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Cronulla and National Park Ferry Cruises

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by Lexa T (subscribe)
I love to unearth the layers of the story, finding the essence with my endless questions and what I sense. Enjoy the reads. Travel bondigirlmeets.wordpress.com travellingwithlexat@gmail.com
Published April 27th 2012
Sydney is world renowned for its numerous breathtaking waterways, Port Hacking in Sydney's South is assuredly the jewel in the crown.

Champagne cruising on Picturesque Port Hacking

You will find this gem just 30 kms south of the CBD. It is an easy one hour drive or hop a train on the Illawarra Line to Cronulla.

Dog walking on the sandbar


Port Hacking encompasses 11 square meters of pristine waterways; The Royal National Park flanks the southern and westerly side region providing the northern foreshore homes spectacular panoramas.

Champagne Breakfast Cruise:

A three hour cruise. Where is Gilligan?


The T.S.M.V. Gunnamatta lingers on Cronulla Wharf for its passengers to join her on a three hour Champagne Breakfast Cruise. A three hour cruise? hmmm the tune to Gilligan's Island sprang to mind. I wonder if we will end up on an island?

A glass of champagne slips into our hand by sociable crew members soon after we step on board.

The captain begins his 1 ½ hour narration on the history of the waterways, ferry services and national park as we slowly manoeuvre between the multitudes of moored boats.

Port Hacking is steeped in history, named after Henry Hacking a quartermaster on HMS Sirius, (part of the First Fleet) who informed George Bass and Matthew Flinders of a large river he had seen on a hunting expedition. Bass and Flinders set out in a 2.5 metre long open boat named Tom Thumb, exploring and mapping this estuary in 1796 on their journey along the south eastern coastline.

The Royal National Park is the world's second oldest purposed national park (after Yellowstone in the U.S.A.) Proclaimed in 1879 and in 2006 was added to the Australian National Heritage List
.

Three ferries service these waterways.

The T.S.M.V. Gunnamatta, a twin decked catamaran boasts a large open top deck with seating, perfect for viewing and experiencing the scenery. The enclosed lower deck seats around 40 people for meals and 80 for cocktails with unisex amenities. Gourmet meals, buffets and cocktails are prepared on board by a qualified local chef and is fully licensed with a well stocked bar to ensure you don't go without, maybe not enough If you get stranded on Gilligan's Island though.

Our Champagne Breakfast Cruise costs $55 and lasted three hours which I found stunning,
Capturing Port Hacking's true essence, nature's watery playground.


Sights of residents and visitors flaunting their fun on the water with fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, and long board surfing gave a twang of envy to their lifestyle. We even saw people walking their dogs on the sandbar which appears only on a low tide; local life is tough here. We were told the water quality is classed 'extremely good', unlike our heavy commuter waterways of Sydney Harbour.

Gone fishing - just hope he only lands small fish


An early morning paddle instead o jogging will keep you fit.

Residents wave as the boat cruises close and personal past the luxurious homes and boat houses.

You can't get any closer to the homes than this.


Just like one of those 'Hollywood Homes of Stars' tours, the captain directs our sights to the homes of various celebrities, including Ricky Ponting, Wayne Gardener, Tim Cahill, Glen McGrath to name a few. I must admit yet unsure why; I found it a little exciting gawking at their homes.

House gawking on the water


Wafts of bacon cooking began to rise to the upper deck, ahhh breakfast. With the sun glistening on the water, a slight breeze in our face, eating a big breakfast of scrambled (or poached) eggs, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms, hash brown, chipolata sausages and toast, life could not be better, your cares were miles away.

Big Breakfast on the water!


The captain ceased his commentary and allowed us to take in the sights to some cruzy music for the next 1 ½ hours as we drank our coffee basking in the sun and taking in the sights.

With our cruise coming to an end, my thoughts of returning were evident, perhaps next time we may end up on an island and live an exotic life.

