The very first ferry service that operated in Sydney went from Sydney Harbour and all the way up Parramatta River. Back then the journey took a week to complete. Now you can do it in under an hour. But there’s no need to hurry. There’s so much to see on this trip that the service offers two distinct ferry routes. You can take the inner river option, which goes via Woolwich and Cockatoo Island, or the outer run that takes in Drummoyne and Sydney Olympic Park before arriving at the head of the river at Parramatta. Allow plenty of time because it’s guaranteed you’ll want to get off and explore the many fascinating points of interest along the way.
Time for a change of pace so we head for the changing face of Balmain, settled by boat builders but now chefs create televised fare for trendy cafes and bakeries. We stay on for Birchgrove and a visit to the Riverview Hotel, once managed by Olympic great Dawn Fraser. We award it a gold.
We glide towards history and into Woolwich, once home of the largest dock in the land and now a water gateway giving us glimpses of historical changes. We walk for a while and watch the peak-hour traffic on the busy harbour. No sign of water rage. Only smiles and chat.
And now Cockatoo Island has us captive and captivated. We debate what to explore first: will it be the convict past or the maritime docks? The jury decides and we are sent to the prison. But we vow to see it all before we leave and everyone sparkles with delight of what lies ahead.
Parramatta River Ferry Service
From Circular Quay, No. 5 Wharf, Sydney to Parramatta
For Parramatta ferry timetable and pricing information, visit www.transportnsw.info