Before you book that flight to Noosa or Byron Bay, take a closer look at the pleasures on our doorstep. Waterfront living offers a wide variety of glamorous activities, whether you stay close to home on the lower north shore or make your way up the northern beaches. In fact, there are so many unique experiences you just might make our harbour city your favourite getaway spot.
Make a splash on the harbour
Experience the rush of zipping across the water in a classic wooden speedboat. Handcrafted on the shores of Lake Como, La Dolce Vita seats up to four passengers in comfort and style. With her sleek Italian lines and aura of 1950s elegance, this stunning craft provides a truly special way to cruise Sydney Harbour. Alternatively, charter a yacht or catamaran with Champagne Sailing. Hoist sail with friends and feast on seafood platters and glasses of bubbly, or glide off into the sunset with your love.
Go for a drive in style
Hire a classic roadster and head north. Roughly 30 minutes from the lower north shore, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is an idyllic setting for a range of relaxing activities. Enjoy a spot of fishing or birdwatching, or just take a long drive through scenic bush and along winding creeks and rivers. If you’re not picnicking, ring ahead to organise lunch at Cottage Point Inn on the water’s edge. You can also stay the night here, so why not rent a tinnie to explore the beautiful Hawkesbury River at dawn?
Safari and bring out your wild side
Savour sips of champagne and dazzling twilight views of the harbour as jungle sounds echo around you. And that’s just the beginning of Roar & Snore at Taronga Zoo. You’ll meet a few friendly creatures before you enjoy dinner and embark on an exciting night safari. After sleeping in a luxury tent, you can shower (while taking in the sweeping views) and breakfast before getting up close and personal with the resident animals on a behind-the-scenes tour. Mosman never looked so wild!
Step back in time
Sydney Harbour National Park is home to Q Station, the former North Head Quarantine Station. From the 1830s till as close as the 1980s, the government used these now heritage buildings to quarantine people suspected of carrying disease. Today, you can stay the night in a historic cottage (or haunted room!) and thrill to a ghost or paranormal tour. Alternatively, stick to daytime exploration and learn about the station’s fascinating history. You can also snorkel in the North Harbour Aquatic Reserve, and then relax into sunset drinks at the Manly Wharf Hotel bar.
Go walkabout on the harbour
The Sydney metropolitan area alone is home to roughly 29 Aboriginal clan groups, which collectively form the Eora Nation. To learn more, take a Tribal Warrior cultural cruise around Sydney Harbour on the Mari Nawi. Your Indigenous host and crew will explain the Aboriginal names and meanings of significant landmarks, along with their traditional methods of fishing and food gathering. After landing at Goat or Clark Island, you’ll experience an authentic Aboriginal performance involving dance and the didgeridoo.
Treat your taste buds
You’ll take in panoramic harbour views along with deliciously pioneering dishes at Quay restaurant in The Rocks. For more-traditional fare with equally impressive views, indulge in morning or afternoon tea at beautiful Gunners Barracks in Mosman. If you do visit Q Station, try its Boilerhouse Restaurant, where you dine on modern cuisine in a historic building on the harbour’s edge. Want to swap the harbour for the ocean? Head to the clifftops of Whale Beach. At exclusive Jonah’s, the magnificent food matches the incredible views. To make your day even more memorable, fly there with Sydney Seaplanes, which leave from picturesque Rose Bay.
Explore the northern beaches
Brunch at The Boathouse in Palm Beach, and then climb up to historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse, built in 1881. Bring your camera to capture the exceptional views. Afterwards, hop on the ferry to Great Mackerel Beach. Accessible only by water, this coastal, car-free hamlet offers peaceful seclusion, a pretty beach and bushwalks, so why not stay for a weekend? You can book The Little Black Shack, a renovated timber and sandstone fisherman’s cottage that perches over the water, providing uninterrupted sea views from every room. Heaven!