This is a guest post by Nicole Smith, a disgruntled Journalism student keen to banish the books and head off on a whirlwind adventure around the world. You can find her writing at Bitten by the Travel Bug, on Twitter or Facebook.
Visitors from all over the world flock to Sydney, Australia, to see the Harbour Bridge and catch a glimpse of the Opera House; but despite both of these attractions being right on the water‘s edge visitors often don’t make the most out of all the harbour has to offer and explore some of Sydney’s best attractions.
Darling Harbour Ferry
For any first timer to Sydney, taking the Darling Harbour ferry is a great option to see Museums, theme parks and offers some of the best photo opportunities of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The first stop the ferry makes is at Milsons Point located on the North side of the Harbour. The first thing you’ll notice about this stop is a huge grinning face that awaits you when exiting the ferry terminal. This is the entrance to Luna Park, a theme park on the water‘s edge that is sure to delight kids and adults alike. Entry to the park is free but you do have to buy a ticket to go on the rides.
Another interesting point around Milsons Point is Kirribilli House, the Sydney home to the Australian Prime Minister and open to the public on one day each year.
If you have time to visit the trendy suburb of Balmain I recommend that you do it around tea time as Darling Road is home to some of the best coffee and cake shops in Sydney. My top pick in the area is Adriano Zumbo’s renowned French patisserie shop on Darling Street.
Zumbo’s shop is home to classic French bakery items including gateaux (cake), petit fours and bread. But Zumbo’s patisserie doesn’t generate waiting lines of up to half an hour for loaves of bread; the lines of people regularly queuing outside his shop are for their famous macaroons.
With over 60 different flavours regularly available there is a flavour to suit everyone. From classic chocolate to goat‘s cheese & blueberry, or perhaps hamburger or rice flavoured macaroons are more your thing!
If you’re in Sydney for New Year‘s Eve and don’t want to be part of the crush along around the banks of Sydney Cove, take the ferry to Balmain and join in the full-day party on the banks.
One of the final stops before the ferry turns around to make the return journey to Circular Quay is Pyrmont Bay, which is conveniently located near the National Maritime Museum, Sydney Convention Centre and a short walk from Cockle Bay.
Cockle Bay is home to a number of hotels, restaurants, and bars right at the water‘s edge. You will also find the Sydney Aquarium and IMAX theatres here. If you visit Cockle Bay during the October long weekend, a Salsa Festival takes place with free dance classes for everybody.
Don’t forget about the other Sydney Ferry lines, which can take you to other popular destinations!
Bondi Beach may be the most famous but Manly Beach is most loved by locals and surfers around the world.
Manly is known for it’s awesome surf and homage is paid each November when the Manly Festival of Surfing is held along it’s waterfront. There’s even the chance to go night surfing if you’re game!
Manly isn’t just for beach bums though. Each June the boardwalk is home to the Manly Food and Wine Festival and during the October long weekend it plays host to the Manly Jazz Festival.
If you’re feeling hungry after your day taking the nearby walking paths or lazing on the beach, there are plenty of options both along the waterfront and on The Corso, the pedestrian plaza on Manly’s main road.
To get to Manly Beach take the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay. It takes approximately 30minutes.
When coming to Australia you don’t just want to hang out in front of buildings or scope out museums, you come to see some of Australia’s unique wildlife. Whether it’s marvelling at a platypus, holding a koala or checking out Australia’s deadliest spider, the Red Back, you’ll find it all at Taronga Zoo. Taronga Zoo has it’s own personal ferry line from Circular Quay.
There are plenty of other things to see and do on the Ferries. Why not head to Homebush Stadium to see where the Sydney 2000 Olympic games were held, or perhaps Cockatoo Island, the largest island in Sydney Harbour, former imperial prison, and home to events such as the Red Bull X-Cross Finals.
When you plan your next visit to Sydney remember that there is more to the harbour than just the Opera House and bridge, don’t forget to explore the backdrop of it all – Sydney’s beautiful Harbour.
Have a look at the map below to see all of Sydney’s Ferry Network.
All photos unless otherwise mentioned are taken by the author.