If the world has a perfect port of call, in our opinion, this is it. Besides being the worlds greatest natural harbor, the harbor is surrounded by a truly remarkable city. The center of the Sydney harbor area is Circular Quay with ferries leaving regularly for dozens of destinations like Manley Beach, Watson’s Bay and Luna Park. In addition the Circular Quay is located near the Sydney Opera House, the harbor bridge, the Rocks and metro hubs. The great news is that cruise ships dock right next to Circular Quay.
Where You’re Docked – One of the great things about Sydney as a port of call is the pier location. It docks right next to The Rocks, a great historic neighborhood with restaurants, shops and a museum. Less than a half mile walk behind The Rocks is Darling Harbor which is a modern centerpiece to the area with attractions and great restaurants. A short walk in the opposite direction is Circular Quay where you can catch any number of ferries to destinations all around the harbor.
Transportation – Getting into the central city is just a short walk from the pier and the mass transit options are really good. If you are going to be in Sydney for a while or if you want to spend your day traveling on your own, be sure and get an Opal Card. Because ships dock very near Circular Quay you can also easily catch a ferry to any number of locations around the harbor (Opal Card works on ferries too).
Money – You should get some currency exchanged even if you plan on relying on credit cards just for incidentals. Currently the Australian dollar is equal to 76¢ U.S. Also you need to know that Australians DON’T tip. If you go to a restaurant and the menu says $10.00 that is exactly what you should expect to pay. Most listed prices include all taxes and tips.
Local Highlights – Within a couple of blocks of the pier are two museums, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Discovery Museum, both worth a visit.
The Sydney Opera House – Even if there are no productions there are still guided tours ($) of this architectural masterpiece.
The Harbour Bridge – This structure dominates the harbor and there are tours that will walk you up the suspension cables to the top.
Darling Harbor – Less than a half mile west of the pier is Darling Harbor with restaurants, shops and Sea Life the Sydney Aquarium.
Royal Botanic Gardens – Just to the east of Circular Quay is a large park that includes the Gardens along with The Rose Garden and Pavilion.
Catch a Ferry – Grab a ferry at the Quay and see Sydney from the water. Visit Manley Beach, a popular surfing beach and Watson’s Bay for good fish n’ chips.