Sydney Harbour is known for being home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but there's so much more to discover. Spend some time here and you'll be awed by its natural beauty, from hidden beaches to pristine bushland and charming islands that are made for exploring.
Spot native wildlife at Sydney Harbour National Park, such as rainbow lorikeets and crimson rosellas. It's also home to The Heads, the dramatic sandstone cliffs at the entrance of the harbour, which protect the surrounding harbour islands.
Islands that should be on your bucket list include Cockatoo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Australian convict site. Fort Denison’s sandstone Martello Tower is the only one of its kind in Australia. Garden Island is home to a naval museum, the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, and Shark Island is a lovely spot for a picnic.
For a bird’s-eye view of the harbour as it spans out, plus a little history, scale the heights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb. Or you can climb aboard a seaplane with Sydney Seaplanes or Sydney by Seaplane, taking off from Rose Bay and looping the harbour so you can see it from all angles.
Four of Sydney's best fine dining restaurants sit on the water’s edge. Quay, Aria and Bennelong, which is set inside the sails of the Sydney Opera House, are all right on the harbour. Café Sydney is on the rooftop of Customs House and the view takes in the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
Views at Cafe Sydney, Circular Quay - Credit: Cafe Sydney
Altitude Restaurant at the Shangri-La Sydney takes things to new heights, featuring what has to be the best indoor view of the harbour in the city. The vista is just as stunning at nearby InterContinetnal Sydney's rooftop bar Aster. At Milsons Point, Ripples practically sits directly underneath the Harbour Bridge and has outdoor seating to best enjoy the scenery, while in Pyrmont, LuMi Dining matches its enviable outlooks with delicious degustations.
In the Barangaroo precinct, a number of venues offer dining with a water view, including Zushi, Cirrus, Lotus, Bea and Smoke. Heading east, Catalina enjoys panoramas over Rose Bay; Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and Doyle's both dish up seafood with views of the city skyline; and at Woolloomooloo’s Finger Wharf, Otto, Il Pontile, Kingleys and Alibi make the most of their alfresco harbour-side setting.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.