destination NSW

Boating and sailing in Sydney


Boating in and around Sydney

Set sail on an adventure and explore stunning Sydney Harbour by boat. Go for a twilight sail, book a cruise or visit Sydney’s must-see attractions by ferry from Circular Quay. You can even be a skipper for the day – just make sure you observe boating-safety guidelines.

Must Do

Kayak Sydney Harbour in 360°

Want to see more aerial views of Sydney? Visit Sydney 360 to explore Sydney like you have never seen it before.

Explore Sydney by boat

Sydney from the Harbour

Sydney is a beautiful – and easy – city to explore by boat, with coastal routes and inland rivers giving you plenty of options for a daytrip or overnight cruise.

The easiest way to see Sydney by boat is to take a ferry. From Circular Quay, there are many destination choices. The ferry to Manly is popular – not only because it passes the famous Sydney Opera House but also because you’ll land in one of Sydney’s most vibrant beachside communities. Other favourite ferry stops include Watsons Bay in the eastern suburbs or one of Sydney’s Harbour islands.

For something unique, choose a sightseeing cruise or a cruise with onboard dining. For a romantic night out, consider a dinner cruise at sunset with Captain Cook Cruises.

For adventurers seeking a real adrenaline rush, hold on to your hat and book a ride on an Oz Jet Boating, Sydney Jet, Thunder Jet or Harbour Jet cruise. Operating out of Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, these excursions take you around Sydney’s waters in high-speed boats, performing quick spins and sharp turns – perfect for a mini adventure!

Prefer to be captain of your own ship? Take control by hiring a yacht or learning to sail. Join the crew or become a passenger on a genuine Americas Cup yacht with Sailing Sydney. Take lessons or a tour with EastSail or Sydney by Sail, two of the many operators that can help you enjoy a lovely day of sailing on the harbour. 

The Sydney Harbour Islands – Fort Denison, Shark Island, Clark Island, Rodd Island, Goat Island and Cockatoo Island – are among some of Sydney Harbour’s most accessible natural attractions. Catch one of the regular ferry services from Circular Quay and take in the scenery.

Looking to combine fitness with your water-based fun? Hire a kayak for the day and explore the city’s waters at your own pace. This is a fantastic way to see Sydney’s iconic sites, such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as discover some of Sydney’s secret beaches.

Just an hour's drive north of the CBD is the beautiful Hawkesbury River. Here, you can hire a houseboat and cruise around in your floating home, away from the bustle of the city. From budget four-berth options to Ultimate Spa houseboats, your Hawkesbury holiday is the perfect short break.

Boating in Sydney

You don't have to travel far in Sydney to discover a city in love with water activities. Whether you're on the water for play or to learn a new skill, you'll find just what you're looking for. Take a high speed ride across the harbour on a jetboat or paddle along a quiet stretch of river with pelicans and kookaburras for company.

A scenic Sydney Ferry ride to Manly or down the Paramatta River to Paramatta, departing Circular Quay, is an easy and affordable way to catch a glimpse of isolated landmarks surrounding the city centre. Relax under the sun while cruising sparkling Sydney waters. Why not take one of the daily sightseeing cruises or a dinner cruise and marvel at the harbour's picturesque sunset while devouring a hearty meal. 

For a more active day kayaks and canoes can be hired from Rose Bay, The Spit and Manly or from Sydney's northernmost stretch of sand, Palm Beach, hire a boat from the Audley Boatshed. Learn to sail yourself with EastSail or Sydney by Sail, both have twilight sailing and weekly competition racing for the really keen. The adrenaline seekers will want to experience the blasting speed Oz Jet Boating shark boats or Sydney Jet as they dash past the beautiful harbour foreshore with 270-degree spins and power brake stops.