If you’re on a budget and don’t feel like you can splash out on a cruise, Sydney Ferries is the public harbour transportation service – a no-frills harbour experience!
When the first British colonist party arrived in Port Jackson in 1788, its leader Arthur Phillip wrote in his journal that they had discovered “the finest harbour in the world”. With a perimeter measuring an astonishing 317km, it is certainly the largest natural harbour in the world, and its relatively narrow mouth provided excellent shelter from the large storms that would otherwise have destroyed the little fleet. The land was fertile, the harbour was deep, and Phillip knew that this was the site on which to found his new settlement, which he named Sydney shortly thereafter.
A World-Renowned Skyline
Port Jackson has lost none of its charm in the ensuing two centuries. The tiny colonial town has now become a major world city, but, far from spoiling the harbour, Sydney’s magnificent skyline effortlessly complements the grandeur of its natural surroundings. In the course of a single boat ride you can cruise by the Sydney Opera House, pass under the Harbour Bridge and stop off for lunch at Darling Harbour. Heading back east you can pass by Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, a beautiful panoramic spot where Governor Macquarie’s wife used to spend hours watching the ferries come and go in the port. Slightly further on you will find the pretty Double Bay, with its understated little cafes and tree-lined boulevards.
If you’re looking to enjoy views of Port Jackson from land, the best lookout besides Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is probably Kirribilli, on the North Shore and only a few hundred metres east of the Harbour Bridge. From here you can get great views of the bridge and the opera house, as well as an uninterrupted vista eastwards towards the mouth of the estuary.
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