Hop-On Sydney Harbour: A Winner!

August 22, 2011 by

Australia & the Pacific, Bus Tours, Musings from Viator's Founder, Places to Go

I’ve been a fan of the Hop-On, Hop-Off tour for ages; the benefits are outstanding and the only downside a lingering worry for some that they might be a little, well, déclassé. Nonsense to that, I say!

So, I was in Sydney last week and took up an invitation from our team there to check out the latest sightseeing innovation – why did it take so long for someone to think of this? – in the form of a harbour-based Hop-On Hop-Off tour. It didn’t hurt that I chose a perfect Sydney winter’s day – the sort that leaves you with an unexpected tan – or that the harbour seemed to be full of activity. On second thought, the harbour is always that way, it’s just that some days it seems extra alive.

Old Ship-Sydney Harbor

This is NOT the boat you'll take on your Hop-On Hop-Off cruise. You may see it in the Harbour, though...

So Much to See….

In any event, this is a cruise well worth taking: it leaves every 45 minutes from both Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, and stops at all the key spots around the harbour: Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour Harbourside (near the Aquarium), Shark Island and Luna Park. Each of those destinations is worth exploring in more depth, perhaps none more so than Watsons Bay, where you can take an hour to walk past Camp Cove and Lady Jane beaches on your way out to South Head, at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

Taronga Zoo Wallaby

Feeding a wallaby and posing with her for pictures at Taronga Zoo – what a thrill!

…and Eat!

It’s a brilliant walk and if you’re hungry afterwards there are a few rather good dining options near the pier, including the Watsons Bay Hotel and Doyles Seafood Restaurant, which has been in the same spot right on the beach, for 126 years. (Not a typo, that’s 126 years of serving great seafood in perhaps the finest location you can imagine.)

Besides the benefits you’ll find on shore, this cruise has some other things going for it: it’s fast, first of all, taking 1-1.5 hours for the whole circuit; it goes close to shore, which is brilliant for sightseeing and something you don’t get on the ferries, which is your other option for trips to some (at least) of these stops; it’s a great little boat – a catamaran that really rocks along, not too loud, never too crowded, plenty of seating inside and out; and there’s great narration for the whole trip.

Sydney Opera House

Photo opportunities? Just a few....(like the iconic Sydney Opera House, of course!)

You’ll step off with your head full of brilliant images and useless facts, hopefully displacing some of the worries and woes you brought on board!

- Rod Cuthbert

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Sydney tours and activities, Sydney attractions and Sydney travel recommendations. Or book a private tour guide in Sydney for a customized tour!

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