A trip to one (or a few) of Sydney’s eight harbour islands gives you a whole new perspective on the city, the glittering water and its landmarks.

The islands – some more developed than others – offer unique views of icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, as well as historical insights (Fort Denison and Cockatoo islands) postcard-perfect picnic spots (Shark Island) and arts and culture (Cockatoo Island). You can even sleep over on Cockatoo Island, which has evolved from its roots as a place to stash undesirables (read: convicts) from the outpost of Norfolk Island to one of Sydney’s hippest hangouts, with art exhibitions, a summertime bar and glamping sites.

You can also grab a spot of brunch or afternoon tea on Fort Denison. Getting to the islands is half the fun – a ferry or water taxi ride on the harbour is one of Sydney’s greatest pleasures. Captain Cook cruises operates a hop-on, hop-off ferry service departing Circular Quay and Darling Harbour every 45 minutes.

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