Commuting by Ferry in Sydney is the Best Way to Start Your Day

by | Jan 12, 2018 | Expat Life in Sydney

Taking the ferry to work is one of the pleasures of living in Sydney as an expat.

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, and it's not a car.

It's a boat, in one of the most beautiful harbours 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 Sydney 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 by 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 a meeting that morning then that's going to suck because the ferry is definitely not fast.

In the evening, missing the ferry is something I would look forward.

That's when I would go to the Customs House outdoor bar to have a glass of wine. Then just sit there sipping my Aussie red, 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 a romantic memory 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.

Yes, your photos on your expat blog, which I encourage you do. I know, I know, it sounds like a huge commitment, but really, it's not. Not only is blogging easy to do, it's 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 in Sydney 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.

Starting from the beginning, even got the sign to prove it.
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 Frogmouths (that's a type of bird that looks like a muppet), and schools of fish below the wharf including schools of jellyfish.
Neutral Bay
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

Opera House Australia

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.

Sydney Australia Opera House

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.

The view from the wharf

Neutral Bay Ferry Wharf 4

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.
Sydney Commuters
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!

Circular Quay Station View of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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 Sydney Australia

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, 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.

End of the journey, Elizabeth Street and yes, more stairs.

Who needs to join a gym with all these stairs just to get to work?

Ready to Get Started with Your Move to Australia?

Australia Moving Checklist Download

Australia Moving Checklist

39 pages, packed full of resources you need to kick start your move to Australia. Plus invite-only access to my Private Facebook Group with over 2,200 members. The group is a great place to get answers to all your questions, from visa applications to moving with pets and schools. Join us!

Transferring Money to Australia from Overseas

Lock-In Your Exchange Rate

Did you know the Australian dollar is a commodity currency? This means the value of the Australian dollar is linked to the price of iron ore and other Australian exports. It also means that it's HIGHLY VOLATILE! When a good rate comes along, you need to be ready to jump on it and lock-in that exchange rate.

International Moving Companies

Have You Started Packing Yet?

No, not yet? Still got several months to go? Ok, but have you at least started thinking about what you're taking? Maybe even started a list? The truth is you don’t need to know what's going with you before getting your shipping quote. Why? Scheduling a shipment to Australia can take as long as 6 months.

Moving to Australia Banking for Expats

Open Your Bank Account

In 5 minutes or less, you can open both a checking and savings account BEFORE you move to Australia. There are only 3 things you need to get started.
1. Your passport and visa details.
2. Know where you're going to live.
3. Be arriving within the next 3 months.

*This link will take you to Commonwealth Bank of Australia's special accounts for newly arriving expats and migrants. Commonwealth Bank is a sponsoring partner of Sydney Moving Guide.

Hi, I’m Lauren.

Lauren Owner of Sydney Moving GuideAnd I’ve helped thousands of people from all over the world move to Australia since starting my blog back in 2009. You can read more about me here, but Sydney Moving Guide isn’t about me. IT’S ABOUT YOU. So, I have one question for you. How can I help you with your move to Australia? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to grab my moving checklist before you go.