Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Exploring Sydney Harbour – 2019 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee – Australia

The first documented European discovery of Sydney Harbour was by then Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. Eighteen years later, Governor Arthur Philip returned with the “First Fleet” of settlers and convicts and begun the Colonisation of Sydney Harbour and Sydney as it is known as today. "...we had the satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security..." — Governor Arthur Phillip, 15 May 1788.

Known for its beauty and size, Sydney Harbour is famous around the world. With an estimated perimeter of over 300 kilometres, there are hundreds of bays, estuaries and beaches for travellers and Sydneysiders to explore. Whist its beauty is admired far and wide, sailors have come to respect the harbour for its hidden dangers, such as reefs and ship wrecks. At last count there were over 100 wrecks strewn around the harbour and cliff faces on the approaches of it.

The best way to explore Sydney Harbour is by travelling on the water itself. You can do this by ferry, yacht, jet-boat, kayak, tall ship and even by Seaplane. In fact Sydney’s first international Airport was the Seaplane Base at Rose Bay. While Seaplanes no longer travel internationally from Rose Bay, you can still take a scenicflight over the Harbour and along the coast from this historic location.

One of my favourite activities on the harbour is riding the Manly Ferry. This service runs from Circular Quay (home of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge,) takes you past these two iconic landmarks before turning north venturing up the Harbour, passing Taronga Zoo, Rose Bay, Watsons Bay, and Middle Head following the reserve journey of the First Fleet. This journey finishes in the beach side town of Manly, home of a beautiful beach lined by Norfolk Island Pine Trees and fantastic cafes such as “the Boathouse.”

Located on the secluded Shelly Beach (10-15 minute coastal walk from the Ferry Terminal), the Boathouse is a rustic beachside Cafe, offering a picturesque setting with a modern International menu and some of the best coffee in Sydney.

Ferries to and from Manly depart regularly from sunrise to midnight.

Another popular way to see Sydney Harbour is by climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. To me, there is no greater view than seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge out of the window of an aircraft returning from a trip.

To locals, the Bridge is iconic Sydney; we drive across it, walk across it and indeed sail under it. Completed in 1932, the Bridge was influenced by the Hells Gate Bridge in New York and up until 2012 was the Worlds Widest Single Arch Bridge in the World(8 lanes of traffic, two train lines, a pedestrian path and bike path)and is held together with approximately 6 million hand-driven rivets.

Bridgeclimb offers Dawn, Day, Twilight and Night climbs with climbs departing on average every 15 minutes. While BridgeClimb offer Sampler climbs(1.5 hours long) and Express Climbs(2.25hours long), I would strongly recommend the Original BridgeClimb (3.5 hours long). This climb takes you under the road deck of the Bridge to the start of the Eastern side arch where you slowly make your way up to the flags in the centre, before crossing over to the Western Side and back to terra firma. This climb takes approximately 1,332 steps and shows you a 360 degree panorama of Sydney Harbour. This truly is a memorable way to see Sydney Harbour in all her glory.

Whether it is exploring the harbour by Ferry or by kayak with your morning coffee, or by admiring her beauty from the top of the Bridge, exploring Sydney Harbour is a must for every visitor to Sydney.

Sydney is a city full of Sydneysiders, domestic and International guests. Our beautiful city welcomes people from all around each and every day, and for those who are lucky enough to visit the beautiful land down under, Sydney’s Concierge are always willing to help define itineraries to explore the Harbours secrets.

Josh is a candidate for the 2019 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.

Meet the Author
Josh Blake

After living abroad, and planning a surprise trip from the UK home to visit his mother for Christmas, some may say Josh Blake ‘fell’ into the life of a Concierge. Looking for a short-term role whilst in Sydney, Josh worked as a Porter/Valet at the Holiday Inn Darling Harbour. Within a few months, his passion of speaking to guests and talking about our beautiful city of Sydney shone bright, and therefore, Josh was promoted to Concierge Supervisor.

With his passion for travel and the greater Australia, josh accepted his next assignment in Perth, Australia as a Concierge Supervisor at the Hyatt Regency. It was here Josh grew his knowledge, passion and love for all aspects of being a Concierge, successfully earning his membership to Les Clefs d’Or in 2013. From there, Josh joined the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney since 2014 and has been the Assistant Chef Concierge since 2017.

Josh is currently on the Interview committee for potential members of Les Clefs d’Or and also chairs the Sydney Concierge and Hospitality Ball which raises money for the St Anthony Family Care Charity supporting families with Autistic and Special needs children.

Josh is an avid golfer and loves exploring Sydney and travelling the world. Josh also follows NFL and Rugby Union. In his spare time he loves to cook, socialise with friends and read.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Sydney’s best located luxury hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney delivers an unforgettable five-star experience, surrounded by the city’s icons and overlooking stunning Sydney Harbour.

Explore Sydney’s highlights just footsteps from the hotel, from bustling Circular Quay and the historic The Rocks precinct, to vibrant business, dining, entertainment and shopping districts.

Relax in a luxurious room or suite with breathtaking harbour or city views. Discover the hotel’s superb dining and drinking experiences at our Modern Australian restaurant, Mode Kitchen & Bar, and Grain bar offering creative cocktails and one of Australia’s largest whisky selections.

Unwind with a blissful treatment at Endota Spa, with access to the hotel’s 24-hour gym, steam and sauna and the largest heated outdoor hotel pool in Sydney with cabanas and a jacuzzi.

Extend the five-star experience with access to the hotel’s Lounge 32, an exclusive retreat with panoramic city and harbour views, and complimentary privileges including breakfast and evening drinks and canapés.

Discover the hidden gems of Sydney through the hotel’s knowledgeable and friendly Concierge team, while the rest of the hotel team are on hand to ensure each stay is highly personalised, thoroughly enjoyable and memorable.


+61 2 9250 3100

Related Articles