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How to See Sydney on the Parramatta River Cat

Jun 17, 2008
From Parramatta to Circular Quay, there is a really large river called the Parramatta River. Along that river operates the River Cat, a ferry that runs between Parramatta and Circular Quay.

The most common way to get from Parramatta to Circular Quay is by train. The train is faster, and much more regular than the River Cat, but in the end of the day it is a train.

I had some time on my hands, so I was not in any rush to get to Circular Quay and so I thought why not take the River Cat? So I wandered down to the ferry terminal and of course the first drawback is the timetable.

The River Cat leaves about every hour on the hour, as opposed to the train which runs between 3 and 5 per hour. But I had some time on my hands and I was not too far away from when the River Cat was going. So I waited around and jumped on it.

It is fairly inexpensive; it cost me 7 dollar 70 for the trip, which is fairly standard and not too expensive at all. So I waited around, I got on this River Cat, the first thing that I was shocked by is it is quite small.

It was a very personal experience; there was two guys working on the River Cat. They pull up at the ferry, throw the drawbridge across and on you go. And then you do not even pay until the River Cat takes off then they come around and collect your money for your tickets at that point.

I got on around at 5 o'clock, which is winter at the moment in Australia, so it gets dark quite early, so it was dark when I got on it. The entire trip takes just over an hour, you can do it by train around 35 to 40 minutes depending on the train.

There are some pretty interesting sights to see along the way; around 6 or 7 stops between Parramatta which is one end of the run and Circular Quay which is where it terminates.

The stops are all really little wharfs, they are little riverside suburbs where it pulls over, ropes up, puts the drawbridge out and 1 or 2 people would get on and off, very small, pretty quiet actually and some quiet little pleasant suburbs as well over there.

So you can take in those little wharfs and you have these people that get this little River Cat to and from work everyday. You can also see some riverside suburbs along the river, got its bushes and weeds on both sides, so you cannot really take it in too much, but during the breaks there is a lot of parkland, a lot of quiet pretty suburbs as well.

Definitely the highlight of that is the arrival at Circular Quay. You enter Circular Quay from the front of Sydney Harbour, from the mouth of the Parramatta River, swing underneath the Harbour Bridge, veer straight for the Opera House and take a right into Circular Quay, near the CBD. It is really spectacular.

Sydney Harbour is one of those icons, there is the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, but really the views do not get any better than going underneath it on the River Cat and then just having it there straight in front of you when you are in that River Cat.

So that is the Parramatta River Cat, obviously if you are in Parramatta and in a hurry, the River Cat is probably not the method of transport for you. It is a little slower and it is not so regular, but if you are not in a rush, it is definitely a far more scenic and pretty way to make that trip.
About the Author
Garry Searle has lived in Sydney, for 15 years. His podcast, The Sydney
Visitor, is the free authoritative guide to experiencing the sights and sounds
of Sydney Australia. To
instantly hear more inside information on visiting Sydney Australia, go to
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