A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/potpourritravels/
Published November 3rd 2016
Fabulous ferries fill a fun day out
Our beautiful harbour city has much to offer when it comes to water activities. And if you like to be on it rather than in it, you're spoilt for choice. Crisscrossing our harbour is the most obvious and well-known thing to do, but here are a few other rides you may have overlooked.
The Riverboat Postman, Brooklyn Brooklyn is one of those quirky little fishing settlements about 45 minutes north of Sydney on the M1 which we often zoom past and forget about. Take the time to stop for a food or drink break, or better still, jump on this fascinating cruise. This 'daily commute' delivers the mail and small supplies to an isolated and mostly water-access-only community. Run by Hawkesbury Cruises, historic commentary and morning tea is provided (they make THE best Anzac biscuits I've ever tasted). Relax as you putter past Dangar Island and Bar Point, taking in the great Australian bush. This is one the prettiest places in the world. Departing Mon - Fri at 10am, call 0400 600 111 to book. Adults $55 Concession $45, Children 4 - 14yrs $15, under 4yrs are free.
TIP: Wear a hat and sunblock. If the wind is up it can get choppy so take precautions if you're prone to motion-sickness. www.riverboatpostman.com.au
Seven Islands Cruise Whilst tootling around the lower Hawkesbury River you'll be entranced by magic scenery, ambience, and an insight into the lifestyle of this water-side community. As you float past Lion, Dangar, Spectacle, Long, Peat, Milson and Bar Islands, the informative commentary will explain where and why the HMAS Parramatta - Australia's first warship - is now lying idle in the Hawkesbury River. Sit back, relax and enjoy a tasty morning tea, coffee, and bikkies, but save room for the fish and chip lunch - all served on board by smiling and friendly staff. This cruise runs on Sundays and bookings are essential. TIP: For a special birthday or fabulous Christmas day out, why not charter your own boat? You'll need a group of 20 or more. Phone 0400 600 111 or email email@example.com for prices and availability. www.hawkesburycruises.com.au/Seven-Islands-Cruise.html
view of the Hawkesbury River, image courtesy of their webpage
Fantasea Palm Beach Ferries This high-speed catamaran takes barely half an hour to transport you from Palm Beach to the Central Coast peninsula. Flit past Lion Island, and before you realise it, you're alighting on Ettalong or Wagstaffe Beaches. Quaint and quiet townships take you a world away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, but there's still plenty to keep you occupied. Ettalong markets, housed in a grand old historic building, are on every weekend. There is also a cinema nearby. After departing the ferry, turn left along the main footpath for an easy 5 - 10 minute walk. If you hop off at Wagstaffe beach, the surf is a few minutes walk over the hill, but bus services are limited so try and have family or friends pick you up and dine in the nearby suburbs of Killcare and Hardys Bay. Adults $22.60 return, Concession $11.40 return, Children under 5yrs are Free. Ph: 02-9974 2411 TIP: Fantasea picks up and drops off at The Basin. Hawkesbury River Cruises picks up and drops off at Patonga. www.palmbeachrivercruises.com.au
Palm Beach to Bobbin Head River Cruise Departing at 11am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and daily during the school holidays, the historic "Merinda II" carries you across the serene Pittwater and Cowan Waters. Riding on this 'old lady' of ferries is a treat in itself. This 50-foot timber passenger ferry was built by Norman Wright & Sons in 1983. The cruise travels past vast ridges of great Australian bush, and delivers you to Bobbin Head for a one-hour lunch break at the Marina Kiosk. The experienced crew share their local knowledge to make the tour both fun and informative, and you arrive back at Palm Beach at 3.30pm. Drive to and park at Palm Beach, or catch the L90 bus service from the city. Adults $40, Concession $35, Children $20, or under 5yrs are free.
TIP: Bring your own picnic basket and explore some walking tracks. You can also alight at Cottage Point Inn for a more formal lunch. www.palmbeachrivercruises.com.au
The Merinda II, image courtesy of their web page
Jacaranda Cruises That eye-popping purple you see dotted around the older suburbs of Sydney is the sprawling Jacaranda tree, filling peoples' backyards with carpets of mauve. During November cruâtipises depart from Wharf 1, King Street Wharf and complimentary morning tea is provided, along with a scintillating commentary of the history of the harbour. Graham Ross, a well-known horticulturist from radio and T.V., runs the tours and his passion and knowledge is both catching and captivating. Sadly, as the trees only bloom during November, if you've missed out this year, mark it in your diary for a great day out next year. Adults $69 Concession $63, Children under 12 are free. Ph: 1300 233 200 www.rosstours.com/jacaranda-cruises