Circular Quay to Manly, best ferry ride ever
Sydney ferries offer unrivalled flexibility and convenience for Sydney-siders and visitors alike. Definitely a must do while in this beautiful Harbour city is catch a ferry or two. There are nine ferry services from Circular Quay, the main ferry terminal in Sydney. It’s also the hub for buses, trains, the new light rail and taxi/ride share options, all ready to take you to the metropolis and beyond. Around the Quay, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, iconic pubs and the famous landmarks of Sydney, The Rocks, Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge to name a few. The exciting new Barrangaroo foreshore and precinct is also close by and well worth visiting.
All ferry rides offer spectacular views of the CBD and Harbour, sailing under the mighty bridge gives a whole new appreciation of its sheer size and structure. Out of all the ferry choices the Manly Ferry is the one not to miss, woven into the fabric of Sydney life, from regular travellers to tourists alike, you’ve just got to get onboard! It’s a relaxing journey taking 30 minutes one way with regular services until midnight.
Freshwater is the class of ferry operating between Circular Quay and Manly. There are four ferries namely: Freshwater, Queenscliff, Narrabeen and Collaroy. All depart from Wharf 3 (F1) at Circular Quay and terminate at Manly Wharf and vice versa. The Corso shopping area and beaches are just a few minutes walk away from the wharf.
There are two decks, main and upper designed to allow for double deck boarding and alighting with a 1,100 passenger capacity at 16 knots speed. Interior seating is modern and spacious having been refurbished. For outdoor seating, there are seats on both sides, front and rear which offer marvelous views.
The stern is the best seating area on the way to Manly as it passes close to such icons as the Harbour Bridge and Opera House and the bow on the way back. Other landmarks not to be missed are: Fort Denison, Garden Island, Clarke Island, Shark Island, and the Heads.
Sitting outside is my favourite place to be, with a long black coffee and sausage roll from the kiosk, taking in the sea air. As calm as the journey normally is, when passing the Heads even on a clear day, the water can get quite choppy to absolutely heaving! It only lasts for a couple of minutes but it can catch you off guard, so if your sea legs are rusty, it’s best to remain seated until the Heads are passed. Depending on the conditions, outside areas can be closed-off for safety reasons, some services can be suspended until the swells calm down, that’s how rough it can get.
The Kiosk is located on the lower deck offering hot and cold food and snacks and drinks. The recently added bar has been installed on the upper deck, which has a fine selection of 4 Pines brews, the brewery being a Northern Beaches local and a very fitting addition to the Manly Ferry. Unfortunately, at present both are closed until further notice due to current restrictions, lets hope that changes very soon!
Whether you sit inside or outside, you’ll be treated to unparalleled views. On the starboard side heading to Manly, check out the stunning waterfront houses dotted along the suburbs of Elizabeth Bay, Darling Point, Point Piper, Double Bay, Rose Bay and Watsons Bay. Small boats, colourful catamarans and wind surfers adds spectacle to the blue waters of Sydney Harbour, it’s magical!
Toilets are located on the lower deck including one accessible toilet.
Gaze out on the port side for views of Middle Head, Inner Middle Head and Dobroyd Head which form part of the Sydney National Park. These are perfect lookout spots over the Harbour. There are several popular walking tracks throughout the park, the Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk is spectacular and well worth doing.
The journey culminates at the Manly Ferry Wharf. A heritage-listed passenger terminal and recreational area. The are plenty of shops and restaurants inside and around the terminal.
How to get there:
Use the Opal card by arranging a tap on/off card at one of many outlets, and top-up as you need to. Single trip tickets are available from the ticket offices and machines around the wharf. As the Opal card is an integrated system, you can use all the public transport with ease, no hassle with coins!
Fares: ( Current pricing)
0 – 9 km Adult Opal Single Fare $7.60 / Adult Opal Fare $6.12 Child/Youth Opal Fare $3.80
9+ km Adult Opal Single Fare $9.40 / Adult Opal Fare $7.65 Child/Youth Opal Fare $4.70
From Circular Quay to Manly is $9.40
Fast Ferry Service
If you’re running out of time, the fast ferry is an option for a faster trip between Circular Quay and Manly which departs at Wharf 2. Only 15-20 minutes travel time, it moves! Operating 7 days a week from 6:15am until 9:25pm on weekdays and from 9:45am until 9:00pm on weekends and public holidays.
Adult $9.90 / Child (4-15) $5.90 /Family (2A, 2 C) $31.60