With the iconic silhouette of Sydney Opera House and the dramatic arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge etched against a backdrop of glittering ocean and soaring skyscrapers, Sydney Harbour is Australia’s quintessential postcard image. The harbor, the natural heart of Sydney, features more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) lined with golden beaches, lush gardens, and vibrant neighborhoods.
Sydney Harbour is at the top of the must-see list for first-time visitors to Sydney, and the most popular way to enjoy the views is on a sightseeing cruise. Opt for a scenic lunch cruise, admire the illuminated city skyline on a romantic dinner cruise, take a whale-watching cruise, or book one with a stop at Goat Island or Fort Denison. For the most spectacular views, soar overhead on a helicopter tour, or get back to nature on a walking tour in Sydney Harbour National Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sydney Harbour cruises range from a 90-minute excursion to a half-day tour.
- Sydney Harbour attractions such as the Royal Botanic Garden, Taronga Zoo, and Sydney Opera House are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get to Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour is located in central Sydney, a 30-minute train or taxi ride from Sydney Airport, and is easily accessible from all corners of the city. Boat cruises and ferries set sail across the harbor from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, toward Rose Bay, Bondi Beach, and Watsons Bay, while trains and buses run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge between the Central Business District and the North Shore.
When to Get There
The Sydney skyline is impressive at any time of year, but the most atmospheric times to photograph Sydney Harbour are at sunrise and sunset. For a special experience, time your visit to coincide with one of the city’s world-famous events, such as the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, New Year’s Eve fireworks, or the Australia Day parade.
Where to Find the Best Views of Sydney Harbour
Gaze out over the harbor from Sydney Harbour Bridge, stroll along the waterfront of The Rocks, or take in the ocean views from Bondi Beach. For a striking landscape view, head to Mrs. Macquarie's Point, McMahons Point, Kirribilli, or Milsons Point, where you can capture a unique shot looking out beneath the Harbour Bridge.