In 1788 the first British tall ships loaded with convicts sailed from the United Kingdom to a new life in Australia. In 1988 another set of tall ships made a second historic voyage, as part of the celebrations for the Australian Bicentenary. The Southern Swan was one of these ships.
Built in 1922 in Denmark, the Southern Swan, then known as the Mathilde, she spend the first part of her life sailing in between Greenland and Denmark. The ship changed owners several times, and journeys to all corners of the world, before being drafted to sail from the United Kingdom to Sydney for the Australian Bicentenary celebrations. The journey took over 8 months, and on Australia Day 1988 the Southern Swan arrived in Sydney harbour.
The Southern Swan now lives her life in Sydney, working for film crews, charters and tours. She is one of the ships used for the Sydney Harbour Tall Ship cruises.
Sydney is a beautiful city, mostly in part to it’s many beaches, coves, cliffs, and waterways. Sydney harbour is like the icing on the cake. Any visit to Sydney is not complete without spending some time out on the water.
There are many ways you can explore Sydney by the water. Ferrys operate across the harbour, and a plethora of tours are available. But for those looking for a more unique and authentic experience, then look no further than the Sydney Harbour Tall Ship Tours.
It was raining during our visit to Sydney. This is our third visit to Sydney and it has rained on all three trips. The rain had just stopped as we arrived to the pier, but the air still had it’s characteristic chill. “Well folks, you are here for an authentic experience. You could see the harbour from one of those giant plastic ships over there, but you have all joined us for a more real experience tonight.”
He was right. I decided to ignore my soggy socks and make the most of my experience – rain or shine.
There are several different tour options you can choose. There are lunch time cruises, overnight tall ship experiences, and dinner cruises. We went on the Twilight Tall Ship Dinner Cruise. We departed just after 5 PM. Since we were sailing in winter, it was already dark when we boarded the ship. After a quick safety presentation, we set sail. There are areas to congregate outside, which is open to the elements but is still under cover to allow some protection from the rain or sun. There is also an inside area, were dinner is served buffet style and where some tables are available. The best views however, are out on the deck.
We sailed the harbour for about two hours, enjoying drinks from the bar and a buffet dinner as our host told us with stories from Sydneys past. Even with my wet feet, I could have spent hours just sitting there enjoying the beauty of Sydney all lit up at night. The harbour bridge and opera house were lit up spectacularly, and Luna Park – the vibrant amusement park from the early 1900’s. Luna Park is characterized by it’s entrance which is a huge, slightly frightening looking clown face – which Jacob was convinced was a giant dinosaur.
How to Join a Tall Ship Sydney Harbour Cruise
- We booked our tour through Tinggly Experiences. Tinggly is an experience gift giving website which is perfectly suited for world travellers. Tinggly allows you to give the gift of an experience, except the experiences are available in over 100 countries around the world. You also have two years to use your experience, which is double the time allowed by most other experience websites.
- The Tall ship cruises operate in all weather conditions. If the cruise does have to be cancelled due to weather, you will be offered another booking.
- An optional open bar option can be purchased for $25
- An optional mast climb experience can also be purchased
- Get an authentic experience by helping raise the sails or street the ship.