'Cruise Like a Local' with Sea Sydney Cruises

Today I played truant!  I got a chance to cruise Sydney Harbour with Sea Sydney Cruises on their 'Cruise Like a Local'  cruise - so I abandoned David for the day and went boating.

I was collected from Circular Quay by 'Calypso', a 52 foot motor launch, for four serene hours of sailing the most beautiful harbour in the world. I have lived in Sydney most of my life but seeing the harbour from the water opened up a whole new perspective on how magical it is.

The Calypso

There were nine of us on the cruise plus Terry, our guide, and Tim, our Skipper. I was the only person not part of a couple but I needn't have worried about being solo. We all quickly settled in to an afternoon of friendship and shared experience.Terry, a history buff, kept us entertained with quirky snippets of Sydney's past as we sailed around the Opera House and Mrs Macquarie's Chair toward Watsons Bay.  The homes of the rich and famous congregate around the harbour foreshores and Terry seemed to have a story to tell about every one of them, from the Bang and Olufsen house, so named because it looks like a stereo system, to the real reason Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban re-located from their waterfront mansion to a high rise apartment.

The Bang and Olufsen House - constantly being renovated according to Terry.

One of the original Harbourside Mansions.

Terry doubled as a barman keeping our glass topped up with a selection of local wines, beers and soft drinks then put on his waiter's hat to serve lunch on deck while we anchored off Vaucluse.  A few intrepid locals were sunbathing on the beach and splashing about in the water but despite their example Terry, once again in his tour guide persona, failed to persuade any of us to go for a swim. In a few months time, when the sea has warmed up, it would be great fun to bring a snorkel and flippers, dive off the back of the boat and get up close and personal with the local marine life.

Enjoying the sunshine out the front.

After lunch we returned along the harbour's northern shores past the silver tail suburbs of Mosman and Kirribilli before sailing under the Harbour Bridge. There is nothing in the world quite like looking up at the sweeping expanse of the Bridge directly above you. Plenty of people have climbed the Bridge but how many can say they have sailed beneath it on a beautiful Sydney spring day on their own (almost) private launch.

No prizes for guessing what these two Sydney icons are.

Sea Sydney Cruises gives its guests a chance to see the Harbour the way the rich and famous do - from the deck of a motor launch with a small group of friends. There is a maximum number of 12-16 passengers on any cruise. This is a world away from the mass market experience offered by other tour operators.  The signature lunch and dinner cruises are not cheap but small group tours never are. If your resources don't run to the longer cruises Sea Sydney also offers a shorter, more competitively priced Sydney Harbour Highlights Cruise.

I travelled as a guest of Sea Sydney Cruises.

Sea Sydney Cruises

Sydney Harbour Highlights- 2 hour morning tea cruise including tea/coffee/juice and light morning tea. $100 adult/ $70 child (3-12yrs)

Cruise Like a Local  - 4 hour lunch cruise including a 3 course lunch with regional wines and beers. $285 adult/$185 child.

Sea Sydney Icons - 2 hour morning tea cruise, a break for lunch and then a 3½ hour city sightseeing tour aboard a Mercedes mini van. $207 adult/$145 child.

Best of Land and Sea - Full day touring and cruising including a 3 course lunch served with regional wines and beers. $386 adult/$255 child.


  1. That looks like a magnificent way to enjoy the Harbour. I love those smaller, more intimate tours.

    1. Hi Fairlie. Thanks for the comment. Living in Sydney it is easy to take the harbour for granted. This was a great way to jolt me back into its magic.

  2. Might look this up the next time we are in Sydney. It looks like a nice way to spend a few hours, and get great pictures!

    1. Thanks for the comment. Sydney Harbour is magical on a blue sky day even if you are just on a ferry.