A question that has been asked by millions of travelers before us (and will likely be asked by millions after us): What's the best way to experience Sydney's famous harbor?
The answer, we discovered, is simple: get out on the water. Whether it's the ferry to Manly (Sydney's "unofficial harbour tour") or a private charter, a boat is ideal to take in the grand scale of what is arguably the world's most beautiful natural harbor.
Sailing through Sydney Harbour provides a perspective that is obviously impossible to find on land.
When looking for a unique harbor experience, it helps to have a friend with a captain's license! Our old pal Martin, who lived in Sydney for seven years before moving to Denver, hired a boat for six hours so we could go "yachting," or sailing.
We had a lot to be excited about. My mom had arrived the day before, and it was the first time any of us (other than Martin) had seen Sydney. Mike had decided it was finally time to graduate to a new kit, and purchased a Sony A6300 mirrorless camera. Our day on the water was his first time feeling out its abilities. With multiple passes by the Sydney Opera House, I can't imagine a better place to test out a new camera! It was also Mike's first time on a sailboat, and my first time in 15 years, so we were eager to watch Martin and see what it took to man such a vessel. You know... just in case. :-)
Despite grey skies and a few rain clouds, there was very little wind. Although that doesn't make for great sailing, it meant that the water was incredibly flat. As we cruised through the smooth, deep blue water, we gazed around at the other boats and impressive houses on the waterfront. For anyone who enjoys checking out architecture (or, most simply, rich people's houses), it's a treat.
Another bonus was choosing what to see and for how long we wanted to stay, such as dropping anchor in Rose Bay to eat the sandwiches we'd brought along for lunch.
Even grey skies and minimal wind couldn't get us down with such spectacular views everywhere we looked. Once back on land, we walked through Wendy's Secret Garden and snapped some photos of a few of Sydney's local city birds, the rainbow lorikeets. With their bright rainbow plumage, they're much better to look at than the dingy pigeons we're used to in the U.S.!