Boating on Sydney Harbour


Beautiful images of Sydney Harbour draw visitors from all over the world to Sydney. A day or night on its sparkling waters is a wonderful experience. See the majestic Sydney Opera House on a ferry, explore islands on a cruise, climb aboard a tall ship, hire a yacht or explore in a kayak. You can also zoom across the harbour in a jet boat.

  • Tall Ships, Sydney Harbour
  • Sailing, Sydney Harbour

Wonderful Harbour Experiences

A great way to explore one of the greatest natural harbours in the world is by boat. Plenty of choices are available, from ferries and cruises to charters and yachts. You can even hire a kayak from the likes of Sydney Harbour Kayaks or Manly Kayak Centre and paddle yourself around Sydney Harbour.

Tours of Sydney Harbour will take you past some of Sydney's iconic attractions, such as the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House. Enjoy lunch or dinner cruises or watch a glorious sunset over the Sydney Harbour Bridge on an evening cocktail cruise.

Ferries crisscross the deep blue waters to many attractions, such as Taronga Zoo, Sydney Harbour Islands and Luna Park, an amusement park with a giant smiling moon as the entrance. Two popular ferry rides are from Circular Quay to Manly and Watsons Bay.

Sailing, Sydney Harbour

You can take a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour, where you can climb aboard a tall ship and see marine life at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

Various companies offer cruises and chartered voyages around the harbour, from tall ship experiences with Sydney Harbour Tall Ships and Sydney Heritage Fleet Cruises to personal sailing tours with the likes of EastSail, Sailing Sydney and Sydney by Sail.

The harbour marks the starting line of one of the world's great ocean yacht races. On every 26 December, the famous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race sets sail. And 26 January is Australia Day, with the Harbour being the centre of celebrations including the Ferrython and the Australia Day Regatta.

If you hire a yacht or motorboat, Roads and Maritime Services' user-friendly Boating Destination Map will help you find facilities and services.

Swimming safety information

Swimming safety information

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and 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, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

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 area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. 

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