Largest ship ever to visit Australia brings Sydney to a standstill

History was made as the world’s biggest passenger liner, the Queen Mary 2, sailed into Sydney Harbour this morning, the biggest ship ever to visit Australia. Queen Mary 2 is halfway through her maiden world voyage, and will be joined by her famous ‘little sister’, the QE2, who’s on her silver jubilee world cruise. This is the first time two Cunard Queens have been seen together in Sydney since the second world war when the original Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth visited the city as troop carriers.

Slipping through Sydney heads just before dawn, the 345m QM2 brought the city to a standstill as tens of thousands tried to get a glimpse of her. A flotilla of more than 300 small craft, ranging from ferries to kayaks, waited just inside the heads to accompany the 151,400-tonne ship down the harbour to her berth at the Garden Island naval base.

Too high to fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and too long for the Overseas Passenger Terminal berth at Circular Quay, the QM2 had no option but to tie up alongside the naval workshops – normally the home of sleepy grey warships.

The three-year-old QM2 will leave Sydney for Hong Kong at 11pm (AEDT) tonight, while the QE2 will leave for Brisbane and Cairns on Thursday night.