Where to Find the Best Views of Sydney Harbour

Let’s face it: Sydney wouldn’t be half the world capital it is without its beautiful views of Sydney Harbour. The site of exploration, commerce, recreation, and billions of tourist photos, the harbor should remain as close as possible during a trip to Sydney. Take it in from your hotel or a coastal trail, a park or a lighthouse. Or climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset and discover one of the best views on the planet.

1d Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Named for the wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who presided over New South Wales in the early 1800s, this site provides one of the most spectacular views in town. Find the historic carved-rock ledge in the Royal Botanic Garden, east of the Opera House, where you’ll drink in a vista encompassing the Bridge, harbor and distant mountains, along with historic sites like Kirribilli House (the prime minister’s residence), the island of Fort Denison and the Navy Dockyards at Woolloomooloo.

Lavender Bay NSW 2060, Australia
Once called Hulk Bay after the prison ship that was moored here, the Sydney suburb is now known for stately homes and amazing harbor views. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
I love finding Love Locks all over the world. Sydney did not disappoint with a collection on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with a perfect view of the Opera House.
Sydney NSW, Australia
I love visiting big iconic bridges during the sunset. Trips at dusk to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge have resulted in spectacular photographs of the urban landscape. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was another great experience! The bridge is accessible by foot or by bike and is surrounded by some of the biggest attractions in Sydney. More adventurous types might opt for the Bridge Climb Tour (http://www.bridgeclimb.com/) where participants get to scale the summit of the 134-meter arch for panoramic views of the city. And yes, they offer a Twilight Tour near sunset (and a dawn tour at sunrise). We were content walking across the bridge on the pedestrian walkway. It was a brisk spring evening in Sydney, and we didn’t envy the tourists climbing the bridge overhead. The views from the bridge are stunning in every direction, and it is a magnificent vantage point to see the Sydney Opera House and the Central Business District.
Lavender St, Lavender Bay NSW 2060, Australia
Over the past 15 years, Wendy Whiteley (known as the “goddess muse” and wife of one of Australia‘s most famous artists, Brett Whiteley) has lovingly restored a once derelict piece of land, owned by the NSW Rail Corporation. It’s a magical place to reflect, talk or read and to simply get away from the city’s noise. The views are spectacular. About 5-10 mins stroll from Luna Park. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendy_Whiteley#Wendy.27s_Secret_Garden This site was visited during AFAR Experiences, May 6-9, 2013: http://www.afarexperiences.com/
108 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
You’d be forgiven for thinking this place is a tourist trap like every other revolving “sky tower” in the world. And the upstairs Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck and Skywalk is, with one difference: the harbor view, which is truly spectacular from 1,000 feet up in the air. Tourist-fearing travelers should skip the observation deck and head straight to 360 Bar and Dining. Arrive early to snag a seat near the picture windows, and order a creative cocktail—some incorporate bacon-infused bourbon—to drink alongside small plates. There’s a $20 minimum, but it’s cheaper than the observation deck and includes a drink to sip during the hour-long revolution.
Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia
Jutting out from the northern district of Mosman, just south of Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head offers one of the best perspectives of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison, among other attractions. Whether you come for a picnic or New Year’s Eve, fishing or hiking—the popular Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk links up with the even more epic Manly to Split Bridge track—this is Sydney at its best. If the natural beauty isn’t enough, Bradleys Head is also a historic site where the mast of the HMAS Sydney, a relic from the Royal Australian Navy, is mounted proudly and an old military mess hall now serves as a cafe.
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