Navy destroyer takes to Sydney Harbour

Sydneysiders in and around the harbour were greeted to a rare sight on Wednesday morning - a giant warship passing under the Harbour Bridge.

The HMAS Vampire, a warship in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, was towed from Cockle Bay to Garden Island for maintenance, taking it under the iconic bridge.

The 119-metre ship, which served the Australian navy from 1959 to 1986, was accompanied by three tugboats and a pilot vessel across the busy harbour.

HMAS Vampire will spend a month at Garden Island's dry dock for $3 million of repairs, before returning to its maritime museum mooring on February 17.

Considered the last of the nation's big gun ships, it was constructed on Cockatoo Island in 1956, and was one of the largest destroyers ever built locally.

The Daring class vessel is the biggest warship in the maritime museum's collection.