Sydney Harbour



Of all the major cities in the world, there is perhaps only Brazil's Rio de Janiero that has a natural harbour as iconic and spectacularly beautiful as Sydney. Port Jackson, containing Sydney Harbour, is a magnificent backdrop to Sydney; it is the location of Australia's most internationally recognised buildings - the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Taronga Zoo, and all are best viewed from it. There are a number of islands in the harbour, some are open to visitors, all played an important role in Sydney's colonial past. Historic fortifications with gun placements and tunnels, built in the days when Australia was no more than a colonial outpost of the British Empire, occupy prominent headlands of the harbour, and are open to explore. Lookouts at various points up and down the harbour shores give different perspectives of the city.

Many pockets of natural bushland are scattered around the harbour's 240 kilometres of shoreline, most are accessible by walking tracks, making the harbour foreshores a walkers' paradise. It is possible to walk around much of the harbour's edge, and to picnic, relax or swim at a wide choice of diverse settings, all within a relatively short distance from the city centre.

Sydney Harbour is one of three large saltwater inlets which make up Port Jackson. The other two - Middle Harbour and North Harbour - are covered separately. Note: as the lower sections of the Lane Cove River and the Parramatta River are perceived as being part of Sydney Harbour, they have been included here, though technically they are not part of the Harbour.


Activities
Sydney Harbour is where a large number of Sydneysiders choose to spend their leisure time. On a warm sunny day, the harbour is a vibrant blue and dotted with hundreds of yachts, cruisers and ferries. Along its shores, walkers take leisurely strolls through tracts of rainforest, stopping for a dip at a secluded beach or to view the flora and fauna; amateur fisherman dangle a line; families picnic and children splash in its calm waters as boats pass to and fro.

From early morning until late at night, ferries and pleasure craft take partygoers and diners on cruises around the harbour, taking in many of its bays and coves. Evening cabaret/dinner cruises often come with live music and a dance floor.

Getting Around
Circular Quay, at the bottom end of the central business district, is the hub of Sydney Harbour. The Harbour Bridge and Opera House stand as sentinels on either side of the entrance to Sydney Cove, which is the terminus for harbour ferries and harbour cruises. Circular Quay railway station, right above the ferry terminals, is the harbour's main access point to Sydney's railway network.



Top destinations

Manly
For many years Manly was a seaside resort that was seen as being somewhat distanced from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. These days it is very much a part of the Sydney beach scene, greatly commercialised but somehow hasn't lost its feel as a resort and popular playground for holidaymakers and daytrippers alike. Ferries still ply the waters of Port Jackson, carrying Sydneysiders to its cafes, shops, beaches and recreational facilities that for many locals have become a way of life.


Watsons Bay
Once a fishing village, Watsons Bay is now one of the must-see places for visitors to Sydney Situated on a peninsula at the the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour, Watsons Bay offers panoramic views up the harbour as well as coastal vistas on the ocean side. There are enough things to see and do here and in the vicinity to fill a few hours or a few days.


Mosman
Mosman is a charming residential suburb set amidst beautiful bushland surrounds. It forms a peninsula between Sydney Harbour and Middle Harbour and features a number of popular beaches on both harbours. Small arcades, restaurants and exclusive boutiques give Mosman an almost village atmosphere, although the area feels very much alive.


Double Bay
Double Bay is a relatively exclusive harbourside eastern suburb, some 4 km east of the Sydney central business district, and is one of Sydney's prettiest harbourside shopping villages. Tagged by many as Sydney's "little Europe", the suburb boasts elegant streets, fine fashion boutiques, a vibrant cafe society and upmarket real estate featuring grand residential homes.