The Sydney Harbour Experience

The Sydney Harbour Experience

What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of a trip to Sydney? If you ask most people including myself the answer is Sydney Harbour. Usually a beautiful areal shot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and opera house, with the glistening blue water underneath on a picturesque sunny day. That's because Sydney Harbour is the most beautiful harbour on the planet and everyone wants to see it.

The thing is though, that when most people visit Sydney they really only see this beautiful waterway from the air as they come in to land or if they happen to catch a public ferry with a bunch of other people they don't know from a bar of soap.


Little do most tourists know, there are plenty of memorable ways to experience everything Sydney Harbour has on offer by hiring a private boat, or by buying tickets to one of the many lunch or dinner cruises. As a captain on Sydney Harbour I have spent plenty of time doing exactly this so here are a few of my favourite ways to maximise your Sydney Harbour Experience.

My first tip is for the budget conscious. Hiring boats can be expensive but it doesn't mean that you can't see the harbour on a budget. There are some great boats that offer lunch and dinner cruises starting from $20pp. A $20pp cruise usually get's you a 2 hour harbour cruise, a basic lunch, tea and coffee, and there is a bar available if you like the idea of a glass of champagne or wine whilst you sit back and take it all in.

At the other end of the spectrum Sydney actually has super yachts available for private cruises. Yes that's right super yachts. You have the opportunity to live it up like a celebrity being waited on hand and food with premium food, drinks, and wait staff. Some of these boats have quite literally had some of the worlds biggest celebrities, government officials, and business personalities on board.

Super yacht cruises are usually for the 5 star traveller and usually for those who don't need to look at the bill when they go to pay for it. Most of the boats are available for a four hour charter or for those who really want that celebrity style experience you can even stay on board overnight. Expect to pay $10,000 and up for an overnight experience for up to 6 guests, or about $8,000 and up for a fully catered four hour cruise for you and up to 48 other guests.


There are a few operators out there so I choose to use a charter boat agency when I am booking boats so that they can give me some advice on which is the best boat to go with. I use Any Boat based in Lavender Bay for Sydney super yacht charters.


If you are familiar with driving boats and you want to get out and see things at your own pace then another great option is a small self drive boat hire. I often warn people that maybe it is not the best idea though since Sydney Harbour is a very busy water way and if you are not familiar with it things can get pretty hairy. It is not uncommon for cargo ships, huge ferry's, and cruise liners to come at you from every angle. Most of the self drive boats travel at a snails pace so a good knowledge of the rules is essential.


This next boat hire option is especially good for the romantics. Did you know that you can hire a yacht and sail on Sydney Harbour? What's more is you can take a yacht yourself if you have sailing experience. Hiring a yacht is one of the more affordable ways to see Sydney in a private setting and prices start at about $800 for the day.

If you aren't lucky enough to have sailing experience under your belt there is nothing to worry about. All of the boats have the option of being skippered for about $200 extra. Picture yourself sailing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House, and dropping anchor in a small bay with a picnic basket, a couple of champagne flutes, and a bottle of bubbly. It is tempting to turn off the computer and head out there right now...

I use Sailcorp for my Sailing boats as they have the best location, best view, and best prices. You can find Sailcorp at

If you are travelling with a group, or a team then you absolutely must check out one of Sydney's party boats. Essentially you get to hire a private boat, usually for 20 – 40 people and spend the day eating, drinking, swimming, dancing, and checking out the views from a boat. You will also be doing what Sydney locals find themselves doing all summer long so this isn't just a tourist attraction.

Like with the super yachts I choose to use an agent to help me select the correct boat for the event and I use Any Boat which you will find at Any Boat are an agent for pretty much every charter boat in Sydney and can organise cruises on any kind of boat for any event. They even do Whale Watching tours, fishing charters, and New Years Eve Cruises.

So there you have it. I am so passionate about Sydney Harbour and boating that I could sit here four hours talking about the best things to do but if I had to pick just a handful then I think these cruise cover what most people would love to do and also meets any budget other than $0.

Just remember, it doesn't matter how you see Sydney Harbour, it just matters that you see it some how.

Author: Daniel Da Silva

Posted By Daniel Da Silva

Updated : 2nd November 2021 | Words : 976 | Views : 2321

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