5 picture-perfect viewpoints of Sydney Harbour

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Port Jackson, more commonly known as Sydney Harbour, is undoubtedly Sydney’s most iconic vista, and famous the world over. Historically important, as the location of the first European settlement in Australia, it’s also the largest natural harbour in the world.

From sea level to panoramic views from lofty heights, I have sussed out the best viewpoints where you can get a whole lot of Sydney in your camera frame. When you next find yourself in town, you must get snap happy from at least one of these spots.

Better still, follow the trail in this very order, and you’ll end up at the perfect spot to catch the sunset and celebrate suitably.

1. Circular Quay wharf



Circular Quay is where it’s at. There’s a beautiful ambience with street buskers, a sparkling foreshore, ferries docking and departing, and a whole lot of bustling tourists pounding the pavement.

The recently restored Opera Bar, right on the harbour concourse and the steps of the Opera House, gives you an unparalleled view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s no surprise the bar has been coined the “best beer garden in the world” – just arrive and you’ll see why. It’s a beautiful place to sun-soak (or star-gaze), have some delicious food and appreciate life.

2. On a ferry


What better position for a panoramic Sydney view, than on the water itself? You can hop on a ferry for $6 and get yourself plenty of good vantage points. Catch a ferry towards Darling Harbour or the Western suburbs to float right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or catch a ferry to the Northern Shore or the Eastern suburbs to shimmy right past the Opera House. Happy photos a plenty. Happy days!

3. Luna Park



Catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Milson’s Point Wharf, and find yourself in the happy wonderland of Luna Park. Located right on the banks of the Sydney Harbour Northern Shore, the infamous Luna Park has quite a history attached to it. Here, you should hop on the Ferris Wheel, or at least an icecream pit-stop to take in the magnificent view. From Luna Park you can capture the bridge up close, with the Opera House peeking over the horizon in the background.

4. On the Harbour Bridge


You can’t get much more Sydney than walking over the Harbour Bridge itself. You can do the official bridge climb, if you’re willing, but you won’t be able to take a camera up there to photograph with, for safety reasons. So I recommend you tread the pedestrian path, and score yourself some incredible photo opportunities of the Opera House and city skyline along the way. It’s one part dizzying, two parts breathtaking.

5. From the Shangri-La Hotel



My personal favourite way to take in Sydney has got to be from the Blu Bar, on level 36 of the Shangri-La Hotel. What better a way to watch day slip into evening, than from here. Seating is assigned on a first come, first served basis, so arrive early to snag a window seat (or make friends with the lucky ones).


Over to you! Have you been to Sydney? Where’s your favourite Sydney viewpoint to photograph?

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    locksmith car keys
    December 23, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Cool lil dude

  • 20 sunsets you should definitely experience in Australia | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTWORLD OF WANDERLUST
    August 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    […] the last glimpses of the day and watch Australia’s most iconic icons illuminate from one of the many vantage points of Port Jackson, more commonly known as Sydney […]

    June 28, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I loved being in Sydney for the recent VIVID festival. Lots of great places for photos of the lighted installations. Climbing the bridge (although you can’t take your own camera), and the Manly Ferry were my favorite photo locations for the harbour during the day.

    Richard Read
    June 28, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Well done for the semester. You will have a great time in Sydney – wonderful people. There are lots of blogs around that will help you find your way around to interesting things

    June 28, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Loved Sydney more the 2nd visit this year than the first one last year. Three good places I found to take photos are on a cruise ship leaving at dusk, underneath the bridge with the Opera House in the background – with optional loved one in the foreground and with a wide angle lens, on the walkway between Circular Quay and the opera House.

    Already want to back, only got home a couple of months ago – see my blogs.

    June 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Great content! For me the best place is onboard of a cruise ship, under the bridge. Anyway, Sydney if a such beautiful place of anywhere.

    The Blonde Tourist
    June 23, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Gee I love our city

    June 22, 2015 at 2:48 am

    amazing.. I want to go to Australia!!

    alfredo ciano
    June 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Wow !!! From the New Continent a Marvelous Wave of Beauty , Emotions & Civilisation !!! Amazin’ !!!

    June 20, 2015 at 7:45 am

    These vantage points are spot-on! As a Sydneysider, I couldn’t recommend seeing Sydney from a ferry any more! The best view from the city is definitely from a boat in the middle of it

    June 19, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Thank you for interesting post! I dream about visiting Sydney someday)) so far away from Russia…

    Soumya Nambiar
    June 18, 2015 at 5:04 am

    I can so relate to it. I had written about my adventures in Australia too.

    June 18, 2015 at 4:10 am

    Emma, your pictures are really gorgeous and have a great narrative! I love that second one of you holding onto the railing of the boat, it looks like someone (with a great manicure) has fallen offboard is trying to crawl their way back in. Or, it looks like someone went for a swim on purpose and is coming back to the boat. Thanks for sharing these, I hope I get to visit these locations soon!

    June 17, 2015 at 11:53 am

    A kind oofunusunusand very urban vviewis from the platform of Milsons Point (Luna Park) station The bridge looms uoup amidst rhe train lines and highway Watching trains come off the bridge is great too

    June 17, 2015 at 5:55 am

    I’ve done the 1st 3 and it really is a view you never tire of. So beautiful I can’t wait to see it again!


    June 17, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Amazing photos! I’m going to Sydney for the first time in November, and I will definitely plan to hit all these spots in order! 🙂

    June 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Love the pictures! I’ve never been to Sydney or Australia in general but I got accepted for a semester abroad next spring/autumn at UTS. I’m from Germany and have never been that far away so it actually quite gives me the creeps but I’ll survive somehow I guess.. this post really helped. Sydney seems so gorgeous and I’m really lucky to spend some time over there. Even if I don’t know anybody over there yet and have to leave my loved ones behind.

    Brittany Stopa
    June 16, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Great advice, this is exactly the kind of information I need before I visit someplace! Here’s to hoping I make it to Sydney sooner rather than later!

    June 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    My favourite has to be the view while walking over the bridge (even though once we did spy a couple doing something quite inappropriate in a hotel pool!). It’s an incredible experience to watch the opening of the Vivid Festival from here and you’re certain to get much better photos than if you stand on Circular Quay – and it’s nearly empty to boot! xx

    Talia's Travels
    June 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I agree with every one of these, but I think you missed one last crucial photo op: from the air! The view from the window seat is one not to be missed!

    June 16, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, I really need to visit Australia sometime! It’s so far away but still these pictures are amazing.

    Kozue @ Tokyo Direct Diary
    June 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

    In my opinion, ferries are the best. My favorite is going around the Opera House on a ferry to the East. More angles, more fantastic!!

    June 16, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Man, I love Sydney 🙂 Nice post!

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    *You might need to buy the cookie yourself….

    June 16, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Great post! I absolutely love going to the Opera Bar on a nice summer’s afternoon and having a cocktail and watching the sun set over Sydney. Definitely one of the best views in the world.

    June 16, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Now that I’m reaching the end of my Melbourne chapter during my year in Australia, I find myself scheming and daydreaming about all the other destinations I have in mind — Sydney especially! Definitely planning to follow these viewpoints in order when I visit later this year — you don’t have to tell me to check out the world’s best beer garden twice 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

    Change Background
    June 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    wow nice view….

    Wanderlust Storytellers
    June 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Funnily enough, we live close to Brisbane but yet have never been to Sydney. It is on the list and one of the places we would love to take our two daughters. I really loved your photos, definitely inspires one to go and snap the same photos 🙂 I especially love the ‘wow’ impact of that last photo from the Hotel.