Family fun


Ferries reveal all those family-friendly places around Sydney that you don't find in a guide book, a family friendly guide to the harbour told by Mark Champley


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Child at heart

Ferries reveal all those family-friendly places around Sydney that you don't find in a guide book, a family friendly guide to the harbour told by Mark Champley

I grew up in Balmain and back then you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone living there that didn’t have family working on the waterfront. Mine did.

My step-dad worked on the tugboats and my mum was an information officer. I’ve been with Sydney Ferries for more than 25 years and now three of my kids have started working for them. When I was growing up, going on a ferry was a real treat. I used to catch the Darling Street to Circular Quay ferry on Saturday nights to go to the pictures. I still remember the first time I caught one on my own. I felt so grown up.

I’d race to the front and stand stock still as it went under the Harbour Bridge. Then I’d look up and wonder about all those cars driving so high above me. It used to give me a real thrill. Ferries are the perfect entertainers when it comes to families. Ever hear a kid say they didn’t want to catch a ferry? Nope – me neither. I’ve got nine kids of my own now and the ferries have been a big part of all their lives. Sometimes we’d just catch one for no reason. We just knew we always had a good time on them. There’s that wonderful sense of freedom as a ferry cuts through the waves, throwing up spray, seagulls flying above. Kids are always trying to catch that spray when they’re on a ferry. You can see ’em praying for it. It makes everyone laugh – especially the big kids. Ferries reveal all those family-friendly places around Sydney that you don’t find in a guide book. All those little beaches and coves that you can’t see if you’re driving around in your car. And all those parks and playgrounds.

There’s so much more to Sydney and it’s the ferries that help you
discover it.
Mark Champley

They’re more than a means of getting to a destination. Yes, you don’t get caught in a traffic jam or have to pay parking fees when you get to where you’re going. But it’s much more than that. Ferries are about possibilities.

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