Sydney Harbour is bustling with activity. Ferries can whisk you to different parts of the city, sailing seems to be a national pastime, and when we ferried by, there was even a submarine floating in the harbour.
While you can pay an arm and a leg for a harbour cruise, we read that the nicest and most economical way to see the harbour is by taking a ferry out to Manly, a town on the north side of Sydney, right along the coast. The 30 minute ride was only 14 AUD (with return, as they say), and left from the Circular Quay (pronounced key), between the Opera House and the historic Rocks District, on which the Harbour Bridge casts a shadow in the late afternoon. We took off on a very sunny and warm day in Sydney and the ferry was packed with everyone enjoying the sun and the breeze. The sun reflected off the white and cream colored tiles of the Opera House and we got a glimpse of the historic jail in Sydney Harbour, which was their own, much smaller version of Alcatraz used in the 19th century. All along the harbour was a smattering of homes. But mostly, it appeared to be protected areas with high cliffs and public parks where people could enjoy a walk and a picnic, or sit and watch the waves pound against the sandstone colored rocks.
The harbour itself was full of outdoor enthusiasts. We watched what looked like hundreds of small sailboats race down the harbour. There were motor boats jumping the wake left by our ferry, and even pontoon planes taking off and landing. It’s everything you would expect on a warm summer day.
Not only was the ferry ride a wonderful experience, but the town of Manly was a nice little town with a fantastic beach to get even more sun and watch surfers, young and old, ride the waves! The walk from the ferry to the beach, just a few blocks, consisted of souvenir stores, aboriginal art galleries, ice cream shops, and take-away joints, serving mostly fish of numerous varieties. And, we even found a delightful micro-brewery, Four Pines Brewing Company, that served up a delicious pale ale and stout. In all, it was a great day to enjoy the sun, the surf and the beautiful harbour for around 15 USD, a bargain in the expensive land of Oz.