5 of the best water activities on Sydney Harbour

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Come check out our favourite activities to do in the harbour.


One of the most amazing things about Sydney – and trust us there are just countless amazing things about this city – is that it’s located right on the water. You get the excitement of city life on one block, and the refreshing breeze of the sea just around the corner. Truly, it’s the best of both worlds Down Under!

When you visit Sydney, we think you have to spend a full day or two at the very least just exploring the harbour. There’s just so much to do and explore that we’ve narrowed down a couple of our favourite aquatic activities that you can’t miss while you’re here. Let’s check them out!

1. Ferry rides

If you want to take in the full harbour, you have to jump on one of the many ferries in Sydney. There are islands detailing the harbour like Cockatoo Island where you can journey to just by hoping on a quick boat ride. Or, partake in a wild booze cruise and see how the city skyline lights up at night! From these cruise decks, you’ll be able to see all the iconic Sydney landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from a whole new angle.

2. Paddleboarding

One of the most traditional activities in Australia is surfing, but there aren’t so many waves in the harbour. So grab a paddle and go paddleboarding! This is an equally fun activity – just be careful, you need just as much balance as you would on a regular surfboard. This is great exercise too, so you really can’t say no to at least giving this activity a try.

Explore Sydney's harbour on paddleboard. Explore Sydney’s harbour on paddle board.

3. Kayaking

Nothing beats a leisurely kayak around the harbour. Grabbing some kayaks allows you to really get into all the nooks and crannies of the area that all the ferries and sailboats can’t get to. Paddle circles around them all afternoon and we can almost guarantee you’ll get to see everything you’re looking for. Be sure to pack lunch so you can pull over and explore some of the islands and give your sea legs a rest for a bit.

Have a trained professional take you out on a romantic cruise!

4. Sailing

Sailing is another quintessential Aussie activity that you have to try for yourself. The harbour is always filled with white sails so you’ll be in good company. Either cruise around or pick a good spot to drop anchor and spend the day picnicking in the sun. Of course, if you don’t really know your way around a sail boat, you can always opt for lessons or have a trained professional take you out on a romantic cruise!

5. Whale watching cruises 

Okay, so you might have to leave the harbour a bit to take in this experience, but we don’t think you’ll mind once you see a whale flipper waving at you from between the waves. Head out to the whale hot spot and wait for the humpbacks to show up. Don’t worry, while you wait, there will probably be some playful dolphins trying to entertain you in the meantime. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled, you won’t want to miss this.

Don’t worry, the fun in the water doesn’t even have to stop once you get back to The Macleay Hotel! We have a pool where you can keep splashing around in until it’s time to go to bed! Book your stay with us today and we’ll see you soon!