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Kitty Cats - New Look Catamarans

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by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane who loves exploring quirky places with my dog. Join me on my quest to find, experience, and share fun things to do and interesting places to go.Please like, share and subscribe if you enjoy the articles.
Published December 8th 2020
Get onboard the newest members of Brisbane's ferry fleet
Brisbane River has welcomed its newest water vessels, cutely named Kitty Cats, to service commuters and sightseers in their travels across the waters of South East Queensland's River City.

The History of ferry travel in Brisbane
Ferries have long been a part of Brisbane's travel landscape. The first steam ferry was introduced in 1860, motor ferries in the early 1920s and it wasn't until World War II that diesel-powered ferries began operating.

Fast forward almost 150 years and things got a whole lot faster. City Cats made waves when they splashed onto the scene in Brisbane in 1996, heralding a new era in water transport in Brisbane They pioneered the use of catamaran vessels, providing a comfortable and high-speed travel option to make the most of one of Brisbane's best assets, the Brisbane River.

Since that time, these sleek cruisers, which have grown to a fleet of 22 have become a preferred way for sightseers, curious visitors and long time locals to see and experience the river in public transport style. Well, now there is a new kid or should I say, cat on the block. Introducing the Kitty Cat.

What is a Kitty Cat?
A new evolution has seen a fleet of five Kitty Cats make their way to Queensland from Sydney to join the Brisbane river vessels in November 2020 after the wooden monohulled City Hopper ferries were taken off the waters and put into dock for an assessment and overhaul to meet safety standards.

Photo courtesy Brisbane and Beyond

While they bear a similar resemblance to the City Cats, the Kitty Cats are a smaller companion to the larger much-loved water vessels to offer cross river transport.

The largest of the City Cat vessels can accommodate 170 passengers while the Kitty Cats only have a capacity of transporting 60 passengers (36 seated, 24 standing) and are operated by a crew of one. They are powered by 2 x 184 kW (247 hp) Cummins QSB engines with an economical normal service speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) and a maximum speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph).

How will I know when one when I see it?

Kitty Cats have the same blue, yellow and white signage as the City Cats. They feature large glass windows for ample viewing of some of Brisbane best riverside buildings and prestige waterfront homes and a small, rear viewing deck to catch some Queensland sun or the cooling winds on your skin.

The Kitty Cats are faster than the wooden/timber hulled vessels but also a little noisier. Yes, they give a consistent look to the river crafts with a resemblance to the City Cats but I admit that I do have a soft spot for the gentle rocking of the wooden vessels which have spent years crossing the River with their wonderful old-world charm. Here's hoping they can be restored and re-join the fleet.

To jump on a Kitty Cat for yourself from Southbank to St Lucia or New Farm to Northshore, just go to the Translink journey planner for the complete timetable and maps with the nearest pontoon near you - see here (Please note that at the time of the introduction of the Kitty Cat, some changes have been made to the ferry terminal stops.

And you don't have to take the trip alone. Dogs are also now allowed on the vessels with some during off-peak times at 8.30am–3.30pm and 7pm–6am Monday to Friday and all weekend.

Photo courtesy Grace Grace facebook page

The guidelines for pooch travel require that:

  • dog be on a lead and wearing a muzzle or in an enclosed carrier

  • remain outside the ferry cabin (and on the lower level) and maintain control of your pet at all times

  • owners carry waste bags and clean up and take any mess the dog makes while on board

  • only travel with a maximum of two dogs at a time

    So whether you are going to work, finding a fun activity for the kids over the summer holidays or are proud to showcase our city to tourists, consider a venture on a Kitty Cat to see the best that Brisbane has to offer.

  • Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  79
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    Why? See Brisbane by Boat
    When: Check the Translink site for ferry timetables
    Where: River pontoon across Brisbane
    Cost: To get around zone 1 it is $5.60 per adult for a 2 hour ticket. So if you plan on getting a ferry to the CBD for example and you'll be a few hours it will cost $5.60 each way. goCards have a discounted rate.
    Your Comment
    Very informative article Gillian. It's something that should be on a visitors Brisbane bucket list .River cruises are great.
    by Neil Follett (score: 3|2879) 237 days ago
    I thought the kittys replaced the City Hopper, which was free.
    Also, puzzled by the dog photo which shows it not muzzled.
    by curri (score: 1|64) 236 days ago
    Good to see some mention of the Kitty Cats online. A group of us decided that we would like to have a ride on one to check it out so I went on line to try to find where it stopped and a timetable. Unfortunately I couldn't find either so I rang the Brisbane City Council who referred me to Translink. Unfortunately Translink didn't seem to know much about them either. I was eventually told that they stopped at all the same stops as the City Cats. So we walked to Mowbray Park to get on one. We could see one across the river, arrive at Sydney St from the city direction and so waited for it to come to Mowbray Park. But it didn't - it turned around and went back city direction. We therefore hopped on the next City Cat that stopped at Mowbray Park and alighted at Riverside. We asked about the Kitty Cats whilst on board the City Cat and were told that they didn't go all the way up and down the river. We did however discover that one of the Kitty Cats just keeps going across the river from Riverside to Holman St so we caught that one. Translink need to get their act together and publish information on-line and ensure that their call staff are familiar with the correct information
    by linda (score: 0|2) 235 days ago
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