There are ferry tales aplenty in harbourside Sydney and they are mostly true: tales of gently lapping water, golden beaches, waterside homes, bronzed Aussies, jacaranda blooms.
In a city hemmed in by the Pacific on one side, blessed by an attractive harbour midcity and crossed by several inland rivers, the Sydney ferries are very much a way of life in this Down Under metropolis.
Sydney ferries are a vehicle for sightseeing as well as a mode of transport and the wharves at Circular Quay, close to the Sydney Opera House, are where ferry trips, and ferry tales, begin.
In the heart of the city
The Quay is very much the heart of Sydney transport. Here are located the ferry wharves, bus terminals and railway station — a busy night-and-day precinct of visitors and local commuters, bistros and coffee shops, tour operators and tourist shops.
Sydney ferries have five jetties on Circular Quay — numbered from 2 to 6. Government ferries (Sydney Ferries) dock at jetties 2 to 5, private ferries at 6.
From here, Sydney Ferries travel north to such places as Taronga Zoo, Neutral Bay, Mosman and Manly; southeast to Darling Point and Watsons Bay; west to Balmain, Homebush Bay (site of the Sydney 2000 Olympics), Gladesville and Parramatta; and just around Dawes Point and Millers Point to The Star casino complex at Pyrmont Bay and thence to Darling Harbour.
Check each ferry trip for where that particular ferry stops, as some trips may bypass certain stops. Note that ferry routes are subject to change.
Places of interest
Close to the Circular Quay jetties are the Sydney Opera House in the east, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Rocks district in the west.
Westbound Sydney ferries pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge which is as much a Sydney icon as the Opera House.
A quick trip across the water brings you to the fun place that is Luna Park. The Star casino-entertainment complex is at Pyrmont Bay, and Darling Harbour is always an attractive place to visit.
Taronga Zoo north of the harbour is a perennial favorite for visitors and Sydneysiders alike.
There are any number of wonderful beaches north — the more tourist-oriented beach and esplanade at Manly being one of them — and all along the southeast route as well.
There are always pleasant surprises wherever you go on the water. Have your own ferry tale to tell.