Sydney Harbour is commonly referred to as the most beautiful natural harbour in the world. Those who come to see it will understand why. The 240 kilometres of shoreline encompass approximately 54 square kilometres of water, which translates to an enormous area for exploration and discovery.
Although there are exclusive homes dotted around the water's edge, there are large tracts of parklands, reserves and gardens that balance the harbour environmentally. It is possible to walk around much of the harbour edge and picnic in many spots.
On a warm sunny day, the harbour is a vibrant blue and dotted with hundreds of sailing boats, cruise boats and ferries.
The best way of seeing the harbour is to be on it and that's easy to do. Sydney Ferries, which are also government run, provide an inexpensive way of seeing the most beautiful harbour in the world.
The hub of Sydney Harbour is Circular Quay, a ferry terminus situated at the bottom end of the central business district. Government ferries depart from here for most parts of the harbour. From here its an easy walk or short ferry ride to The Rocks, the Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour and Bondi Beach.
Private cruise operators also run excursions around most parts of the harbour, and these vary in price and can extend from a short trip around the harbour to an evening cabaret/dinner cruise with a four-piece band and dance floor.
Another way of seeing the harbour, and gaining some perspective on its size and beauty, is to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and go to the top of the Pylon Tower. From here, for a fee, you will get is a magnifient view of the harbour, the city skyline, the Opera House, The Rocks, Darling Harbour and North Sydney. The traffic passing underneath is also quite spectacular.
Another way of seeing the harbour from a lofty position is to take the lift to the top of Sydney Tower, Australia's highest man-made structure. Here there is a revolving restaturant where you can have lunch or dinner and watch the city go by beneath you. There is also an observation tower for general viewing.
Although we tend to associate the Harbour with the city of Sydney and its urban spread there are significant areas of bushland surrounding it which is protected in Sydney Harbour National Park and Crownand council reserves. Many of these offer extensive bushwalks where one can see the natural flora and, if you're lucky, some of the local fauna such as the Long-nosed Bandicoot and Little Penguin.