To most, Sydney is iconic for at least two reasons. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find so much more than those world-renowned landmarks that you’re most likely picturing. Built around a system of bays that lead into rivers, the allure of this city extends far past where these waterways end.
It can be hard to visualise Sydney’s sheer beauty in its entirety, and that’s where Sydney Sea Planes come in. Experiences range from short trips around the bay, to overnight trips further north. Each offer serene views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, while the longer flights will take you over the stunning Garigal and Ku-Ring-Gai National Parks.
Opting for one of their day trips on offer, Sydney Seaplanes flew us to the award-winning Cottage Point Inn for a lunch equally as memorable as the flight.
Located 20 minutes drive from Sydney’s CBD in Rose Bay, you’ll need to check in at around 30 minutes before take-off. Ample time to calm any nerves of flying in a light aircraft, you’ll also be treated to a short safety briefing in the lounge before boarding.The seaplanes will comfortably fit 10 people. Unlike a lot of other smaller aircrafts we’ve flown in, the engine’s vibrations and drone wasn’t too overwhelming. The air-conditioning made it all the more pleasant, too. The views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park were absolutely breathtaking, the mountains didn’t seem to end – until we began descending toward a body of water tucked between the trees.
Upon landing in eastern end of the Hawkesbury River, a small boat was waiting to usher us across to Cottage Point Inn. The restaurant was understated and built atop the shoreline; the mountains and water surrounding meant that the landscape did most of the talking – along with the food, of course.
The three-course meal quickly turned into four with a pre-entrée oyster serving. The menu catered for most, however, we couldn’t help notice the focus on their seafood options. The entrées were presented so immaculately that you’ll be remorseful for only that second between destroying the work of art and eating it.
We started with an eastern infused raw wild kingfish, smoked eel, shiso, walnut and apple dish, then moved on to mains. The dusky flathead and octopus came up as an equal front-runner alongside the duck breast and turnips. The dessert options were sure to satisfy the palette’s sweeter side, too. Ending with a few more glasses of wine on the balcony; artisanal cheeses, pear paste and fruit bread had us very content and ready for the flight homeward bound.
The Sydney Seaplane experience doesn’t end until you step off the aircraft back in Rose Bay, though. While the flight to Cottage Point Inn gave us a bird’s eye view of Sydney’s surrounding mountain ranges, the trip home sets sights on the Harbour. Flying into this fine city in a commercial airliner can sometimes give you a quick glimpse of the bridge, Opera House and CBD; providing you have a window seat of course. On the contrary, these 10 seater planes provide uninterrupted views of Sydney’s magnificence. You’ll score two laps of the harbour just to make sure everyone gets their photo opportunity.
After a cheeky warning from the pilot, the plane took a steep dive toward the landing. A hit of adrenaline is never a bad thing if you’ve got the stomach for it.
A Sydney Seaplanes experience is one of a kind. You’ll see Sydney from a completely different perspective, and you’ll most certainly score some brownie points if you’re booking this for a loved one.
A food inclusive return flight to Cottage Point Inn will set you back $535 per person, however there’s an option and price point for everyone. Shorter scenic flights start at $200 for each passenger. Or, for something truly unique, you can even follow the first leg of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.