- 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 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

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 youll land in one of Sydneys most vibrant beachside communities. Other favourite ferry stops include Watsons Bay in the eastern suburbs or one of Sydneys 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 Sydneys 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. 

  • Ferry, Milsons Point

    Sydney Harbour Island hopping

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

  • kayaking, Sydney Harbour

    Sydney by kayak

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

  • Houseboat holiday on Hawkesbury River, Image James Pipino

    Hawkesbury houseboat holiday

    Just an hour's drive north of the city centre is the beautiful Hawkesbury River. Here, you can  Sightseeing in classic Aussie car 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.

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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