Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Australia & the Pacific (
-   -   Sydney Harbor Cruise (

Joycemf Mar 3rd, 2005 03:43 AM

Sydney Harbor Cruise
Will be with a tour group in Sydney which offers a two-hour harbor cruise for $26 (American). Is this a reasonable price or would we do better by booking our own cruise? Of course this would include transportation from our hotel (Avillion).

walkabout Mar 3rd, 2005 08:43 AM

There are different types of Harbour Cruises. Check or to compare prices($26USD is about $33AUD). I think your hotel is fairly close to Town Hall Station (train). Buses and taxis are available as well. Good luck.

Alan Mar 3rd, 2005 12:56 PM

Tha Avilion is in Liverpool Street, near the top end of Chinatown, which is about two blocks from Town Hall Station, where you can catch a train to Circular Quay(departure point for all ferries), a five-minute journey (or you could walk it in a half hour).

If, when you buy your train ticket at Town Hall Station, you ask for a Daytripper Pass, you will pay $AUD15. What's that, about $US10? This will allow you to travel as much as you like on ALL trains, all government buses and all commuter ferries (not the private "harbour cruise" ones) all day and up to 4 a.m. the next morning (however, the ferries don't run much past 10 p.m.).

The commuter ferries are a much better way to go than the Harbour Cruises, not only because they are a third of the price, but because you get to rub shoulders with some real Aussies instead of just more tourists, you get to plan your own route(s), you can cover places the harbour cruises don't go to, you don't have to pay for a buffet meal which (I have heard) is pretty awful, you don't have to listen to a commentary which you don't need (you know when you're looking at the Opera House, I'm sure!), and -- most important -- you can get off whenever you like and walk around at some of the nicer stops, like Manly, Woolwich, Balmain, Watson's Bay (you can have lunch there, right by the wharf, at Doyles, where Russell Crowe used to work as a waiter) and Mosman (you can even take the one-hour trip up to Parramatta by Rivercat, even though there's nothing very scenic after the first ten minutes). Some of the nicest suburbs in Sydney are right on the water -- just to SEE them from a cruise boat (and hear someone tell you their names) isn't as good as actually getting out and looking around.

You'd spend a lot more than two hours this way: in fact, you could easily spend the whole day. You can get a ferry to Taronga Zoo, which is always worth a look, and to Darling Harbour, which is also a nice place to stroll for an hour or two (and the Sydney Aquarium is right at the ferry stop). It would be perfectly feasible to take four or even five ferries in a single day, plus the train (or bus) from the Avilion to the ferry wharves... at fifteen dollars Australian, it's a real bargain, and is a MUCH better deal than the commercial cruises (which, let's face it, are really only after the tourist dollar, and charge what they think the tourist will pay).

If you're still sold on a commercial cruise, you can get one right at the ferry wharves: depending on the length, I think the prices (when last I saw them) were $AUD12 and $AUD18. This, of course, may be a different company to the one you are booking with.

Save money and go by ferry!

tropo Mar 4th, 2005 02:45 AM

Alan, well said, your advise on the Daytripper was excellent. When I lived in Sydney, we used the Daytripper tickets, and had a ball running all over Sydney Harbour, in fact, we found there weren't enough hours in the day, to do & see everything.

AndrewDavid Mar 4th, 2005 07:26 PM

Sydney ferries are great. We had a week long "Green Pass" I think it was that took us out to Manley by ferry and by bus almost to Scotland Is. ( you need a tinnie to cross the water).
We spent a lot of time hoping on and off the ferries. AndrewDavid

simpsonc510 Mar 6th, 2005 06:35 AM

One of my standard things to do in Sydney is to take the ferry to Manly and have fish and chips for lunch along the beach!

Neil_Oz Mar 6th, 2005 10:42 AM

Perhaps it says something for the ferry-fish-and-chips option that a few years ago an unscrupulous Japanese tour company was selling its clients an expensive "harbour cruise with lunch" option. What they got was a ride on the Manly ferry with fish and chips at the other end, but seemingly they got few if any complaints.

Alan Mar 6th, 2005 12:57 PM

Neil, I have a feeling that the principle behind this "scam" is still alive and well.... not two weeks ago, on this forum, someone asked for an evaluation of a day-trip to the Blue Mountains which included the usual Featherdale and Echo Point coach stops, but added, on the return journey, a stop at Parramatta and return from Parramatta to Sydney by "cruise boat". Now, my understanding is that the river between Parramatta and Meadowbank is so narrow and so difficult to navigate that ONLY the public Rivercat plies that route -- I have never seen any other vessel of size up that way at all. So I suspect that the Cruise boat supplied by the tour company is a nothing more than a one-way ticket on the Rivercat!

Really, you and I are missing a lot of great opportunities here. How about we open our own company and call it "Budget Bridge Climb". I'll sell tickets for $50 each and lead the tourists onto the Harbour Bridge (less than half the price of the "other" climb), and you bring a couple of step ladders for them to climb up and down every few hundred metres.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:30 PM.