Insider Tips for Sailing Sydney Harbour

20 Jan 16

Sydney Harbour Sydney Opera House

Every year Sydney Harbour sees around 15 million people travel on its waters. From interstate and international visitors to regular local travellers, there is still much to learn about the best way to navigate the waters of this iconic harbour. Transport crew and ferry masters have weighed in on what excites passengers including the obvious landmarks of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as well as stunning foreshore, harbour islands, gleaming boats, bays, parks and beaches. Join us for a look into the most scenic public transport system in the world.

F1 Route Manly

The Manly ferry takes a 1 hour round trip and is the only point-to-point route. Arriving at Manly cove, the journey passes bushland, bays, beaches and famous Sydney icons. Many people aren't aware that much of Sydney Harbour is national park, so passing the cliffs and heads which frame the opening of the Harbour is a real highlight which offers passengers the chance to feel the swell of the open sea. Sometimes wildlife can be spotted in the harbour including whales, dolphins and sneaky seals. For the best views, grab an outside seat on either the rear or forward decks or along the side.

F7 Route Eastern Suburbs

In just a 40 minute round trip this route takes in the eastern harbour bays and heritage sites of Double Bay, Rose Bay and Watsons Bay. Highlights including the seafood and swimming beaches of Watsons Bay as well as the historic naval operations and ferry maintenance of Garden Island. You'll want your camera handy on this route, as well as a seat outside on the top deck to enjoy the views of the passing suburbs and bays. Don't forget sunglasses and sunscreen as well, the sun on the harbour can be very bright.

F6 Route Mosman Bay

Another 40 minute round trip showcases the hidden gems of the harbour including the North Shore bays, lovely calm waters and the older suburbs of Sydney. Highlights include bushland, marinas and natural seawalls as well as the luxury harbourside houses along the foreshore. Mosman Bay offers tranquillity, but don't be surprised to see dogs joining you on the ferry as many locals take their leashed companions on the harbour too.

F4 Route Darling Harbour

An hour round trip takes you west of Circular Quay and takes in some of Sydney's most iconic sights including Cockatoo Island, Luna Park and right underneath the Harbour Bridge. Finishing up at the modern entertainment precinct of Darling Harbour, the ferry glides past historic waterfront homes en route. If you're in town on a Saturday night, jump on a ferry and get out on the harbour by 8.30pm to be treated to a fireworks display that lights up the sky.

F5 Route Neutral Bay

Just a 30 minute round trip, this route showcases spectacular foreshore walks and residential areas. Crossing the harbour, highlights include the Sydney residences of two important Australian political figures, the Australian Governor-General at Admiralty House and the Prime Minister at Kirribilli House. There are plenty of stunning parks everywhere and many passengers like to pack a picnic or enjoy lunch at one of the excellent local restaurants.