By November 1, 2018 Blog Comments Off

Sydney Harbour Waterways

Sydney has become Australia’s largest, most populated city. It has been shaped over time thanks to being situated on Sydney Harbour and all the waterways around it. These waterways have been travelled for centuries, including by Captain James Cook who encountered them during his exploration in 1770, and called it Port Jackson. Despite much growth of Sydney, the Sydney Harbour waterways are still very important to the city. A large amount of tourists and citizens venture the waterways daily.


Sydney Harbour Waterways Infographic


Even early settlers to the area knew the beauty and worth of Sydney. Early in the 18th century, many settled in and around the area of the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge known as “The Rocks.” It’s between this area and Sydney Opera House where Circular Quay, the main ferry terminal, is located. The ferries that leave from Circular Quay are often full of people keen to experience this picturesque part of Sydney Harbour which includes all the famous landmarks. Boat hire in Sydney is also popular in this area for that reason.

It’s not just the surroundings that are worth seeing. Many notice how the water in Sydney Harbour is crystal clear, surprising for a major city. Even from many parts of the shore, you will be able to spot all the seagrasses that are rooted all around the waterways of Sydney.

Sydney Harbour waterways can be as bustling as the roads on land. Year-round, visitors flock to the ferry and boat hires in Sydney for a unique way of sightseeing. The NSW Government have labelled Sydney Harbour, a “working harbour”, as it continues to be by business and enterprise.


The are several events every year that, see the Harbour come to life. Boxing Day on December 26th for the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race, and again on New Year’s Eve when a truly remarkable firework show erupts from Sydney Harbour Bridge to bring in the new year. There are spectacular events hosted on the Harbour for Australia Day Celebration. I recent years, Vivid Sydney via boat cruises has become popular.


The Harbour is only the beginning. In addition to the more well-known landmarks, Sydney’s waterways will also take you past scenic areas of natural beauty like Bradley’s Head, Clifton Gardens / Taylors Bay, Nielsen Park, Manly Cove and Parsley Bay Reserve. There is much to discover, including the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, with the former being the main tributary of Sydney Harbour.

There are a few islands dotting the Harbour that can be explored. Clark Island, located to the southeast of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is a peaceful retreat from the city with amazing views. Shark Island a bit further east where swimming is popular. To the west of the bridge is Cockatoo Island. This UNESCO-World Heritage site may be small, but it certainly has a lot to see and do.  Take a ferry or your private boat charter to the island and take a walk whilst learning about the history. You can also attend one of the many events that take place or even stay overnight camping.

Boat Hire

Taking advantage of a boat hire in Sydney.It means you too can experience the beautiful Sydney Harbour waterways of this famous city for yourself. From renowned landmarks to Australia’s natural beauty, there is so much to see in a small area. This can all be done at your own leisure with private boat hire. Contact us about hiring a boat in Sydney to see how these gorgeous, accessible waters helped shape this world-famous city.

Historic Quarantine Station Family Fun Day

Quarantine Station at North Head was swarming with families young and old at yesterday’s Family Fun Day. The weather was superb, bringing crowds to soak up the history, sun , sand and ocean together in one magnificent location.

Manly was originally a quarantine station for migrant ships arriving in Sydney from the 1830s to 1984. Those ships with suspected contagious disease aboard had to off-load their passengers and crew at the quarantine station where they stayed for about 40 days before they were released (if they were deemed disease-free) to settle as Australian residents.

The North Head site was selected for the establishment of the quarantine station because it was the first safe anchorage point inside the Heads; it was sufficiently isolated and the presence of natural springs ensured a constant water supply to the inhabitants. Today, the historical site comprises of 65 buildings, several archaeological sites, and some spectacular vantage points to view the beautiful Sydney Harbour and native bushland.

Yesterday’s fun day offered activities such as exhibitions, talks, open buildings, native wildlife presentations, stalls, kids’ activities, tours and more.

