If you want to take the legwork out of sightseeing and get a fresh angle on Sydney, seaplanes are the way to go. There's no shuffling around the town, and no queuing or getting lost. It's also a great way of getting orientated - and a whole lot of fun. Sydney by Seaplane is one of four outfits that operate from Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. The terminal is quaint - like a cargo container jutting into the sea with a timber walkway leading to a boarding pontoon. Check-in consists of little more than getting weighed. Our plane can take four 80kg adult passengers. Pilot Henry Gorman says he recently turned down a 180kg American tourist (he managed to get her on a bigger plane). The interior of the seaplane is like a Mini Cooper: cute, small and very noisy. Headsets, with inbuilt microphones, enable passengers to ooh, aah and talk to each other throughout the flight. Taxiing into the harbour is like the slow build-up on a rollercoaster. Then, Gorman turns the plane, revs the engines and charges for the shore. The plane bounces, the sea turns to foam, and we're airborne. There are two main routes: a run down the coast over Bondi and a string of stunning beaches or a flight over the harbour. We choose the latter, and the plane banks sharply as it heads for the Harbour Bridge. It flies close enough for you to wave at the climbers below. Next, we soar over the Opera House and harbourside suburbs. The city looks stunning, daubed with blotches of purple jacaranda trees. Gorman's commentary is an entertaining mix of tourist patter and local gossip. He points out Nicole Kidman's mansion and dips over Lady Bay, a popular nudist beach. Then comes Manly, Taronga Zoo, Balmain and Woolloomooloo. Our two big loops over the harbour and back to Rose Bay take about 15 minutes and cost A$145 (HK$880) for adults and A$70 for children. The outfit's most popular flight is a 30-minute jaunt (A$220 adults, A$110 children) that takes in the harbour, city and famous beaches. And for the romantics, there's a fly-and-dine package (A$445 each) that takes you to a restaurant on the Hawkesbury River. Picnic trips to secluded beaches are also available. Sydney by Seaplane, Rose Bay Seaplane Base, Lyne Park, Rose Bay, tel: (61 2) 9974 1455 or 1300 656 787 (within Australia) or go to www.sydneybyseaplane.com .