- Destination NSW
Friends enjoying the Island Bar on Sydney harbour. DNSW USAGE ONLY

Sydney Harbour

  • Sydney Opera House lights up Sydney harbour. Vivid Sydney 2014
  • Aerial of Sydney Harbour


Nature around Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour is a beautiful meandering waterway, famous around the world. It’s also a natural playground for Sydneysiders and visitors who use it for sailing, swimming, diving and walking around its foreshore.

Must Do

About Sydney Harbour

Surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of shoreline, national parks and historic sites, the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour are synonymous with the NSW capital city. Alive with the movement of ferries, yachts and kayaks, Sydney Harbour is also a gateway to access other parts of Sydney as well as a prime spot for spending a day out on the water.

A great way to experience the beauty of the harbour is to catch an iconic Sydney ferry. Passing by some of the harbour’s famed landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the city’s waterways offer plenty of scenic vantage points. Follow the Manly, Watsons Bay or Taronga Zoo ferry routes to enjoy panoramic harbour views.

Take advantage of a sunny Sydney day by relaxing on a chartered yacht in one of Sydney Harbour’s bays or unwind on a chartered cruise vessel departing from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour. Head out on foot and enjoy a short scenic tour around the harbour, or spend an evening dining on Sydney’s sparkling waters.

The islands located within Sydney Harbour, including Fort Denison, Shark, Clark, Rodd, Goat and Cockatoo Islands, hold both great cultural and historical significance. Some of the sites are rich with Aboriginal history, while others reflect the city’s European past with convict-built structures and defensive forts. Cockatoo Island is one of 11 Australian convict sites that have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, while Fort Denison’s sandstone Martello Tower is the only one of its kind in Australia.

Sydney Harbour National Park incorporates many of the harbour’s islands as well as large stretches of foreshore, ideal for a harbourside walk. Spend time enjoying the sights offered by a section of the challenging Sydney Harbour Bridge to South Head walk or wander through areas of bushland, such as the surrounds of Bradleys Head. During a visit to the national park, keep an eye out for native wildlife, as well as whales passing by during their annual migration during May to November.

Make your way to Sydney Harbour during the Vivid Sydney festival to see some of the city’s popular waterside icons illuminated after nightfall or stake out your spot, either on the water or on land, on New Year’s Eve to enjoy a mesmerising fireworks display. Held annually, both events attract thousands of visitors and offer a different way to soak up the city’s sublime night-time views and spot Sydney’s most popular attractions.


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  • Sailing on Sydney Harbour


    See some of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, as you embark on a chartered harbour cruise or tour. Catch a ferry from Circular Quay and enjoy scenic harbour views or hire a boat and explore Sydney Harbour, golden beaches and hidden coves at your own pace.

  • Exploring Fort Denison, Sydney


    Familiarise yourself with the convict and shipbuilding heritage of Cockatoo Island as you follow an audio tour around the island. Spend time exploring the historic Fort Denison, the island’s museum and Australia’s only Martello Tower. Stop by Middle Head to observe tunnels, forts and other military defences built from 1806 to the 1960s.

  • Sydney Harbour bridge views


    Make your way along urban pathways, through lush bushland and past scenic vantage points as you follow the Sydney Harbour Bridge to South Head walk. Take in views of the city skyline, swim at a harbourside beach or cross the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge as you complete a section of the expansive Sydney Harbour Circle Walk.

Explore Sydney Harbour