Sydney Harbor Boat Tours

The Sydney Harbor (technically, Port Jackson) offers a number of stunning views. But how much more delightful to see them from a different angle on the water, while moving at top speed in a jet boat, or cruising along on a sailboat.

There are a dozen or more companies that offer boat rides of the harbor.

Some are leisurely sail boat trips, where the gentle winds of the sea blow through your hair while you sip gin and talk about the weather. From that vantage point, you can relax and see how closely the sails on the ship match the curves of the Sydney Opera House.

Others offer high speed chases around and under the Harbor Bridge. Let the spray wet your face as the boat dances over waves, bouncing until you’re nearly tossed out. Tighten up your safety vest and put your face to the sun to dry off. Not all companies require life vests, since the boats are equipped with seat belts and safety bars.

Fish tails, powerbrake stops (in which the boat stops dead within two boat lengths), spins and more beat any theme park ride by a kilometer, the locals say. 700 horsepower diesels take the brave and the terrified on rides up to 80km/hr (48mi/hr). Rides last up to 30 minutes and some hold as many as 23 passengers.

Take a fishing cruise and find out why the Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the best spots for anglers in the world. Whether you’re interested in just a couple of hours of relaxing pole dipping or want an all-day excursion, Sydney’s fishing cruise companies have what you’re looking for.

For those who want just to watch, not to catch, there are variety of scenic cruises that offer whale watching, along with views of Fairy penguins, seals, dolphins and many of the birds native to the area.

Depart from the Opera House, the Taronga Zoo or Darling harbor to catch any one of a dozen different excursions. Four leave from Circular Quay every two hours. Spend a couple of hours and cruise up the southern shore to Watsons Bay, cross to the north shore to explore Middle harbor, then return to Circular Quay.

Lunch, dinner or sunset cruises are offered, too. There are afternoon cruises that last 2,5 hours and take a scenic tour of the eastern suburbs and the upscale Middle harbor. The 1,5 hour evening cruise takes riders into Darling harbor, where you get an excellent nighttime view of Sydney. The ship passes Garden Island naval base for a stunning view of the Opera House with all lights blazing.

Fully crewed yachts and captained charters are available for those with a higher budget. One company offers a 45-foot sailing catamaran, fully equipped with TV/DVD, CD/radio, air-conditioning, refrigerator and even a BBQ.

There are even day or evening gondola rides for the romantically inclined. Set off from Cockle Bay and gently glide around the inner western area of Sydney Harbor. Rides are uncatered or catered, as you choose, and seat up to four.

Whatever your interest, if it involves moving over the sea, Sydney has something within your time and money budget. Be sure to visit more than once, you won’t be able to see everything you want in just one trip.

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