I love Sydney! There I have said it. I have written many all-encompassing guides to different walks in Sydney, different suburbs as well as a full city guide. After pondering over what I would write about next I realized that I hadn’t written anything about Sydney by night.
I can’t tell you enough how cool this city is when the sun has set! And then I am not talking about clubbing and whatnot (that’s not my thing) but I am talking about The Opera House, The Harbour Bridge and all other highrises around these buildings.
This is truly a sight you must see at least once in your life. I can spend hours on end watching the city glitter at night whilst many many boats float past. Some blaring music, some enjoying the scenery whilst enjoying dinner and some private boats just going to for a sail on a hot summer’s night.
In this post, I will show you what Sydney harbour at night looks like and where some of the best vantage points are to enjoy the scenery.
Sydney harbour at night | CIRCULAR QUAY
Circular Quay is one of the most bustling places in all of Sydney. It’s filled with top attractions, plenty of water activities and excursions, and people from all across Australia and around the world. It is home to the Sydney Opera House as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
This is the perfect hot spot to take night pictures as you can get up close and personal with these world-famous buildings.
The opera house lies on Bennelong Point that is just northward into Sydney Harbour’s Port Jackson. Once you get up close to this unique building, you notice that it consists of three separate buildings. Like many, I have looked up many pictures of Australia before moving here, and I always thought it was one large building. But it is quite a surprise when you get up close that it actually consists of sperate buildings… WHO KNEW!
It is not fenced off so you can get up as close as you want. There are steps right in front of the building, giving you the opportunity to get creative. It does get very busy, so you do need a bit of patience, you will pretty much constantly have people right in front of your camera. But if you get a good shot, it’s so worth it.
You can also wander around the building. At the back, you have views of the harbor and the harbor bridge as well as Luna park across the harbor.
If you wander over to the other side of Circular Quay, near the Cruise Wharf, you have amazing views of the Opera House and Circular Quay. Sometimes large cruise ships are docked here, so they might interfere with your views but nonetheless, the cruise ships can also be pretty amazing to have in your pictures.
If you continue on just a little bit further you end up right underneath the harbor bridge. From here you have views of Milsons point and Luna Park. Not too shabby either.
MRS MACQUARIE’S CHAIR | Royal Botanic Gardens
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is a pretty iconic Sydney landmark.
The ‘chair’ was carved out of a sandstone rock ledge by convicts in 1810 for Elizabeth Macquarie. She was known to love the area so her husband, who was the Governor of NSW, built her this vantage point.
It is now known as one of the best vantage points to view the sights of Sydney Harbour.
The best time to check out Mrs. Macquarie’s chair is around sunset time. There are several amazing options on where to take photos or enjoy the views from. You have a section near the waterfront and a section on higher ground.
The Royal Botanic Garden closes at sunset, so they are unfortunately not open at night. This is the only section that is open, and it is worth the walk towards this viewpoint.
SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE
For a bird’s eye view of Sydney, walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What I love about crossing this bridge is that the city view is constantly changing as you approach the other side: from the tight-angle view of Circular Quay over Dawes Point to having ferries and waterways in the foreground as you’re further out on the bridge.
You will not be alone as many other tourists and avid photographers will do the same. Often when there are many people at a location it means that it is good. And in this case, they are right.
These are all the cool sites from this side over the bridge, let’s continue walking because there is a lot more to see on the other side.
OVER THE BRIDGE | Northern Sydney
Underneath are some options from the Northside of the bridge. These offer some amazing views of the opera house and bridge in one. All of these locations are easily assessable and safe. I would not send you somewhere that would not be a safe place to visit at night. I was at these locations at 10-11 pm and I felt 100 percent safe. (Just in case this is something you worry about.)
MILSONS POINT AND LUNA PARK
Right underneath the bridge on the north shore side, you will find Milsons point. Here you have spectacular views of the Sydney Opera Hosue and Sydney Harbour Bridge. So many locals just go for the views and wander along the harbor.
Right next to the bridge is Luna Park. The park is an amusement attraction which was established in 1935, amazingly it still contains traditional midway games and rides while of course still offering your 21st-century amusements as well. The older charm that this park offers, the more the modern generation can catch a glimpse of the past. So whilst you are here, why not hop on some rides!
JEFFREY STREET WARF
The wharf is located, sort off, between the bridge and the Opera House. This spot is great to take pictures of either the bridge or the Opera house. It is not a good spot if you wish to take pictures of both icons in one frame. The Warf is a popular photographers spot, and you will see many expensive cameras trying to take the ultimate picture of the night.
It is an amazing vantage spot to enjoy the Sydney harbour at night.
MARY BOOTH RESERVE
Next to the wharf, you can find the Mary Booth reserve. This reserve is located pretty much slap bang across from the Opera House. There are sections near the water which are perfect spots to snap hundreds of cool pictures for hours on end (Which is what I did)
The park is not lit up at night, so it is a bit scary looking. But I felt perfectly safe when I was there by myself at 11 pm at night. Of course, if you are a female like me, be alert as always!
The Mary Booth Park, as well as Jeffrey Warf, are probably my two favorite locations. They are easily accessible, safe, non-crowed and most importantly, offer some of the best views of Sydney harbour.
If you still have the strength to keep on walking then I suggest you wander over to the other side of Luna Park, to Lavender Bay.
This is an inner harbor where you have small piers, boats and again those sweet harbour views.
SYDNEY DURING VIVID
If you are in Sydney during winter then you will be lucky enough that you get to see Sydney during Vivid. Vivid is an amazing light festival that is held once a year. Throughout the city, there are buildings lit up with colorful projects. It is a stunning sight to see and truly worth traveling to Sydney for. This festival is held in May-June.
Sydney HARBOUR CRUISES
Another incredible wat of enjoying the harbour at night is by going on a night cruise. This way you get to explore the harbour in a relaxed way, whilst having a nice dinner. Underneath are just a couple of cool cruises you could check out.
- Fantasea Cruising | Sydney Harbour Sunset Cruise from $45
- Sydney harbour Tall ships | Twighligh dinner cruise from $109
- Captain Cook Cruises | Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise from $99
If a cruise is a bit too expensive, then you can always hop on one of the ferries. This is a cheap alternative to a cruise, providing you with the same views. Get on the ferry at Circular Quay and go to one of many destinations. Milson’s point is only a couple of minutes away and is an easy option.
What do you think of Sydney harbour at night? Is this something you would like to see for yourself one day? Let me know in the comments below.
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