Warning: Sydney Harbour is full of Sharks

(Psst heads up – this is mostly an exaggerated post. Many people reading this don’t get it and like to wail that I’m destroying tourism for Australia. Please click around on the site a little and see just how much we promote Australia as a destination!)

It was only during my recent stay in Sydney with fellow travel bloggers, Abigail, Megan, and Gary that I realized a rather unsettling fact.

a harbour

Tourists to Sydney don’t know or understand the dangers that come with this stunning harbour of ours.

I realized it was my responsibility to WARN those wanting to travel to Australia.

Sydney Harbour is full of sharks.


And bull sharks at that. One of the most aggressive sharks you can find. There are sure to be a few tiger sharks swimming around in there as well.

Who would like to try and find out?

It was while we were going to our first activity kayaking on Middle Harbour that I expressed my slight trepidation to my comrades.

“I just hope the sharks aren’t around today?”

“What do you mean sharks? There are no sharks in the harbour is there?” Abi searched for that “just joking” grin. A grin that would never come.

“Yes, lots of them. Bull sharks- the aggressive ones.”

She wasn’t convinced and it was only while we were on the water when the instructor began talking about them,  as we kayaked over the deepest hole of Sydney Harbour near Clontarf beach, that she sat up a little straighter to pay attention.

“This is one place you don’t want to swim. As the deepest hole, sharks like to hang out in here.”

Our paddling increased at this point, only easing after she told us the last shark that was spotted by an instructor was at least 18 months ago.

I grinned and nodded “See Abi, I was not lying.”

I think our crew really needed further convincing though and lucky for them it came throughout our stay.

The warning on our surfing waiver that we had to sign agreeing to the fact that we “could get bitten by a shark.

“But we are not even in the Harbour. You mean there are sharks at Bondi too?”

“This is Australia, there are sharks everywhere.”

No more convincing was needed as we made our way to our sunset harbour cruise. Our itinerary mentioned that we could bring our swimmers.

Abi asked if I had mine.

“Are you kidding me? No way. I’m not swimming in the Harbour. There are sharks in there.”

“I wonder why they put it on the itinerary then.”

“Because they are mad.”

Something we discussed later as we saw windsurfers out in the middle of the deep and choppy waters.

And later the next day when we saw surfers in the part of Manly North Head, that is called Sharky Bay. A place where our tour guide saw a shark while kayaking.

a rocky beach

“Why do all these people go out there if there are sharks?” our crew were baffled.

“Because they are surfers, and surfers will do anything for a wave. That is why I’ll never be a surfer.”

The last shark attack was about 3 years ago,” the owner of Sea Sydney Cruises told us on our harbour cruise. The waters were murky after about 5 days of rain, the worst time to swim in the Harbour as visibility is poor.

Our crews’ swimmers were stuffed back into their bags as they realized we had just come off about a week of rain.

It was a diver and didn’t see it coming. A bull shark.

“Okay Caz, I am convinced now. I never knew there were sharks in the harbour. And I’ve been to Oz before, oblivious to this fact, whilst enjoying the harbour. Coming form England these are things we never really have to think about.”

Trust me, when you come to Australia. You have to think about it.

Sure, it is at long odds, whether you will be attacked or not.

I’m not willing to take a shot at those odds.

I’m here to warn you travelers to Australia, sharks are everywhere, and the Sydney Harbour is one of their favourite homes.

P.S. Lucky for you there are so many ways you can experience this beautiful harbour without getting into the water.

P.P.S..I didn’t bother to tell the crew after my Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb that bull sharks have been spotted in waters below waiting for a climber to drop! I thought they were pretty convinced by this stage.

Who has beaten the odds before by swimming in Sydney Harbour and living to tell the tale?

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