Monday, 25 April 2016

# 1 - Sydney Harbour

Well, here we are.  The pinnacle of the TripAdvisor list of things to do in Sydney.  When it comes to doing things in Sydney, the combined wisdom of the TripAdivisor community has decreed that Sydney Harbour is the best.  They think that Sydney Harbour is the boss, the head man, the top dog, the big cheese, the head honcho, number one...

Balmoral Beach - technically Middle Harbour, rather than Sydney Harbour, but I'm counting it
Some of the boats moored in Mosman Bay
But is the TripAdvisor community right?  Does Sydney Harbour deserve to be number one?  Well, it's kind of hard to argue with it.  Sydney Harbour is unbelievably scenic, and about half of the other attractions in the top 100 involve experiencing the harbour in some form.  However, rating Sydney Harbour as the best thing to do in Sydney is a bit like rating the food as the best thing about your favourite restaurant. Of course it's the best thing, but would it really hurt to be a bit more specific?

I think this is Balmoral Beach again, this time from a distance

Sydney Tower, casting its Eye over the harbour
In any case, Sydney Harbour is certainly an incredible thing to 'do', and quite simply can't be missed if you're visiting Sydney.  It would be physically quite difficult to miss, given the fact that it covers a large proportion of the city, but nonetheless, it is a truly outstanding attraction.  If you have any time in Sydney, then the harbour is the first place that should be on your list.  There are countless ways that you can experience the harbour, many of which have already been reviewed in this blog.

Sydney Harbour in all its glory

The sun setting over the harbour
I couldn't really write a review if Sydney Harbour without highlighting some of the breathtaking attractions contained within it.  The headline acts are undoubtedly the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, and the multitude of viewing points to enjoy these incredible sights.  Mrs Macquarie's Chair, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Pylon Lookout, Milson's Point, Cockatoo Island and Observatory Hill are just a few of the plots of land that make the most of a vista that includes one or both of these iconic, eh, icons.

Clark Island, Shark Island, Rose  Bay and Point Piper from above

Those waves look pretty fierce
In addition to this, attractions like the Sydney Tower Eye, Sydney Ferries, City Tours and the totally unambiguous Sightseeing Tours all include the headline acts, along with the rest of the supporting cast of Sydney Harbour as their main selling point.  Meanwhile, Sydney Harbour National Park is actually a subset of Sydney Harbour, despite being ranked 74 places below it.  The sheer volume of outstanding attractions that lie within it are the reason it has been rated so highly.

Fort Denison, Mrs Macquarie's Chair and Woolloomooloo Bay

Should the cannons not be pointing away from the city?
Technically speaking, Sydney Harbour is just one area of Port Jackson, with Middle Harbour and North Harbour being the other two.  However, I tend to think of the whole of the Port Jackson area as Sydney Harbour.  Regardless of where the boundaries start and finish, Sydney Harbour certainly has enough about it to deserve its status in its own right.  Including Middle Harbour and North Harbour is just adding icing to the cake.

The view from South Head back towards Sydney Harbour

The view from somewhere around the Gap Park, back to the city.  Pretty nice.
There are many more magnificent attractions within Sydney Harbour that didn't even merit a mention in the top 100.  There are the many islands inside the harbour area, from the relatively large Goat Island to smaller islands like Clark Island and Shark Island.  The harbour meanders in and out as it spreads away from the centre of Sydney, leaving almost endless glorious points and bays.  Whether you explore these on foot, by boat, by brightly coloured unicycle, or by any other means, there are simply far too many attractions to list.

A lot of blue in this view from the North Head back towards Sydney Harbour

Us on our rental boat, shortly before realising we were drifting straight towards that expensive boat behind us
This is what makes Sydney Harbour deserving of its status as a world famous travel destination. Whether you take it in its entirety, or narrow it down to a tiny spot that barely anyone else even knows about, Sydney Harbour is just an absolute pleasure to experience.  I doubt it is physically possible to cover every inch of Sydney Harbour, but giving it your best shot sure would be a nice way to spend some time.

The view of Sydney Harbour from our old flat in St Leonards
Are there any better looking cities in the world?  I would love to see them if there are
Is Sydney Harbour the best thing to do in Sydney?  Or do you think they should just go the whole hog and crown Sydney as the best thing to do in Sydney?  It it pleases you, then leave a comment or question in the space below.

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