- Destination NSW
Aerial view of Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour.
Views of Bronte beach, Sydney
Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013. View from Circular Quay.

Boating on Sydney Harbour

  • Tall Ships, Sydney Harbour
  • Sailing, Sydney Harbour


The beautiful images of Sydney Harbour have inspired visitors from all over the world, and a day spent on its blue waters is a must. Pass by the famed white sails of the Sydney Opera House on a ferry, explore the islands on a harbour cruise or board an historic tall ship tour for a unique journey into on the harbour’s history and landscapes. There are also kayaking and high-speed boat tours on offer.

Must Do

Discover Sydney Harbour by boat

Boats on Sydney Harbour

The beautiful expanse of Sydney Harbour is there to be explored at your own pace. Jump on a ferry from Circular Quay to journey to the iconic beachfront of Manly and soak in the sweeping Sydney Harbour Headlands along the way. Travel beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the historic funfair of Luna Park, or simply take a short trip from the bustle of Darling Harbour the eclectic shops and cafes of Balmain

There are various companies offering cruises and chartered voyages around the harbour, from tall ship experiences to personal sailing tours. See some of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House while you enjoy lunch or dinner on board a chartered harbour cruise or tour. You can also catch a ferry to the fascinating and historic Sydney Harbour Islands found throughout the waterway. Explore Fort Denison, Shark Island, Clark Island or Goat Island throw a picnic rug near the beach to enjoy the view. Visit the world heritage listed island of Cockatoo Island, where you can take an audio tour or even camp the night.

It is also possible to kayak or sail around Sydney Harbour. Learn to sail or charter a yacht;- take the helm, trim the sails and soak up the atmosphere and sights of spectacular Sydney Harbour; there are boat hire companies located all around Sydney.

Sydney Harbour also marks the starting line of one of the world's great ocean yacht races. On the 26th December, the famous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race sets sail, heading down the South Coast of NSW to the finish line at Hobart. And on 26 January each year on Australia Day;the harbour is alive with revellers and spectacle. Settle in and watch the Ferrython and the Australia Day Regatta.

You can also locate and identify Sydney Harbour boating facilities, including marinas, fuel points, power and recreational services and moorings throughout Sydney Harbour, on the Roads and Maritime Services's interactive and user-friendly Boating Destination Map.

Swimming safety information

Swimming safety information

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options from beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers or swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth before diving in as rocks or trees could be submerged and never run and dive into the water from the beach.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent; particularly if the areas has recently experienced heavy rainfalls or flooding.

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