Okay, so you've come to Sydney to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Well, for the cheapest view of both and some of the best angles, you'll want to be on the ferry that goes over to Luna Park, McMahons Point and then into Darling Harbour.
This inexpensive and relatively short journey gives you wonderful views of tourist Sydney and many of its icons.
Luna Park is still fun for the kids (and more than a few adults) and it sits adjacent to North Sydney Swimming Pool where many a legend of the Aussie crawl has done laps.
The ferry then skips to the nearby McMahon's Point (there's a nice restaurant here) and then cuts across the harbour to Balmain and a couple of stops in the oh-so-touristy Darling Harbour where you have to be a total introvert not to find something to take your money.
There's everything from the Chinese Garden to the Casino, from dozens of epicurean delights to the Entertainment Centre; from the Aquarium to Imax, from Maritime Museum to munchies. Don't forget, bring your wallet with you.
The trip shows you the CBD of Sydney better than any other ride with some special angles. Make sure your battery has plenty of charge in your camera.
The ferry then returns to Circular Quay, making for a stunning short trip.
Another of the four public options is to get aboard the Watsons Bay ferry. It's a relatively quick one (compared to the Manly ferry) and it stops at Garden Island, Double Bay, Rose Bay (where you'll likely see a seaplane taking off) and then Watsons, home of the world famous Doyle's Seafood Restaurant, something of an institution in the town.
The majority of seating is open air but inside is more comfortable. At each stop there are things and places to see but Watsons Bay is by far the most popular stopping point.
It takes around half an hour to get there but a lot less coming back as they go directly to Circular Quay on the return.
On this run you get to see where many of the rich and famous live as the ferry ducks in and out of the palatial suburbs of eastern Sydney.
There's lots of public transport around Sydney but, chances are you're here for the harbour.
If that's the case, you'll be heading to Circular Quay, north of the CBD.
Here you can catch a ferry to anywhere that ferries go. Here is a transport hub with an effervescent feel about it. Buskers, commuters and tourists all converge in this sea of sunlit faces by one of the world's great waterways.
Personally, I can't blame them, I've done it myself on more than one occasion.
Outside of guided tour (recommended) the next best option is the Manly ferry. Hop on one, get off at Manly, walk around Fairy Bower, chill out at one of the many cafes and restaurants.. Life doesn't get much better.
SIghtseeing ferries leave Wharf 4 at 10 a.m. and 11.15 daily for a one hour cruise of the middle harbour and afternoon departures leave at 1 p.m. Mon-Fri and 1.30 p.m. on weekends for a two and a half hour cruise towards the east which includes seeing many of the palatial mansions of the Eastern Suburbs.
See other ferries in my following tips.
The endeavour replica here photographed in Coffs Harbour has done a number of trips from Sydney since it was fitted out. It provides opportunities for young people to experience life as it was. It was exciting to see it roll into Coffs Harbour.....
To ferry around the sydney harbour is quite the most relaxing and wonderful way to go. You can be out on deck on a fine day and enjoy the sights or if its too blowy or raining you can still get a great view from inside as they have plenty of windows. Usually the harbour just provides a little movement ......rarely really rough.
Check the ferry schedules and be there ontime. The ferries are extremely prompt, and if you dont want to have to swim out to them, make sure to leave some time to spare! Many ferries only come once and hour or so, so be diligent. It can be a long wait...
As it happened to be, my appartment building was connected with the Parramatta rivercat terminal making it reeeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyy easy to get into Sydney. Going out of the building, all I had to do was walk down the stairs, board the boat and off we were. It goes straight into Circular Quay so you are directly in the middle of the city, without any stops.
For only 7 dollars for a one way trip it's cheaper than the fuel costs to drive into the city and the parking garage, which can run up to 50 dollars for 4 hours!!!!!
One tip though, if you go back don't take the last ferry but take the 5 o'clock one (in the winter that is) so you can enjoy the beautiful sunsets on the bay and the river.
An enjoyable daytrip from Sydney is to the beach resort of Manly. I caught a ferry to Manly during my visit to Sydney in April 2006. The following information is correct as of that date:
Ferries, operated by "Sydney Ferries", leave for Manly from Wharf #3 at Circular Quay in central Sydney approximately every 30 minutes.
The journey time between Circular Quay and Manly Wharf is approximately 30 minutes by ferry. This journey time can be halved to 15 minutes if you catch one of the faster Jet Cats, but these boats are more expensive than the ferries.
Adults: 6.20 AUD each way
Concessions: 3.10 AUD each way
Upon arrival at Manly, there is a small sandy beach right next to the wharf. Follow The Corso (Manly's main pedestrianised street) to get from the wharf to Manly Beach and the Scenic Walkway along the coast to Manly's other beaches.
You will find plenty of cafes, restaurants, fast food joints and shops along The Corso, just a 2 minute walk from the wharf.
One of the best ways to see (and get around) Sydney is on a Ferry. The ferries are located on "Circular Quay and can take you to more than 41 different warfs". There are all different types of ferries. We cruised on the ferries to Taronga Zoo, Manly Beach and Watson's Bay.
Download their ferry schedules via their website. The prices are reasonable and you enjoy a fantastic view of Sydney as you are crusing to your location.
We stayed with relatives during our time in Sydney. When we asked them how to get to the city centre they had only one answer: Sydney Ferries’ famous Manly Ferry is a "must do" for any visitor.
When we arrived at Manly Wharf we saw a brand new food and wine oasis at Manly Cove. We learned that ever since 1855 ferries have been sailing this route between Circular Quay and Manly. A ferriemakes the 30 minute trip regularly, day and night.
During our trip to Circular Quay we found out what our relatives meant by their answer. The route is spectacular and we agree with the statement: "And today, no visit to Sydney is complete without an excursion to the seaside suburb of Manly."
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