Pulling up to Tonkin Street Wharf at the end of the cruise. Maybe next time we will be desserted on that island.


Sydney Harbour cruises have a lot to offer, yet I would recommend taking your interstate or overseas visitors on this cruise to illustrate the best of Sydney life on the water.

Regular three hour scenic cruises sail throughout the summer period.

Sunset Dinner cruises, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day and Melbourne Cup lunches at $60 per person.

Live music cocktail cruises sail for four hours at the end of each month departing at 2pm, playing 60s, 70s & 80s music, costing $45, I have heard it is a fun night of singing and dancing

This service has received several awards; including 2010 & 2011 Greater Sydney Tourism Gold Winner Awards and I can see why.

Cruises predominantly sail during the warmer months of the year, phone to check for dates.

Bookings are Essential.
Private charters also available for your events.

Other Ferries Servicing Port Hacking:
Curranulla is now the oldest commuter ferry in Australia working to a regular timetable servicing resident and day trippers between Cronulla and Bundeena costing $6.10 Adults, $3.05 Children/ concession , $20 family (2 Adults & up to 4 children) one way.
Curranulla ferry service to Bundeena

Purcasing ferry tickets. 60 year old leather money pouch and ticket holder.

M.V. Tom Thumb III (named after the explorers, Bass and Flinders boat) provides year round scenic cruises and occasional commuter services to Bundeena.
Tom Thumb III named after Bass and Flinders boat which mapped this estuary.d

Summer Cruises: September to May
Departing Daily: 10.30am returning 1.30pm
Departing Sunday: 10.30am returning 1.30pm & departing 2pm returning 5pm

Winter Cruises: July to August
Sunday – Monday – Wednesday – Friday
Departing Daily: 10.30am returning 1.30pm

Adults: $25
Children/Seniors/Pensioners: $20
Family: (2 Adults up to 4 children) $70

Note: there are no cruises during the July School Holidays

Phone and bookings: (02) 9523 2990
Web site: www.cronullaferries.com.au is a good read including timetables.
Departs: Public Wharf, Tonkin Street, Cronulla - a short stroll behind the train station.
Parking available: Signage quite visible.
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Why? To have fun in the sun, cruising on the pristine waters of Port Hacking
When: Daily ferry services. *Summer period or cruises *Phone for bookings.
Where: Port Hacking. Starting from Tonkin Street wharf, Cronulla.
Cost: $6.10 ferry to Bundeena to $60 for three hour cruise.
Your Comment
Great article Lexa. I can almost hear and smell the water. As an old Sydney "Westy" I spent my youth at Southern beaches like Cronulla and have fond memories of this beautiful area. On my next visit back to Sydney I think I'll have to try the Champagne Breakfast Cruise - sounds blissful!
by Geraldine Massey (score: 3|8072) 2396 days ago
The Gunnamatta has the most wonderful cruise that will please everyone. I have been aboard twice on their "Carols by Cruiser". The cruiser has room for 80 people and a live choir. As you sip your favourite beverage from the bar you are presented with plates of wonderful food all day by the same friendly staff mentioned in this article. And on the top deck the choir sing all your favourite Christmas Carols. The homes along the waterfront have parties waiting for the cruiser to pull into their bay and everyone sings along. On shore and on the cruiser and on all the fleet that follow the cruiser through Por tHacking. The Carols by Cruiser book out quickly so get in early and call The Port Hacking Royal Yacht Club. Tell them TCP Day Tours sent you.
by tcpga (score: 1|49) 2391 days ago
That really looks wonderful. The photos youve taken are great. It really does look like something wonderful to do on a quiet weekend morning.
by Jody Kimber (score: 2|882) 2394 days ago
It certainly looks relaxing, an awesome escape that's for sure.
by RC (score: 3|1221) 686 days ago
"Port Hacking encompasses 11 square meters of pristine waterways;" - I thought it was bigger.
Great article.
by Linda (score: 0|2) 500 days ago
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