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desreb

Sydney Seaplane and Restaurant Experience

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Just thought I'd add a suggestion myself.

 

We just took a seaplane and restaurant trip for two last week in Sydney, which was by far the best thing I've ever done in Australia. Um... Let me think.... Actually, I did a lot of amazing things here when I was here for holidays a few years ago, but, yeah, it was up there with them.

 

The downside is that apparently it cost around $700 for two, so not cheap at all. The upside is that it was a leaving present from some very generous workmates, so we just had but to enjoy it.

 

In short - we turned up at the Seaplane pontoon on Rose Bay, near the ferry terminal, around 11am. We met our pilot, and it turned out we were the only two passengers on the DHC-2 Beaver seaplane that he was taking us in. So I sat in the co-pilot's seat, and my wife sat in a rear seat.

 

We taxiied across Rose Bay, which took a few minutes - passing various moored yachts and a couple of kayakers - found a gap in the boats, and took off. Turned and climbed over the bay and towards Watsons' Bay, headed out over the Ocean, and then flew north all the way along the coast at around 90mph, 1000ft and half a mile offshore, watching the beaches pass by: Manly, Freshwater, Dee Why, Curl Curl... Didn't see any dolphins, or sharks, but did see a large shoal of fish which the pilot orbited to get a better look.

 

15 minutes took us to Pittwater (on the landward side of Palm Beach); again, the amazing freedom of descending over water, turning past the forests and headlands, aiming for a gap in the boats, and, dammit, landing in the bay, then taxiing to a buoy. A small boat, a minibus at the waterside, and after another 15 minutes we were at one-hatted Jonah's restaurant for a sublime, relaxed meal. All 3 courses were included in the package for both of us, with no worries of supplements or extras; our total bill came to around $40-50 for the bottle of wine.

 

And then the same in reverse on the way back. Since we were the last flight out, our pilot Andy had decided to hang out at the beach and wait to take us back; again, we had the plane to ourselves. This time, he flew several turns in his approach to Rose Bay, such that we flew over virtually the entire harbour East of the Bridge; plenty of views of every sight to be seen, and a setting sun behind the city skyscrapers.

 

Landing, disembarkation, some chatting and photos, and then a ferry back to Circular Quay - again, very quiet, and we were treated to the sight of a cruise liner barely squeezing under the Harbour Bridge as we arrived, and all the 5pm commuter ferries launching out of CQ for the Friday evening rush hour.

 

So - probably not something to be booked lightly, but perhaps for a special occasion - aniversary, wedding present - I can't fault it. I've been in a seaplane one before, but let's face it: taking off and landing in Sydney Harbour; what can top that? GBR... maybe! I'd suggest trying to go in a quiet period - say off-season, a weekday (Friday, when everyone's winding down for the weekend), and last in the queue, to try to get the plane to yourself. Maybe during whale migration season - that could be special! And go for the older aircraft, not the new one; they're slower, fewer seats, from a golden era - more of an experience, more time.

 

I can't actually remember the package name/website, but I'm sure googling will find it! I think the seaplane operator was Sydney Seaplanes, or somesuch; I doubt there's more than one in Rose Bay!

 

 

D

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Looks like the same, although I think it was via Red Balloon. However, I don't think they paid THAT much! Maybe there was a special offer at the time!

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