Prince Harry will join Governor-General Quentin Bryce on Sydney Harbour today to review Australia's warships as part of the International Fleet Review.

Yesterday, more than 20 warships from 17 nations glided into the harbour to mark 100 years since the Royal Australian Navy fleet first entered the waterway.

Leading Australia's ships in the ceremonial spectacle yesterday was HMAS Sydney, which emerged from behind Bradley's Head, followed by six others - Darwin, Bundaberg, Perth, Parramatta, Diamantina and Huon.

Thousands of people had gathered by the harbour's edge to watch the ships and crew on Friday, and will do so again today with Prince Harry.

The visit marks the Prince's first official trip to Australia representing the royal family.

He will also spend time in Sydney meeting young Australians who have been recognised for helping others.

The ceremonial fleet review will run from 11am to 2:30pm (AEST), and 'Salute to Navy' air displays will take place from 2:15pm to 5:30pm.

A massive light show and fireworks spectacular, which will be broadcast on ABC News 24, will start at 7:40pm.

HMAS Sydney Commander Karl Brinckman says the first fleet review in 1913 signalled Australia coming of age as a nation.

"One hundred years ago was the first Australianised fleet, if you like, our own ships that we could call our own," he said.

"Before that we very much relied upon ships, particularly from the UK.

"So the Australian fleet was very important in nation-building for the country. The nation was really only around 12 years old at that time."