- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Harbour Jet. Harbour Jet runs high-speed jet-boat tours of the harbor, racing around at 75 kph (47 mph) and performing 270-degree spins. Trips range from 35 minutes to 1½ hours, and start at A$65 per person. or 1300/887373. www.harbourjet.com.
Mount 'n Beach Safaris. Mount 'n Beach Safaris operates tours to the Blue Mountains and minicoach tours around Sydney's northern beaches and to NSW's North and South Coast areas. The Blue Mountains 4WD Canyon and Wildlife Discovery tour provides opportunity to see koalas and kangaroos, have morning tea in the bush, see the highlights of the Blue Mountains, and have lunch at a historic pub. 02/9439–3010. www.mountnbeachsafaris.com.au.
City Sightseeing Sydney. This fleet of brighly colored double-decker buses (with open tops) operate have two routes: the Sydney route has 25 stops, and the Bondi and Bays has 10 stops. Both trips take 90 minutes. Sydney trips depart Circular Quay at 8:30 am daily (last bus departs at 7:30 pm), the Bondi bus departs Eddy Avenue, Central Station at 9 am daily (last bus at 7:30 pm). 02/9567–8400. www.citysightseeing.com.au.
Aboriginal Heritage Tour. The Aboriginal Heritage Tour (A$33) is a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens' display of plants that were growing before Europeans arrived on Sydney's shores in 1788. The tour, which operates Friday at 10 am (1½ hours duration) is led by an Aboriginal guide who explains the plants and their uses, and Aboriginal bush foods. 02/9231–8134. www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.
Bass and Flinders Cruises. You can go whale-watching from Sydney Harbour with Bass and Flinders Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises. Boats leave from mid-May to early December, venturing a few miles outside Sydney Heads. 02/9583–1199. www.whalewatchingsydney.net.
Bonza Bikes. Bonza Bikes lets you see the best Sydney sights without having to worry about heavy traffic. The half-day Classic Sydney Tour cruises past the Opera House, winds around the harbor, and cycles through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Trips start from A$99 for a half day (bike and helmet included). 02/9247–8800. www.bonzabiketours.com.
BridgeClimb. BridgeClimb is a unique tour that affords the ultimate view of the harbor and city center from Sydney Harbour Bridge. The hugely popular tours take 3½ hours and cost from A$198 per person. Another option is the Discovery Climb, which takes climbers within the bridge's structure on their way to the top. Tours depart from 5 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. 02/8274–7777. www.bridgeclimb.com.
Easyrider Motorbike Tours. Easyrider Motorbike Tours conducts exciting chauffeur-driven (you ride as a passenger) Harley-Davidson tours to the city's landmarks, and to the Blue Mountains and rural areas. A 15-minute rides is A$35, a two-hour tour is A$190 per person; full-day excursions start at A$410. 02/9247–2477 or 1300/882065. www.easyrider.com.au.
Sydney Seaplanes. A flight on Sydney Seaplanes is a wonderful way to see Sydney's sights and soar over beaches. Short flights taking in the harbor, Bondi Beach, and Manly cost from A$185 per person. The seaplanes take off from Rose Bay. 02/9388–1978 or 1300/732752. www.seaplanes.com.au.
Sydney By Boat
Captain Cook Cruises. Captain Cook Cruises runs a number of good tours, but the best introduction to Sydney Harbour is Captain Cook's two-hour Coffee Cruise, which follows the southern shore to Watsons Bay, crosses to the north shore to explore Middle Harbour, and returns to Circular Quay. 02/9206–1111. www.captaincook.com.au/sydney.
Darling Harbour Water Taxis. A fun, fast, but somewhat expensive way to get around is by water taxi. (Circular Quay to Manly, for example, costs A$160 for four people, and A$10 for each extra person.) One company, Aussie Water Taxis runs a taxi shuttle between Darling Harbour and the Opera House for A$15 one-way, A$25 return. Mini-tours of the harbor in these little yellow taxi boats begin at A$35 per person for 45 minutes. 02/9211–7730. www.aussiewatertaxis.com.
Manly Ferry. There is no finer introduction to the city than a trip aboard one of the commuter ferries that ply Sydney Harbour. The hub of the ferry system is Circular Quay, and ferries dock at the almost 30 wharves around the harbor between about 6 am and 11:30 pm. One of the most popular sightseeing trips is the Manly Ferry, a 30-minute journey from Circular Quay that provides glimpses of harborside mansions and the sandstone cliffs and bushland along the north shore. The one-way Manly Ferry fare is A$6.60, and the Manly Fast Ferry, operated by a private company, (www.manlyfastferry.com.au) costs A$8.50, although cheaper if a SmartCard is purchased. 13–1500. www.sydneyferries.info.
Ghost Tours. The Rocks' dark alleyways can be scary, and The Rocks Ghost Tours make sure people are suitably spooked, as the guides, dressed in long black cloaks and carrying lanterns, regale them with stories of the murders and other nasty goings-on in the early days of the colony. Tours depart nightly at 6.45 (April–September) and 7:45 (October–March) from Cadman's Cottage; A$42. 1300/731971. www.ghosttours.com.au.
Rocks Pub Tour. You can literally drink in Sydney's history during The Rocks Pub Tour, where you wander the narrow streets with a guide and stop in for drinks at three pubs. The 2-hour tours depart from Cadman's Cottage on George Street (near the Museum of Contemporary Art) at 5 pm daily (except public holidays, New Year's Eve, and St. Patrick's Day); A$44. 02/9252–5505 or 1300/458437. www.therockspubtour.com.
Rocks Walking Tours. The Rocks Walking Tours introduce you to Sydney's first European settlement, with an emphasis on the buildings and personalities of the convict period. The 1½-hour tour costs A$32. Tours leave weekdays at 10:30, 12:30, and 2:30 (in January 10:30 and 2:30 only), and weekends at 11:30 and 2. 23 Playfair St., The Rocks, Sydney, NSW, 2000. 02/9247–6678. www.rockswalkingtours.com.au.
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