Sydney by Ferry

The Harbour is what makes Sydney, as everyone knows, and so what better way to get around it than by ferry?

We’d taken the ferry to Balmain on our first day in Sydney and so as the clouds cleared on our second morning, we grabbed our Opal Cards and set off. This time rather than getting in the ferry at Pyrmont Bay we decided to walk across the Pyrmont Bridge and walk around to Barangaroo.

Barangaroo is a new trendy mix of business and hospitality. Being a Saturday morning it was not particularly busy and so rather than stopping for a coffee, we decided to hop on a ferry and head to Circular Quay. I thought we’d have an early lunch at Cafe Sydney, but it was closed and with the weather still a bit dodgy we decided to have a light lunch at one of the Harbourside restaurants. I was surprised how pleasant the meal was given these are so often straight tourist traps! We were able to sit and watch the people and ferries go by as well as look across to a large passenger ship moored at the International terminal. Looking at the ship again reconfirmed why I remain not that keen on a cruise – all those people and nowhere to hide!!

As we sat the weather cleared and we decided we head into Watsons Bay, not for lunch as we had originally planned but for a glass of wine.  It’s about a half hour trip via Rose Bay. This ferry ride gave us a great chance to see the Harbour in all its glory.

Once at Watsons Bay, we headed for the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and it’s 800 seat bar and dining area, known as the Beach Club. How can anything that seats 800 be boutique?

It was busy but there was room, so as my favourite person found a seat in the shade I headed for the bar and a couple of glasses of Pinot Gris. We didn’t need any food although it looked pretty good and just took in the atmosphere. There was a birthday party at the tables next to us, families having lunch and couples just like us. It was a happy buzzing hour or so. From there we walked along the beach, past Doyle’s, where we’d had lunch there years before and it looked just as pleasant as it did all of those years before.


After our stroll, we headed back to the ferry and Circular Quay. The Harbour was even busier with pleasure craft and the views were just stunning.

Queen Victoria Building



We passed on the ferry back to Pyrmont and walked through the city, stopping for afternoon tea at The Palace Tea Room in The Queen Victoria Building. The tables are set up around the balconies, with the shops on the outside and the void on the other providing excellent views of the interior of this lovely building.

We had an hour or so once we got back to our apartment before our daughter got back and so just took it easy.

We’d booked dinner in The Rocks, so it was back to the ferry for a dusk ride back to Circular Quay. Again, the Harbour was bustling but now with Saturday night parties on the water. We just took in the amazing views.  The cruise liner we’d seen in the morning always now gone. One at Circular Quay it was a short walk along George Street to dinner and an excellent, Napalese styled pizza. I checked the ferry timetable and saw we had time for a leisurely walk back to Circular Quay for what would be another ferry trip, this time in full darkness. Just the lights of the other boats on the harbour, the Bridge, Opera House, Luna Park and the buildings on either side of this amazing Harbour.

We were definitely ready for bed when we got back to our apartment just a few minutes from Pyrmont Wharf.

We’d arranged to catch up with a couple of friends at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for Sunday Brunch. Our friends assured us we’d have the best views of Sydney. So, after a short walk to Pyrmont Bay ferry wharf, where they were setting the James Craig, a tall ship we’d seen the day before, for a day on the water and we were at the wharf.

The morning was a little dull but quickly brightened up as we headed off to the North Shore and Milsons Point which is at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and next to Lunar Park. With the benefit of the GPS on my phone, we took the short walk through the leafy streets around Kirribilli to meet our friends.

With views across the Harbour to Woolloomooloo, I think our friends just have been right. The views were pretty special. Yachts, kayaks and pleasure craft as well as a couple of cargo ships made the hour or so catching up with friends all the more entertaining.

With brunch done, we took a short walk to the Kirribilli ferry wharf for the trip back to Circular Quay. As we approached the wharf there was a huge lineup. Seemed odd as we hadn’t seen any lines for ferries and then we saw that the line wasn’t for the ferry but for the cafe on the wharf. There must have been fifty or sixty people there.

Our ferry ride back took us past Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister’s Sydney residence and onto Circular Quay where another cruise liner was now tied up at the Passenger Terminal. The Quay was buzzing with people. There were the ubiquitous buskers playing to the crowds as we headed towards The Rocks for a coffee and the masses of passengers lining up to board the ship.

We walked up past the Sunday Market and then headed for a walk around Walsh Bay and then onto Barangaroo. We weren’t very hungry but we stumbled upon a delightful bike cafe nestled between two peers and stopped for a glass of wine. The staff we friendly and we struck up a conversation with another couple. While we weren’t locals we’d been to Sydney enough to help them with some thoughts on places to go.

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After a chat, we headed on along the shore taking in the views that make Sydney one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As we approached Barangaroo we had to take a detour around the construction works before heading back to the shore. I saw the building my former firm had relocated too. Great location and very much in the heart of the action.

We stopped for a drink at one of the numerous bars harbour side bars at Barangaroo and decided that we’d head back to one of the local fish restaurants for dinner that night.

This had been a wonderful walk and one we hadn’t really planned to do until we found that the next ferry to Mossman was nearly an hour away.

Sydney is a stunning city for a tourist. It’s a great place to visit where you can stay in the heart of the action but to live there would never allow us that luxury.

As we reflected on our 3 or so days in Sydney we hadn’t ventured far from the harbour at all, but then again why would you?

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My daughter and favourite person with HMAS Vampire and Barangaroo in the background

Posted in Daily Post – Tour Guide

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2 Responses to Sydney by Ferry

  1. coral waight says:

    Even as a Melburnian I have to admit that, yep, it is a pretty spectacular harbour.

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