So what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Sydney? The Opera House? The Harbour Bridge? Beaches?
Well, they are all certainly the most popular symbols of Sydney, and they all have one thing in common: they can be found in Sydney Harbour.
Sydney Harbour is truly the city's shining star, as this sheltered gem is home to more than 150 miles of shoreline, with nearly each and every one holding something worth exploring. The European explorers who first discovered it called it the finest harbor in the world, and today it is the finest place to take in the city and get those ‘pinch me, I am in Sydney’ moments.
Circle the Quay
The fleet of Sydney Ferries that take off from Circular Quay are a cheap and cheerful way to see some of the best sights in Sydney Harbour. These ships are popular among tourists and locals alike.
Regardless of which line you choose, you will pass by sections of Sydney’s skyline that are bound to take your breath away. The two most popular are the line to the beachy suburb of Manly and the ferry to Taronga Zoo. Circular Quay is worth visiting in itself for the nearby Botanical Garden and historic Customs House.
Feast at Fort Denison
Situated on an island at the heart of the harbor, Fort Denison takes the concept of dining with a view to a whole new ‘sea’ level. Fort Denison can only be reached by ferry, and once ashore you are surrounded by history (the island has been everything from a military outpost to a weather station over the years) and an enchanting ‘Australia-meets-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean’ vibe.
Only open for lunch, Fort Denison serves up a menu full of local delicacies like oysters and crab & prawn linguini in addition to plenty of sun-kissed cocktails to complement the sweeping views of the harbor. Beware of the canon though; it still fires each afternoon at one o’clock.
Bridge the Gap
In addition to the Opera House, the hulking Harbour Bridge is the other site you simply cannot leave Sydney without getting up-close-and-personal with. This wide steel bridge built in 1932 has become engrained in the culture of the city, and while you could just take a scenic walk across its pedestrian lane, why not climb to the top?
Yes, ever since the late ‘90s, a local company called Bridge Climb has offered harrowing trips up the top—more than 400 feet above sea level.
Take it Beachy
Being sheltered from the sea, the beaches that circle Sydney Harbour are calmer than those exposed to the wild waves of the Pacific. These stretches of soft sand are ideal for relaxing and simply just taking in the sights.
Milk Beach is a great place to hide from the crowds and admire the views, while Watson’s Bay provides plenty of facilities and even a chance for a tasty fish and chips.
PHOTO: Sydney Harbour is the shining star of this stunning city. (photo by Worldwide Scott)