There are a million reasons to love Sydney, and the harbour has to be number one. It’s awe-inspiring and beautiful, and locals lap up any opportunity to be close to it. If you’ve been living in the harbour city for a while, chances are you’ve sailed it, strolled around it, soared over it, and maybe even climbed the bridge that stretches across it. But have you ever had a sleepover in it? The next time you’re planning a holiday, mid-week treat, or weekend getaway, consider cruising, and then staying overnight.
We’ve done the research for you – these are the best boutique boat stays in Sydney.
To slip away for Christmas, board True North’s adventure cruise ship. The Blue Water Classic is a four-day trip, during which you’ll watch the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, visit Taronga Zoo, sail along the Northern Beaches, and spend time in the Hawkesbury. There are a slew of optional activities, including restaurant dinners and a scenic heli tour.
The Blue Water Classic runs from December 25-29, 2018, and hosts up to 36 guests.
Top tip: Willing to splash serious cash? Water Limousines’ overnight boat charters are ultra-luxe and cater up to six people. The price includes beverages and breakfast and dinner prepared by an executive chef, plus the services of a personal coordinator.
To sail back in time on an old-world tall ship, climb aboard – and up the mast! – of the Soren Larsen. After travelling to far-flung places, she’s now based in The Rocks, and she’s a beauty. The ‘Cruise and Snooze’ package involves a wine and canapés evening sail with live music, a buffet breakfast, and a guided (and fascinating) convict tour of Goat Island.
Campbell’s Cove, Circular Quay
Just an hour’s drive from Sydney, the Hawkesbury River is the perfect weekend getaway. If you’re going with a group, look into the Five Star Spa houseboat. There’s a 10-person spa – so you can soak while you boat – as well as five bedrooms, a kitchenette, outdoor dining setup, BBQ, speakers, TV and a deck dotted with sun lounges. The company can also provide catering.
3008 River Road, Wisemans Ferry
To let the gentle waves of the harbour rock you to sleep, book Sailaway. The yacht – which was featured in AirBnb’s “feel like you’re living in a movie” campaign – will collect you from Lavender Bay Wharf and cruise around the harbour (if you like) before mooring for the night. The boat sleeps six people. Just pack a picnic breakfast and dinner.
Lavender Bay Ferry Wharf, Port Jackson NSW, Australia
If you’ve always envisioning yourself sailing the harbour, sipping champagne without a care in the world, this company can make that a reality. Champagne Sailing’s Romantic Overnight Package is designed for couples, and includes breakfast, dinner, chocolates and a bottle of wine. The captain will dock the yacht in a secluded bay, and leave you for the night before coming back at 10am the next day.
Manly, Rose Bay, and Woolloomooloo Wharf
All aboard AOC’s 70-foot European cruiser: the Aqua Bay. The epitome of luxury, the yacht hosts overnight stays, and has three cabins, BBQ facilities, a swimming platform, and WiFi in case you need to stay connected to the outside world. While you sail around Sydney, you can soak up the sun on the deck, or stop to snorkel, fish, or paddleboard.
King Street Wharf 9 or Star City Casino Wharf
Picture this: you cruise up to Palm Beach, and then hop onto a private yacht. You spend the afternoon sunning on-deck, fishing, and diving off the boat to swim and snorkel. Come dinnertime, the gourmet seafood platter you requested is served. Then you retreat to your bedroom, and are dropped off the next morning. If that isn’t idyllic, we don’t know what is!
1151 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach
The harbour is home to hundreds of bays and coves, and Sailcorp will tailor your cruise to the secret spots you haven’t seen yet, while taking in the iconic sights of the city. Its ‘Sail and Stay’ package includes a two-hour harbour cruise and continental breakfast for up to six people. You’re welcome to BYO dinner and drinks, otherwise the team can call on a chef.
The Lavender Bay Boatshed, 23A King George St, McMahons Point
For a double date to remember, book an overnight charter with the aptly-named Sydney Dreamboats. The company offers luxe, all-inclusive stays on its sleek cruisers. It starts with a two-hour sail of the harbour, during which you can nibble on chocolate, strawberries and a seafood platter, listen to music, or play DVDs on the onboard entertainment system.
The pick-up and drop-off point can be any ferry wharf in Sydney Harbour
Want to sail off into the sunset with that special someone? East Sail specialises in romantic rides. Hop onto a boat at Rushcutters Bay, and they’ll whisk you on a twilight cruise around the harbour before mooring in Taylors Bay. Your skipper will leave you to enjoy gourmet goodies from the Sydney Picnic Company (think brie and chocolate brownies), plus a seafood, vegetarian or meat-based main meal. Bliss.
D’Albora Marinas, 1B New Beach Road, Darling Point