While St. Barths is a perennial favorite for ringing in the new year, the Southern Hemisphere is ideal, too, particularly considering it’s summertime there. The region is also home to the world’s largest natural harbor: Australia’s Sydney Harbour. Sydney itself is vibrant and modern, and there’s stunning natural scenery around every corner. We spoke with Laurie Foulon of Ocean Alliance to learn about the exclusive anchorages, beautiful bays, and more that its charter clients enjoy in Sydney, aboard the popular 121-foot (37-meter) Masteka 2.
With so many different options for cruising the largest natural harbor in the world, finding a route that encompasses all the delights of Sydney is a blissful mission. You’re bound to see spectacular city views and landmarks, enjoy great fishing, go snorkeling, and more over a seven-day charter. No two places are quite the same. Sydney offers rewarding, protected cruising, with all the iconic features that a modern city has to offer. Plus, on a warm sunny day, the harbor is a vibrant blue and dotted with hundreds of sailing boats, motorboats, and ferries. Australians love boating!
POINTS OF INTEREST
To whet your appetite, here are a number of places you can visit, representing a spectrum of interests.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Store Beach
Opera House Quarantine Bay
Fort Dennison Rose Bay
Luna Park Watsons Bay
Taronga Zoo & Athol Bay Chowder Bay
Darling Harbour Middle Harbour
Fish Markets Manly
PITTWATER (north of the Sydney central business district)
Palm Beach The Basin
Middle Head Coasters Retreat
Towlers Bay Barrenjoey Head
BROKEN BAY & HAWKESBURY RIVER (favorites of Masteka 2’s captain)
Flint & Steal Refuge Bay – The Waterfall
America’s Bay Hallets Beach
Cowan Creek Cottage Point
Coal & Candle Creek Akuna Bay
Smiths Creek Bobbin Head
Sydney has a temperate maritime climate. Summers are hot, though the scorching temperatures for which the inland deserts are famous remain absent, due to the cooling sea breezes. Winters are mild and rarely, if ever, see cold temperatures. The best time to visit Sydney is in the summer months and between September and April. It is the perfect setting to enjoy a stunning beach BBQ setup on Christmas Day, watch the impressive yachts sail out to Hobart on Boxing Day, (Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race), or admire the million-dollar fireworks on New Year’s Eve—and celebrate before the rest of the world!
Settle aboard at the 1919 heritage location of Jones Bay Wharf. Motor under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Farm Cove (above), a small bay opposite the iconic Opera House, surrounded by Sydney’s Botanical Gardens. Lunch while taking in the spectacular view. You are minutes from the central business district on a tender ride!
The hub of Sydney Harbour is Circular Quay, a ferry terminus next to the central business district. From here it is an easy walk to The Rocks, Harbour Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House. A VIP backstage tour of the Opera House will give you the best insights into the landmark, the controversies of its build, and its deep meaning to the city. A Bridge climb is sure to provide a good adrenaline rush!
In the late afternoon, cruise and watch the sunset show from the best vantage point on the harbor, Athol Bay, where we will spend the night at anchor.
A good option today is a stroll around Taronga Zoo, situated above our anchorage at Athol Bay. Opened in 1916, the zoo offers unbeatable views of Sydney over 21 hectares and showcases Australia’s diverse animal life. When lunchtime comes, cruise to Doyle’s Restaurant on the beach at Watsons Bay for a spectacular seafood feast with views over the harbor and city.
This afternoon, walk the stunning South Head coastal track. Rich in early settler and forgotten military history, Watsons Bay walk is home to one of Australia’s first lighthouses. Here, the Birrabirragal mob met the First Fleet. Perched above the cliffs, it affords whale spotting, too, a popular activity for kids and adults alike! With Bondi Beach being a short drive towards the North, we can also arrange a private surfing lesson; children and parents all welcome.
Get ready for dinner and spread your wings to experience Sydney from the air. Sydney Seaplanes offer the best scenic flights and transfer to the Northern Beaches. Land in the Pittwater waterways, and delight your tastebuds and take in the stunning view at Jonah’s. The terrace balcony is perched on the cliffs of Whale Beach, overlooking the Tasman Sea.
Fly back to Rose Bay, and we will spend the night anchored in Vaucluse Bay, surrounded by the historic resplendent homes.
We may enjoy some deserved sunbathing and swimming today. After breakfast, we’ll depart Sydney Harbour through the Spit Bridge to Middle Harbour, and anchor at Sugarloaf Bay, known for its beautiful secluded anchorages.
Relax surrounded by nature, protected from the wind. Paddleboard, kayak, or enjoy good fishing holes. We’ll then cruise around to the unspoiled Bantry Bay for the evening.
Pass back through the Spit Bridge and anchor at Little Manly Cove. Enjoy a coffee in the laid-back beach town of Manly, then hike or mountain bike around the pristine bushland at North Head Nature Reserve. Manly is also a great place to try surfing, with good conditions year-round. It’s an Australian experience not to be missed!
In the morning, head out to the Great Pacific Ocean through the Sydney Heads and motor north to Pittwater.
If this was not possible earlier on, here is another chance to see Sydney from the air. We will meet in the Northern Beaches, where you can enjoy a late lunch at Jonah’s, or a relaxed beach BBQ on the sweeps of golden sand at Whale Beach and Palm Beach. The latter is Sydney’s northern-most and finest beach. Golfers can enjoy a game at the Royal Sydney Golf Course, famous for hosting the Australian Open.
Spend the evening at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Newport. The recently renovated Newport Arms Hotel is another check in your Australian lifestyle experiences. History fans can visit Bungan Castle, a medieval-style stone castle on Bungan Head. It was built in 1919 by Adolph Albers, a German art dealer.
In the morning explore the many secluded bays and anchorages in Sydney’s Cowan Creek, located in the stunning nature of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. There are plenty of great swimming spots and fishing holes. Active minds will want to hike to the spectacular waterfall in America Bay. Ku-ring-gai also has a high concentration of significant Aboriginal heritage sites. Step into the shoes of the traditional owners of the land following your aboriginal descendant guide… and enjoy a special lunch with a taste of emu and kangaroo meat!
For dinner, Masteka 2’s crew will set up a traditional Australian barbecue on a secluded beach in Cowan Creek. Spend the night at scenic Jerusalem Bay.
Venture up the Hawkesbury River, taking in the view and find a great little anchorage for lunch behind the forested surroundings of Dangar Island. It was discovered by Governor Arthur Phillip in March 1788. He named it Mullet Island for the abundance of fish in the local Hawkesbury River. There are some excellent bays for swimming, waterskiing, and paddleboarding. Let Masteka 2’s chef prepare a stunning fresh lunch with the catch of the day!
We will make our way back to Sydney Harbour after lunch so that you can disembark at your convenience, with delightful memories. We only wish we had one more day!