Port Jackson, containing Sydney
Harbour, is the natural harbour of Sydney, New South Wales
. The harbour is an inlet of the South Pacific Ocean. Widely considered to be one of the World
's finest harbours, it is known for its beauty, and in particular, as the location of the Sydney Opera House
and Sydney Harbour Bridge
which connects central Sydney with the Northern Suburbs region extended metropolitan area. Its entrance is between North and South Heads, where naval and military stations are located.
The location of the first European settlement in Australia, the harbour has continued to play a key role in the history and development of Sydney. The city itself lies on the southern shore, while the Northern Suburbs lie on the northern shore; which are linked by the Harbour Bridge and the ANZAC Bridge
. The Parramatta
River forms the harbour's western arm.
Many recreational events are based on or around the harbour itself particularly the Sydney New Year's Eve celebrations and the starting point of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Geologically, Port Jackson is a drowned river valley, or ria. It is 19 km long with an area of 55 km sq. The estuary's volume at high tide is 562 million cubic metres. The perimeter of the estuary is 317 kilometres.According to the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales
, Port Jackson is "a harbour which comprises all the waters within an imaginary line joining North Head and South Head. Within this harbour lies North Harbour, Middle Harbour and Sydney Harbour
The northern side of the harbour is mainly used for residential purposes.The waterways of Port Jackson are managed by the New South Wales Maritime Authority.
There are several islands within the harbour, including Shark Island, Clark Island, Fort Denison
, Goat Island, Cockatoo Island
, Spectacle Island, Snapper Island and Rodd Island. Some other former islands, including Bennelong Island, Garden Island
Island, have subsequently been linked to the shore by land reclamation.
Sydney Ferries is an agency of the New South Wales Department of Transport, providing ferry services on Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River in Sydney, Australia. Most ferry wharves, aside from those concentrated around the Central Business District, lie on the northern banks of the harbour, or on the southern bank, east of the Harbour Bridge. There is a lesser concentration of ferry wharves in the western areas of the harbour.
A service runs to Parramatta, along the Parramatta River, which is serviced by the RiverCat vessels, a large catamaran type ferry.In addition to the state owned ferry service, private ferry operators run a fast commuter service between Manly
and the city during peak times. Fast services on this route are now offered by private operators, following the Government decision in December 2009 to cease the premium service operated by Sydney Ferries.
Finally, a small number of water taxi and water limousine operators are active on the harbour, offering transport to individuals and groups who do not wish to travel by ferry. These water taxis are not restricted by timetables or specific routes,and can also provide a service to or from private wharfs and houses on the waterfront.