Sydney Harbour is mostly taken over by cruise ships and ferries so it isn’t every day you get to sail around on an authentic tall ship while sipping on wine and treating your taste buds to some seriously good food.
Luckily for me, on one perfect Sydney night I was welcomed on board and sailed off into the famous harbour with Sydney Tall Ship Cruises.
Surrounded by good people and some of the best views Sydney has on offer I was in for a night to remember.
How to get there
By Car: Sydney is not the easiest or most reliable city to be driving around in but in saying that, it is possible. Car parking on average will cost you around $5 – $30 depending on where you can find a park. There are plenty of Wilsons Car Parks available throughout the city and around the harbour which can be booked online.
By Bus: There is a 555 free bus that loops from Central Station to Circular Quay, however, stops running from 3:30 pm except for 9 pm on Thursday and 6 pm on weekends.
By Train: This is the quickest and easiest way to get around. There are trains that run regularly from Central Station to Circular Quay (which happens to have one of the best views of the city from the station alone) where you can take a short walk from to get to the correct dock.
By Boat: There are many ferry locations all around the harbour that will take you to Circular Quay.
- Personal Guide to share fun facts, a few jokes and answer all of your questions
- An opportunity to join the crew and learn the ropes
- Food that will have you going back for seconds and even thirds
- A unique way to see the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park
- The chance to make new friends
- A chance to live out all of your pirate dreams
What you’ll do
Meet the crew
Once you check in and hop on board, the first thing you will do before setting sail is getting to know the people that you will be spending the next 3 hours with.
With plenty of room on board, we were directed to the top deck of the boat with the rest of the scuba divers for a safety briefing & introduction to our dive. We were asked to complete a quick & easy medical questionnaire, followed by some demonstrations from the enthusiastic crew members, it was then that we were organised into group dives and prepped for the day ahead.
Your personal guide will go through the necessary safety demonstrations, throw in a couple of fun facts about the ship and the harbour as well as a few jokes that you can’t help but giggle at.
This quick introduction will include everything you need to know for the next 3 hours with some extra bonuses for things to do in the hours that follow. It may seem like a lot to take in but you have an incredibly friendly crew to help you out with anything and everything you need every step of the way, so just enjoy yourself.
Grab yourself a drink at the bar
This was an exciting part of the cruise for many of the passengers and I have to admit, it is not a bad place to grab a drink.
With both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages available within a package and to purchase, as well as free water all night long, you will easily be able to stay hydrated throughout your sailing adventure.
Explore the ship
It isn’t a large ship but it isn’t small either with so much to see on board.
Spend some time getting to know the ship as you can wander around the deck, have a chat to the captain and even explore below deck.
If you are feeling extra adventurous and truly want to feel like a pirate, for an additional cost you can even climb the mast! To do so you need to have no alcohol in your system and be ready to conquer any fears you have.
Get started with the starter
I wish I could remember the exact name of what I ate but I, and most of the boat were too distracted by how delicious it looked, smelt and tasted. (To see the full menu check out the experience page)
Some might say not to fill up on your starter but it would have been rude not to accept the offer of seconds, thirds and even fourths!
Cruise under the Harbour Bridge
Climbing the Harbour Bridge is a pretty incredible experience but another which is extremely underrated is seeing it from below.
With Luna Park on one side and the Opera House on the other it really is a view you could never get sick of.
Learn the ropes
You will be told about this in the introduction and once again the crew will come around asking for volunteers once it is time to let the sails down.
A crew member will explain to you step by step everything you will need to do to play your part which really is about 2 steps maximum. When being taking through the procedure it may seem like a lot but it is actually so much easier than expected. As a pretty small and usually lazy girl, you can take my word for it that it is worth giving it a go just to say you gave it a go.
Treat yourself to a small buffet style dinner
With so many options to choose from including vegetarian and gluten-free, you are spoilt on flavours and pure foodie goodness.
Again, it is undoubtedly one of the best locations to be eating as you are taking in the most beautiful city and harbour views while devouring delicious food.
This is the perfect time to sit down and chat with your fellow passengers. You never know what friends you might make out on the water.
Relax and enjoy the views
I could go on forever about how amazing the views are throughout the entire cruise but nothing compares to seeing it for yourself. Even as someone who is somewhat a local, the city still takes my breath away especially as it glows throughout the night.
If you haven’t already, find your favourite spot on the ship and take in all Sydney has to offer.
Don’t forget about dessert
You may already feel so full that you can barely move at but you can not say no to the delectable dessert the crew bring around to you. Yep, that’s right you don’t ever have to move!
There is no rush to demolish your dessert as there is still more than enough to time to appreciate every bite and moment.
It is the cherry on the cake to an evening to remember.
Back on dry land
You will make your way back to the dock as it is now time to say to say goodbye to your new friends and head off on your next adventure
Remember to thank the incredible crew on your way out!
- 3 hour Sydney Harbour cruise on authentic 1850’s tall ship
- Delicious 3 course finger food dinner
- On deck tour guide
What to bring
- Your appetite
- Camera (not necessary but definitely worth taking along!)
- A jacket or jumper as it can get quite cool out on the water at night
- Your photo ID
- Money to purchase additional beverages and/or optional tour extras
The Sydney Harbour Tall Ship dinner cruise was something that I never knew I had wanted to do until I did it.
I have been on a million ferries and trains in the city but the Tall Ship is by far the best transport experience I have had in Sydney. Not only did I learn some extra things about the city from the tour guide and eat my weight in some of the best finger food I have ever had the pleasure of eating while losing myself in the beauty of the harbour but I also got to do it with my best friend and an added bonus of some new friends made on deck.
As someone who gets lost very easily and often, it couldn’t have been much easier to find and having clear instructions, as well as a backup contact number, incase you do happen to get lost was something I was very appreciative of.
Going in I was a little worried that it may have been more suited for the older more mature adults but it was a pleasant surprise to see so many young adults living it up on the ship too. That said, no matter what type of adult you are; young, old, mature or still just a big kid, the cruise finds a way to accommodate all and ensure you have the time of your life.
I wouldn’t recommend taking small children on board but grab your significant other, a group of your closest friends or even spoil your parents to one very enjoyable evening on Sydney Harbour.
If you’re interested in cruising Sydney Habour in an authentic tall ship like Dana did, check out our twilight dinner cruise below and book your spot online today!
Images: Dana Williamson
Dana Williamson cruised Sydney Harbour as a guest of Sydney Tall Ships and Experience Oz.