Ferry / Jet Cat / River Cat, Sydney
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 very scenic way to explore Sydney and move around is using the Ferry Service.
From Circular Quay the service operates to 41 wharves - including Parramatta, Woolwich, Birkenhead Point, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont Bay, Neutral Bay, Mosman Bay, Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo and Manly. Circular Quay being the main Ferry Terminal next to the Sydney Opera and Harbour Bridge.
Ticket prices start at AUD 4.80 for a single journey to AUD 15.00 for a day trip ticket,
In my opinion taking a ferry is the best way to get around besides walking. I loved riding the ferries to Watsons Bay, Manly, Taronga Park and Balmain. Even when we didn't have a destination in mind we just hopped aboard a ferry for our own pleasre cruise. I love being out on the water and seeing the beautiful Harbour views.
Circular Quay is the main hub of the Sydney Ferry System. This is where you can catch a ferry to 39 different destinations such as Manly, Watsons Bay, Balmain, Double Bay,Parramatta and
Taronga Zoo. There are differebnt types of vessels in the "ferry" system such as: Freshwater Class, Lady Class, River Cats, Harbour Cats, Super Cats and First Fleet.
No matter what class of vessel you take you are guarantee a great ride and a wonderful view of Sydney.
We went to the Tauronga Zoological Park but we first had to cross the harbour at Circular Quay. We had to wait some 15 minutes, therefore I bought 20 more postcards. My Grandma Atkins who was 74 years old at the time strayed away from us. When we got on the boat, we very nearly left her at Circular Quay. No doubt Daddy got mad because on these trips, regardless of age, you have to stay alert all the time. According to Daddy, he wasn't going to ever take her as far as Red Bank (a small community in southern Virginia between Virgilina and South Boston).
What better way to see one of the world’s most spectacular harbours - the Sydney Ferries. Grab a ticket and maybe a take-a-away coffee, sit back and watch the passing parade of Sydney unfold from the water. There are heaps of sailing boats to watch as they tack their way around the coves and bays as well as other ferries and myriads of other water vessels. Then there’s the harbour bridge and Opera House to watch from all angles - a photographers delight.
Ground zero for the ferries is Circular Quay, which is sandwiched between the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are 6 wharves, of which 4 are exclusively for the Sydney ferries. Travel times depend on destination with Circular Quay to Parramatta being the longest service at nearly an hour one way. Perhaps one of the most popular services is the Manly ferry and takes around half an hour each way. This ferry can get a little rough as it makes its way through the passage between the north and south heads and you can feel the surge of the Pacific rollers on the vessel. Other popular destinations for the ferries are Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Watsons Bay and the nearby spectacular and notorious Gap, Milsons Point/Luna Park.
Although the ferries are wheelchair friendly there are a number of wharves where access is difficult - suggest checking the web site for details.
Most of the wharves at Circular Quay have take away food and drink outlets, so suggest you get a coffee or whatever for the trip. The Manly ferry does have an on board café and the Manly wharf has a supermarket and a number of food/drink outlets.
I believe the most cost effective way of enjoying the ferries is with a day tripper pass, which costs $A17 per adult and $A8.60 per child or a family pass that includes children. The pass also includes discounted entry into a number of Sydney attractions as well as most of the other public transport options within Sydney and Newcastle. The real money saver is for Australian seniors and pensioners, regardless of where they live in Australia - their ticket costs $A2.50 for the day, which is an amazing deal. Although overseas seniors are not eligible, a friendly ticket seller may bend the rules if you ask really nicely. Other ticketing options available - see the web site for details.
All Sydney ferries run from Circular Quay. The main attraction in Sydney is catching a ferry to one of Sydney's fabulous suburbs or simply taking a ferry ride around Sydney Harbour.
The main ferry tourists rides are to Manly Beach, Darling Harbour, Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, Watson's Bay and taking the Rivercat up to Parramatta.
All information regarding timetable can be found at www.sydneyferries.com.au or www.131500.com.au
Sydney Ferries also run day/ night time cruises which takes in different areas like Middle Harbour, Fort Denison, Rose Bay, and the opening of Spit Bridge.
Morning Harbour cruise run daily at 10.30am and departs from Wharf 4 and takes one hour.
Food and beverages facilities are on board. COSTS - Adult $18.00 AUD.
Afternoon Harbour Cruises - takes approx 2.5hrs and departs at 1.00pm at Wharf 4.
COSTS - Adults $24.00 Commentary is provided throughout the tour. This tour takes in Middle Harbour, Clontarf, Middle Head, Balmoral Beach and Grotto Point. Plus you have the added bonus of seeing the Spit Bridge opening.
Evening Tour - takes approx 1.5hrs and departs from Wharf 4 Circular Quay. Departing at 8pm this cruise takes in the main circuit of Sydney Harbour plus you have the added bonus of seeing Goat Island, Balmain and Darling Harbour.
One of the best things in Sydney is the fact that the public transport system is centred on ships or boats. It really is a fantastic thing. Yeh there are still trains and buses aplenty but getting the ferry home from work rather than the bus must be great.
One of the best and cheapest ways to see the wonderful harbour is to catch the ferry to Manly, a suburb of Sydney with a great beach where you could easily spend more than a day exploring.
The ferry leaves from Circular Quay, wharf 3, and takes about 35 mins to make the journey over to Manly. This gives you a great chance to take in the magnifique views of the bridge, opera house and skyline. Camera's at the ready because there are photo opportunities galore.
Because we were in Manly quite alot we were able to appreciate this journey on numerous occasions. One of the times the sea was pretty choppy between the heads of the harbour and we got tossed about all over the place on the ferry, great fun if you can stomach it.
A quicker way of making the journey is aboard the jet cat, but its not near as much fun as the ferry is.
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.
Going by ferry is a great way of seeing Sydney's harbour. There are several options, but all of them starts at Circular Quay. Either catch the ferry to Manly, the short ride to Kirribilli or maybe by ferry to Taronga Zoo etc... The ferry to Taronga is smaller and older than the other ones. On the other hand, the jet cat to Manly is very modern and faster than the ferry (just 15 mins), but the ferry is of course the more traditional way to go (and cheaper).
Sydney Harbour is a far busier place now than when this photo was taken some 30 years ago. The tug was coming to steer the Arcadia out of the Harbour and on to the high seas..................What a wonderful cruise. It was exciting to see the tiny tugs manouvering the huge ocean liner as if it were a row boat. Fantastic experience.
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.
A great way to get around the harbour suburbs is by ferry, which many Sydneysiders use for their daily work commute.
You can also buy a Day Tripper pass for A$17 valid for travelling on all ferries (and buses & trains), which you can use to spend the entire day cruising the harbour and exploring the various suburbs.
The ferry service was great when we were there. Took them to Taronga zoo and to Manly without any hassles - regular and prompt. The Manly ferry is also a great way to see Sydney from the harbour without paying for a cruise!
During my last visit to Sydney we thought we'd wait for the city ferry. Waste of time. You are better off grabbing a Matilda ferry between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. They are cheaper and run more regularly.