Sunday 16th February 2014
I had decided while in Sydney on Saturday that I needed to take a trip on a ferry to see the harbour properly and Manly Beach seemed like a good place to go. I had also heard on the television that there was some kind of surfing competition going on, so why not head that way.
As soon as I was ready in the morning I set off for the train. I was in no rush so grabbed some breakfast in Starbucks over looking the harbour and used their free WiFi to catchup with the the news back home. I always find that a great way to start a Sunday, a habit I intend getting used to. The weather wasn’t great, constant, fairly heavy rain, but nothing like the storms in the UK which appeared to have got a lot worse since I have left.
There are 5 wharves at Circular Quay sending and receiving boats from all parts of the harbour. But unlike other places I have been, each is clearly signed detailing destinations, times and prices. The ferries are an integral part of Sydney’s integrated transport system, maintained and operated by the same people as the buses and trains. Tickets can be purchased for a single trip on a train or multiple trips on all forms of transport.
My starting point was Dock 3. As I arrived I could see that I had 5 minutes before my boat departed which was plenty of time to buy a ticket, get on board and find a seat. As the boat left the wharf I headed outside, braving the weather to enjoy the view, which was absolutely spectacular. The pictures I took really don’t do it justice as it was so cloudy.
The map above, which I really should have included in my earlier post, highlights the three main areas of interest during this trip. If you click on the map you should see a larger version. The green circle in the top left hand corner is North Ryde station, the start of all my journeys, very near which is the hotel that I have been staying at. The red rectangle is Circular Quay and the blue is Manly.
When you get off the ferry at Manly you simply follow what appears to be the main shopping street to the beach where the Australian Open of Surfing was being held.
There weren’t too many people on the beach when I got there but as the day went on more and more arrived for what was clearly a very important competition. I joined the crowds and watched for a bit, but to be honest it didn’t mean anything to me. What I saw were people bobbing about in the water and then occasionally riding a wave. Plus I could only spot the competitors by looking at the big screens and comparing that to those in the water. Either side of the designated competition area the general public were out enjoying themselves and I found this far better to watch.
One part of the proceedings which I did find interesting, but had nothing to do with the surfing itself, was the large drone that the camera crew had and was being flown over the surfers. Watching it take off you realise just how manoeuvrable it was and how great a tool for getting right into the action.
After lunch I headed back to Sydney. It was still reasonably early so I took advantage of a break in the showers and had a walk around the Opera House, up through the Botanical Gardens and past Government House before heading back to the hotel.
Having included my first map it seems I may have started a habit! This one shows Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The Rocks is the area to the left of the Quay.
I have also highlighted Wynyard Station my gateway into Sydney.