Settled by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1778, Sydney Harbour is the largest naturally deep harbour in the world, covering over 185 nautical miles of foreshore with over 150 bays and inlets.
Sydney Harbour, including the Paramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, brims with picnic areas, bays and beaches to relax in.It’s where ferries, yachts, cruise vessels of all types and sizes,
jet boats, catamarans, cruise ships, naval vessels and kayaks all jostle for a piece of the waterway. Cruise the eastern shores where you will see the waterfront homes of the rich and famous. Watch the float planes take off from Rose Bay, or pass-by the CYCA (The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia), home to the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Imagine, lazing on your boat moored in a bay or anchored off Shark, Clark and Goat Islands, where you can enjoy a picnic or a swim surrounded by the stunning vista of the City, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Beaches and Anchorages
It will take many enjoyable weekends of boating to discover all of Sydney Harbour and its tributaries.Though, it is often difficult to avoid passing wake from the procession of boats on
popular Sydney harbour. Start your voyage at the peaceful secluded waters of the top end of the Paramatta River or Lane Cove National Park. Head down stream to Cockatoo Island,
passing under the Harbour Bridge and then cruising onto the Sydney Opera House and historic Fort Denison before steaming up towards Bradley’s Head to the sheltered bays of; Camp Cove, Watson’s Bay,Hermit Bay, Double Bay, Athol Bight. All, good spots to be when the North Easterly is blowing.
Watching the sunset
Dine on the deck as the sunsets turning the sky citrus, the city is a silhouetted backdrop, while the roar of big cats drifts out across the water from Taronga Zoo. Bring your camera. The best time for photographs to capture the wonderful colours of the setting sun is one hour after sunset.
Best vantage points
- Hermit Bay
- In the lee (western shore) Shark Island
- Athol Bight adjacent to Taronga Zoo
- Athol Bay at the foot of Taronga Zoo
These are also great positions for watching the fireworks spectacular on New Years Eve.
Head over to sheltered Camp Cove, swim ashore, grab an ice cream from the kiosk and wander up the hillside to the historical gun emplacements at South Head.Cruise onto Watsons Bay,
disembark your crew for fish and chips at the famous Watson’s Bay Hotel. From nearby Milk Beach and Hermit Bay anchor or beach your vessel and enjoy a blissful afternoon on the
beach, or walk up to the heritage listed Strickland House. Here you can picnic, have a quiet snooze on your deck while your more energetic crew members walk along the foreshore paths.
Clifton Gardens at Chowder Bay are great for families, featuring waterside picnic areas, pool enclosures, cafe and historic army barracks. Anchor off or beach your vessel. Watch your boat on the beach on an ebbing tide. At Athol Bight, popular with the luxury cruiser set, you can anchor so the back of your boat is just metres from the beach. It also offers good protection from North
Easterly winds. From here you’ll get the best view of the city sky line.
With your fishing gear and licence on board wet your line at the following spots. Out of the channel under the Gladesville Bridge – bream, jewfish. Lee of Goat Island – bream and black fish.
Drift off the North end of Fort Denison, for bream and taylor.Off the west cardinal at Shark Island, jewfish. Eastern channel pile (Wedding Cake), jewfish, bream. Drift or anchor between the
Sow and Pigs reef and the North cardinal sea bell. Anchor north of the naval jetty at Chowder Bay for flathead, hairtail and bream.
- Lyne Park Boat Ramp, New South head Road, Rose Bay
2 lanes and jetty. Good parking.
- Taplin Park Boat Ramp, The Esplande, off Bayswater Rd, Drummoyne
Three lanes, pontoon/jetty. Good parking.
- Concord Boat Ramp, Burwood Road, Concord
2 lanes and jetty with good parking. Parking fees apply.
- Ermington Boat Ramp, Wharf Road, Ermington
3 lanes, pontoon/jetty, toilets with good parking.
- Putney Boat Ramp, Waterview Street Putney
2 lanes, pontoon/jetty with good parking.
No Go Areas and Restriction Zones
Sydney Harbour is a busy waterway that requires you to be aware of your responsibilities and to take care when boating, especially in busy navigational channels, and make allowances
for commercial activity. Harbour watch keeping Naval waters exclusions (within 60 metres of the yellow exclusion buoys) off; HMAS Penguin, Balmoral, Garden Island Naval Dockyard, Woolloomooloo, HMAS Waterhen at Balls Head Bay and the Naval refuelling berth at Chowder Bay.The bridge transit zone has a 15 knot maximum speed limit in the vicinity of the Harbour Bridge, between a line drawn between Bennelong Point, and Kirribilli Point to Millers Point and Blues Point but does not include Walsh Bay, Sydney Cove or Lavender Bay north of a line between Blues Point and the southern extremity of Milsons Point ferry wharf. Within this zone, anchoring or drifting are prohibited other than in an emergency. Do not anchor in the seagrass areas of; Vaucluse Bay (Eastern shore) and Rose Bay. (Eastern corner;Hermitage Beach and Rose Bay)