Some of the event highlights included:
. Live Music
. Sausage Sizzle plus other food
. Quarantine Photographic Exhibitions
. University Of NSW Fine Arts Exhibition
. Sydney University “Stories from the Sandstone” Inscription Talks
. In Focus Movable Heritage Exhibition
. Author Felicity Pulman talks about her book “Ghost Boy”
. Author Gunilla Haglundh talks about her book “Manly Murders”
. Author Perry McIntyre talks about “Lady McNaughton: the first official Quarantine”
. All authors gave advice to hopeful writers on things like how to become a better editor
. Latitude 33 – bootcamp, zumba & boxing session
. Q Station Accommodation & Function Room Tour
. Open Buildings – visit the historic Quarantine Shower Block, Autoclaves & Hospital.
. Wildlife Encounters – native animal presentation
. Mural Painting
. Kayaking

Plenty of yachts and catamarans stopped by to see what all the fuss was about. A perfect place to drop anchor and take a swim or row into the beach at Qstation. It is an idyllic place to explore or relax and soak in both the historic buildings and the magnificent backdrop of Sydney harbour and surrounding National Park.

A Family Fun day enjoyed by many!

New Large Marinas slated for Sydney Harbour

There are several large marina developments slated for Sydney Harbour. Whilst the large Marina at Rose Bay has been taking most of the headlines, with wealthy proponents and vocal detractors, there are several lesser known proposals in (long!) process including Balls Head, Berrys Bay, Elizabeth Bay and Blackwattle Bay.

Balls Head

This is essentially a redevelopment of the existing dilapidated coal-loader wharf complex on the western side of Waverton Peninsula. It is owned by Roads and Maritime Services (the Old NSW Maritime). The park and some of the buildings next to the Wharf have been upgraded, but let’s be frank it – the loader wharf is an eye sore, and off –limits to the public due to safety issues. So a re-development here is surely a good thing. But the North Sydney Council and a group of activists don’t think so. There seems to be an enpasse between the RMS & North Sydney Council as a road upgrade proposal has been rejected by council, until RMS submit further details on their Marina proposal. The 160m wharf is proposed to be re-developed for larger yachts and motor cruisers from 12m to 50m, suitable for commercial operations such as Yacht charters, motor cruiser charters and other commercial vessels.

Berrys Bay

There are plans to build a 92 berth marina at Berry Bay – a development proposal was approved by the previous NSW Labour government. Meriden Marinas were awarded the development for up vessels 30m, including a boat yard & car parking. This construction is now underway.

Blackwattle Bay

This area adjacent to the fish markets is sadly run down. It is well used by the larger commercial charter vessel operators. There has been a development proposal accepted by the NSW Maritime as far back as 2005, with several revisions in the interim, but to date no real construction work has progressed.

Rose Bay

This is essentially a redevelopment of the existing marina, however much larger number and capacity of berths. There has been much debate in the public domain, especially with some of the original concepts proposing a massive super boat marina – fortunately, this is has been scaled back and is now under construction…

Point Piper / Elizabeth Bay

Like Rose Bay proposal there has been a strong resident pushback. This development has been previously approved by (the former) NSW Maritime. However, the future of this development proposal is clouded, and seems to have become a political item between City of Sydney and the Ministerial Office for Planning and Infrastructure.

Typically, these new Sydney Harbour Marina developments have good support from the boating fraternity, but some are aggressively opposed by residential activists, green lobbyists, and some councils. Sydney Harbour has been rightly claimed as a working harbour by successive governments. Further the Charter of the RMS is to promote a balanced safe access and use of the harbour. So, the “no new marina” position is simply untenable and short sighted, and the environment damage claims are usually misleading. Tasteful, well designed marinas can be beautifully integrated with the environment – think the lovely (old) Havorsens marina with fish sanctuary at Bobbin Head. Indeed, most boaties by nature absolutely love and care for a beautiful harbour. Equally though, massive new super marina proposals are too imposing and unattractive. A little constructive balance is all that is required. Good luck RMS..!

