Taking the ferry to work in Sydney
Our second year of living in Australia, we moved to Kurraba Point located on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
Each day we took the ferry into the city and it was the best way to start the day.
Why? First off, taking public transport instead of driving in morning traffic takes away that everyday stress of just getting to work.
You’re not stuck in your car for 30 mins to an hour being ticked off by the drivers around you jocking for the faster lane or that a-hole that just cut you off.
Instead someone else is doing the driving but it’s not a car. Instead it’s a boat, in one of the most beautiful harbour in the world.
How good is that? Driver…check. Landscape…check. Honestly, even if it still takes an hour, all YOU have to do is show up and get on.
That’s an ace in my book. I can read or surf Facebook, or even better post photos of the Opera House that morning from the ferry. Got to make friends and family back home just a little bit jealous and hopefully encourage them to come for a visit.
But seriously? Is there a better way to get to work? Other than boat?
Ok, maybe helicopter but who am I? Batman?
Commuting by ferry in Sydney is like taking a mini harbour cruise every morning and every evening. You just can’t beat it.
Sure, if you miss your ferry and you have meeting that morning then that’s going to suck because the ferry is definitely not fast.
In the evening though, missing the ferry is something I would look forward to because that’s when I would go to the Customs House outside bar and get a glass of wine. Then just sit there sipping my Aussie red and thinking, this really ain’t so bad.
Secretly, it was one of my favourite things to do but I’m a people watcher. I’m very happy watching the small groups of friends meet up at Customs House before heading off to dinner or the confused tourists with maps and cameras in hand, wondering where they’re from, doing my best to catch an accent. But that’s just me.
Yesterday, my husband brought up our commute from Kurraba Point and it kind of made my heart sink a little.
Now we’re all about the train. Don’t get me wrong I love where we live, even have a small peek-a-boo view of the harbour from the kitchen but that ferry ride, well now it’s all romantic for me. Categorize with those memories of “remember when…” (slight head tilt).
One day, I don’t honestly remember when, my husband took photos of that commute, almost each step of the way. Now, I don’t have to rely on my memory because there is proof. Photographic proof of our commute. A wonderful trip down memory lane than that sparks more memories and more stories, and feel less distant.
The photos are below but what’s more important than our photos are your photos of your daily commute. Yep, your photos on your Facebook page from your expat blog which I encourage you do but, I know, I know, it sounds like a huge commitment. Really it’s a blog, not a novel and so easy to do not to mention fun. (BTW – If you do decide to blog while in Sydney, please let me know. I would love to read it.)
So here is some solid expat advice for you. Take as many photos as you can.
They don’t have to be from a DSLR fancy camera, just at the moment with your phone. Yes, I’m saying be that annoying expat or tourist taking photos of your coffee, the gelato at Circular Quay, the cockatoo in the Royal Botanic Gardens, your feet in the sand at Bondi Beach.
Don’t let those memories pass you by. Capture everything.
If you don’t want to post them on Facebook or Instagram then don’t, but don’t let that stop you. Take as many of those quick snaps with your phone as you can because one day you will want to remember. Even if you’re still in Sydney years from now, you will want to remember that first apartment, your first cold beer on your balcony, that crazy couple you met at the bar and will probably, hopefully, never see again.
Do it. Be annoy even if someone criticizes you for being soooo Ameeeric-can (and that will happen). Who cares? Shrug it off and take the photo. Heck, make it a selfie.
Ok, enough of my rant.
Here are the photos of our commute from Kurraba Point.
Commuting from Kurraba Point to the CBD
The photos below are from two different days as you’ll notice as one day had very gray clouds and the other day had more blue skies. Even with the gray clouds, it’s difficult to resist taking a photo of the Opera House.
Each time we sat on the Opera House side of the ferry. That’s pretty much the only decision we had to make in the morning. What side of the ferry to sit on, the Opera House side or the bridge side?
Kurraba Point, once part of Neutral Bay, is now it’s own suburb of Sydney. It’s a very small pocket suburb with a nice park right on the water that is frequented by locals only. Mainly because the park has no public toilet.
There are pocket views of the harbour all over the city.
I especially like walking in the city at night and seeing the harbour bridge all lit up through the buildings.
Stairs to Kurraba Point Wharf.
There are a lot of stairs in Sydney, all over the city. Some much steeper than others. The Kurraba Point Wharf Stairs were pretty steep and dangerous if trying to get down to the ferry in a hurry.
Kurraba Point Wharf
I’ve run down to the wharf to catch the ferry many, many times. On the few times that I’m early enough to enjoy the surrounding bay I’m always shocked by all the wildlife, right there less than a 7 minute walk from my front door. I’ve seen many Kookaburras, Tawny Frog Mouths (that’s a type of bird that looks like a muppet), and schools of fish below the wharf including schools of jellyfish.
Wait, schools of jellyfish? That doesn’t sound right. What do you call a group of jellyfish?
Anyway, the wildlife I’ve seen is just the start. My neighbour has seen dolphins, yeah dolphins, right in the bay. She’s also seen sharks, not a very big ones she assured me, and seals.
The front of the Sydney Opera House
After the Neutral Bay ferry stops at Kirribilli it’s off to Circular Quay. We sat on the Opera House side of the ferry. Of course if you sit on the other side of the ferry, you’d have a spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Some mornings you can see the bridge climbers making their way up to the top of the bridge.
Circular Quay through the ferry windows
Circular Quay Ferry Terminal
Even with stormy, gray clouds in the background, the Sydney Opera House is stunning.
This photo was taken from inside the ferry. You can just see the reflection of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the window just above the smallest sail of the Opera House.
Mornings, especially Monday morning, the vending machines can have very long lines. I was in the habit of buying my ticket in the afternoon. Since I had to take the train after the ferry, I got a MyMulti Weekly. You can read more about the different tickets here.
The view from the wharf
Or if you get stuck on a day with long lines at the ticketing machines, take some time to enjoy the view. There is often a cruise ship parked at the overseas passenger terminal. Some are very large and very impressive.
Circular Quay Train Station
Circular Quay station was one of the first stations to have free wifi. Nice to have to check email while waiting for the train.
Noticed how everyone is reading something or otherwise occupied. It’s not so bad on the train in the mornings. Usually pretty quiet especially if you commute after all the students. In Sydney, most school children take public transport to and from school making the train very crowded early in the morning.
Hey, that’s me!
The view from the train station is one of the best in the city. Almost directly above the station is a viewing platform. If you take the elevator that is on the east side of the ferry terminal, pass the gelato stand, it will take you up to Cahill Expressway. There is a walkway along the expressway the goes all the way across the bridge to Kirribilli.
Museum Train Station
Museum station kind of reminds me of a Parisian Metro Station with the same kind of tiles and retro ads. It’s not one of the busiest stations in Sydney which is nice to not be part of the morning or evening crowd.
My exit at the Museum station was Bathurst Street.
Here’s where I exited on my way to work but my husband continued on his way to the Elizabeth Street exit, taking photos along the way.
The train stations in Sydney can be confusing when you first start commuting.
They have many staircases and connecting tunnels. Commuting during rush hour will probably make it worse, just at first though as you’ll be use to it quick enough. The best thing you can do is go with the flow and give yourself some extra time in case you have to backtrack because you miss your exit.
It took me forever to sort out Town Hall and where I wanted to go. For about the first year I just went out the first exit I saw to get up on street level.
Who needs to join a gym with all these stairs just to get to work?