Sydney Harbour is truly the heart of its namesake city. With stately bridges, scenic skylines and a fringe of natural beauty, it is the city’s most impressive landmark – surprising even locals with the secrets still hiding on its shores. For residents and visitors, here are five new ways to explore Sydney’s stunning harbour.
Stay at Taronga Zoo’s stunning new eco-retreat
Occupying a prized location atop an incline overlooking the water, Mosman’s Taronga Zoo has stood sentry over the north-eastern sweep of Sydney Harbour since opening over 100 years ago. This October, one of its finest extensions yet will be unveiled—an elegant 62-room eco-retreat carefully immersed amid the natural surrounds of the harbourside zoo. Experiences at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga will include accommodation in sumptuous designer suites (think soothing rain showers, white robes and harbour or sanctuary views), as well as dinner at the refined, on-site Me-Gal Restaurant, encircled by floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the city lights. Buffet breakfast, guided tours and complimentary entry to Taronga Zoo are also included.
Dine at a harbourside spot
Heritage buildings are sprinkled around the harbour, some now converted from their previously humble beginnings to something more inspired. A sandstone hut and former tugboat store has become The Fenwick, a café and gallery space with picture-perfect views of the Coathanger. Elsewhere, tucked into a pleat in the harbour’s north, the understated Mosman Rowers offers casual, summer-tinged cuisine on the edge of a quiet marina, next to a swathe of swaying boats.
Picnic in a rooftop garden
Before Waverton’s Coal Loader Platform re-emerged as a spacious public park, the harbourside area spent years as a decommissioned industrial site. The transformation from coal-loading plot to one of Sydney’s largest public rooftop spaces is splendid, not least because the new iteration encompasses sustainable features such as community gardens, solar panels and water recycling facilities for the abundant varieties of flora, many of which are native.
Stargaze with an Indigenous storyteller and astronomer
Sydney Harbour after sunset is practically a galaxy of its own, with the glittering lights from skyscraper windows glittering like satellites. The Australian National Maritime Museum offers a tremendous reminder to look upwards with its Indigenous Navigation by the Stars cruise. Visitors will bob into the harbour on the Mari Nawi – a motorised vessel operated by Sydney Harbour’s only Aboriginal commercial charter service – and be guided around the night sky by expert Indigenous astronomer Robert S. Fuller and Indigenous stargazing storyteller Willy Stevens.
Swim in Sydney Harbour baths
Come summer, Sydneysiders are no stranger to the city’s many ocean pools but even the keen swimmers are yet to discover all that lies at the edge of the harbour. The shaded, almost clandestine, Maccallum Pool in Cremorne is a well-kept neighbourhood secret that serves up unrivalled views of the Sydney skyline, while North Harbour’s Fairlight Rockpool offers a welcome reason to rest for those taking the iconic Manly to Spit walk.