Day tour of Sydney and Brisbane Waters using public transport

Here’s a great way to use public transport to see a lot of Sydney and its surrounding using buses ferries and trains.  The trip leaves from Wynyard, which is a hub for buses and trains.

1st leg: Sydney to Palm Beach

Palm Beach is the farthest northern beach in the Sydney metropolitan area, and is one of Sydney’s better known beaches, mainly because it is featured in a number of TV shows, especially Home and Away.  You catch the L90 bus which leaves from Carrington St, Stand C at Wynyard.  It is a long trip, and takes one hour and forty five minutes, but the trip is quite memorable as you cross the Harbour Bridge, head along the Lower North Shore suburbs of Neutral Bay, Cremorne and Mosman.  You then follow Spit Road down to The Spit, which is on Middle Harbour and is one of the prettiest and most serene areas in Sydney.  The bus continues through Balgowlah to Brookvale, then up through the beach side suburb of Dee Why, after which you get some great views of Long Reef, Collaroy and past Narrabeen Lakes to Warriewood, Mona Vale and Newport, before following the road around the cliffs and dipping into the well known surf beach at Avalon, all the time getting great views of Sydney’s remarkable headlands and beaches.  From Avalon you drive along the shores of Pittwater, which is part of the Hawkesbury River until you reach Palm Beach.  Although the bus trip is long it is always interesting, and you really get to appreciate the beauty of Greater Sydney, particularly its magnificent waterways and beaches, vibrant, easy-going suburbs and natural bushland of which there is still plenty to enjoy.

If you wish to immediately catch the ferry to Ettalong you need to alight near the wharf on Barrenjoey Road, or else, continue on to the terminus and get t see Palm Beach proper and the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, then either walk back to the wharf, or catch a returning bus the few stops to the wharf.

2nd leg:  Palm Beach to Ettalong to Woy Woy  

The ferry from Palm Beach takes you out across the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, past Lion Island (when you see it, you’ll know why it’s called that.   This crossing can be a bit rough at times, but the views are quite delightful.  You soon know when you’ve entered the Brisbane Waters as the sea suddenly becomes a lot smoother and you are suddenly in civilisation again, although many of the homes have absolute water frontage, and are not your typical suburban house.

The ferry stops at the small village of Wagstaff before heading off to Ettalong, where it terminates.

Ettalong has a good, safe beach and if you visit on a weekend it has the largest undercover weekend markets on the Central Coast. There is a regular bus service on the 3 kilometre route from Ettalong to Woy Woy.

3rd leg: Woy Woy back to Sydney

Woy Woy is another pretty Central Coast town, which has several very pretty walks around the Brisbane Waters, and a much bigger shopping centre than is found at Ettalong.  Woy Woy attained international fame in the 50s, 60s and 70s for being the home of British comedian Spike Milligan’s mother.  Spike was so entranced by its strange name that he used to use it in his comedy skits quite often.

The reason for visiting Woy Woy is because it has a railway station with direct access back to Sydney, and because the trip from Woy Woy along the shores of the Hawkesbury River is absolutely stunning, especially as you pass all the oyster farms that can only be accessed by water.  Make sure that you sit on the left side of the train to more fully appreciate the view.  Also, the climb up from the small Hawkesbury town of Brooklyn is very pretty as it passes through dense bushland.

The train terminates at Sydney Central Station, where you need to change back to the suburban network to complete the two stops back to Wynyard.  Or, from Central you can make your way to anywhere in Sydney.

This trip will take you a full day to complete, and it is best to work out connection between the Palm beach bus and ferry beforehand, because all other connection are quite simple with regular services.

This is not a tourist trip as it just uses everyday local public transport; but if you do complete this trip you will appreciate why Sydney is considered to be one of the world’s most liveable cities.

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