Sydney Harbour Radar – Blues Point Tower

Sydney Harbour has a new “safety feature” – the NSW Maritime radar located atop of the Blues Point Tower at Blues Point – just north west of the Sydney Harbour bridge. The radar was commissioned in May 2011, after much debate through the North Sydney council approval process over several years.

This new multi-million dollar radar will be used by NSW Maritime to assist in port traffic control, and will eventually replace the existing old radar system. The new radar will improve the safety of yachting, boat and ship movements in the harbour.

One wily old skipper commented of the often maligned Blues Point Tower, that it still maybe ugly, but at least it is not useless.  The rotating radar wing can be readily seen from the Harbour, particularly around the Walsh Bay / Lavender Bay / Goat Island areas.

Xtreme Motor Bikes on the Harbour

Sydney saw an unusual combination of MotorCross Bikes performing breath taking stunts at Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.  As part of the RedBull X-Fighters program, the exhibition of aerial motorcross was a competition for riders to perform tricks to gain maximum points. The Sydney Harbour event was the finale of the 2011 series held in various cities around the world.

Tons and tons of dirt was shipped in to Cockatoo Island with diggers carefully moulding the mounds for optimal jump and landing angles and trajectories.  A special grandstand was erected on the island for the event, while a steady flotilla of bemused yachties in their yachts and boats slowly cruised by…  Fittingly, for the Sydney Harbour event, Australian Josh Sheehan was the winner.

Stunning PIF Regatta on Sydney Harbour

Sydney laid on one of it’s classic sunny, blue water days for the 2011 PIF Regatta on Friday 25 March.  With over 120 regatta yachts and spectator cruisers, it was a great day on Sydney Harbour.  The spectator fleet knew how to party, with plenty of entertaining, drinking and eating, and even some dress ups !  Race winners (of Cat 1) were Investec Loyal, Wild Oats, and Southern Excellence.  Most importantly, the Property Industry Foundation raised a considerable sum of money for under-privileged youths via the Salvos. Bravo.

Property Industry Foundation (PIF) Charity Regatta Mar 2011

The Property Industry Foundation (PIF) holds it’s annual sailing regatta this Friday 25th March on Sydney Harbour. This charitable yachting regatta has grown enormously over the years to become one of the calander’s highlight events, with literally 100’s of yachts and supporters cruisers!

This excellent foundation raises money for “kids doing it a bit tough” with it financial support of program for youth homelessness.  If you would like to arrange a supporter vessel (probably too late for a race yacht – but you can try..), please call Eastcoast Sailing on 1300 883 023.  This event is a massively fun regatta for the sailors and supporters alike.


The bi-annual Wooden Boat festival is a great event for yachties, and landlubbers alike. Stunningly restored wooden boats are on display dating back some 80 years. Halvorsen Boats are well represented as usual, with a good mix of cruisers and sailing boats.

Enjoy the classic lines, and the glorious timberwork evoking romantic memories from a gracious era.

Click here to view more photos on Flickr by Australian National Maritime Museum .

By June 17, 2010 Blog Comments Off

Young sailors attempt to beat Jessica Watson

After  Jessica Watson made history and become the official youngest ever solo sailor circumnavigate history by Sailing into Sydney Harbour Saturday morning (15th May 2010), there were a couple of teenagers around the world who wish to beat Jessica Watson record.

A YOUNG Californian sailor – Abby Sunderland was one of them who unfortunately failed in her attempt to beat Jessica watson record to be the youngest person to sail around the world solo. US teenager, Abby Sunderland dream came apart when she was forced to radio for emergency help when her yacht was dis-masted in huge storms in the Indian Ocean. She was later picked up by a French fishing vessel, and ultimately abandoned her stricken yacht.

Watch rescue efforts underway as the 16-year-old abandons her round-the-world quest: