Monday, April 09, 2007

Sydney Harbour ferry ride

It's been many years since I've been on a ferry on the harbour, as teenagers we regularly caught the Manly ferry to the beach, hoping for a choppy sea as we passed the heads, bravely sitting outside being washed with spray while the oldies (that's me now!!) sat inside and complained.

So on a dull overcast Sunday afternoon, when we found ourselves at Circular Quay and our car parked across town at Darling Harbour, we decided to catch the ferry across.

Leaving Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW

Once away from the Quay, the ferry captain gunned it and we left quite a wake for the little boat crossing behind us.

Leaving Circular Quay, Sydney NSW

Darling Harbour is on the western side of the Harbour Bridge so we had to go under it, but also had a few other stops on the way, criss crossing the harbour to the northern side then back to the southern side.

Under the bridge

The scale of our bridge is only appreciated close up, and this was a great way to see it

Under the bridge

This is looking back from the north toward Circular Quay and the Opera House.
Under the bridge

The first stop after crossing the harbour is Luna Park, and just before it, under the shadow of the bridge, we pass North Sydney Olympic Pool.
When it opened in 1936 it was hailed as the "wonder pool of Australasia"
It has a lovely art deco fresco of dolphins and ...some sort of bird, which looks like a white cockatoo from the beak, but I can't help thinking a wading bird might be more appropriate, or a seagull? but I'm sure it's a cocky...probably with galoshes.
There is a little about the history on the North Sydney website
Lots of world records have been broken in this pool, but couldn't tell you which because I'm not into sport at all...

North Sydney Olympic Pool, NSW

Luna Park, North Sydney, NSW

The Luna Park site was used as a workshop area when the Harbour Bridge was being built then in 1935 the storage buildings were leased as an amusement park.

There is an interesting history of Luna Park on their website

The apartments behind arrived considerably later which hasn't stopped the residents from complaining about the noise.....gee, if you buy on top of a fun park you'd never expect it to be NOISY, would you???

Luna Park, North Sydney, NSW

After leaving the Milsons Point wharf we pass Blues Point with the controversial Blues Point Tower designed by Harry Seidler.
Last year the tower apartment block turned 40 years old and no other building in Sydney has been more despised or criticised, and what does Harry Seidler say about this criticism - quote:
"It doesn't worry me that people have criticised the building," he says. "What do you expect from illiterate people? They're insensitive and uneducated so why should I take that seriously?"
(I'm tempted to say 'up yours Harry' but that would only prove his point wouldn't it)

Blues Point tower

The Blues Point area of North Sydney was named after another controversial character, convict Billy Blue, who ran a ferry boat service across the harbour in 1831 - not a ferry as we know them today, he rowed his customers across, and continued to do so until in his 80's.
Old Billy Blue is a twig on a distant branch of my family tree, my gt.grandmother's first husband was the grandson of Billy Blue - I'm descended from her 2nd husband so can't claim old Bill as my own, but I've researched his history and have made a web page about him here

At this point we cross back to the southern side of the harbour, passing the mouth of the Parramatta River
looking up Parramatta River

A stop at Darling Street Wharf at Balmain East, then past Illoura Reserve at Peacock Point on the tip of the Balmain peninsular. Across the water you can see the triangular span of the Anzac Bridge at Pyrmont.

Darling Street Wharf,  Balmain East,

Peacock Point, Balmain

As we head into Darling Harbour, we pass the National Maritime Museum.
On permanent display is HMAS Onslow, an Oberon class submarine, destroyer HMAS Vampire, not sure which ship has the tall mast in this picture, it could be the Endeavor replica, the James Craig is usually here, but it was moored at another wharf this day.

National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW

As we pull into the Darling Harbour wharf, we pass the new Sydney Wildlife World, under this dome are housed 6000 furry, scaly, hairy and spiky creatures, all conveniently packed for the busy tourist, who wants to pat a koala, but not leave town to do it.
Sydney Wildlife World, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW

This is the busy side where most of the passengers leave, but we stay put and across Darling Harbour *again* (didn't we just come this way I ask, but he says not) and we leave at the Casino wharf, no one getting off here looks like a big spender, but I guess the high rollers don't arrive by ferry.
Our little ferry stays at the wharf just long enough for us to walk around and talk this shot of it starting the return trip:
Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW
Across the road to the Sushi Star for a good Japanese meal and home

1 comment:

Spike said...

Good post.