Service information for travelling by ferry
General travel tips
- Plan ahead before travelling so you have plenty of time to purchase a ticket and board your service.
- Avoid the crowds - consider catching an earlier or later service.
- On Family Funday Sunday ferries can sometimes get full or be delayed. Listen out for announcements or use the information Help Point on your wharf to access service information.
- Ask a Sydney Ferries staff member on a vessel or wharf if you have a question or are unsure about a service.
- See tips for travelling with children and prams
- Check if your travel plans may be affected by service changes or wharf closures by calling Transport Info 131 500 or checking the current service status, late breaking news item.
Parramatta River Tidal Information
Due to natural low tides in the shallow waters of the upper Parramatta River, some services between Parramatta and Rydalmere will be operated by buses.
The buses operate direct from the corner of Charles Street and Phillip Street in Parramatta (directly opposite the wharf) and from Rydalmere Wharf (located in the cul de sac off John Street). Travel time between Parramatta and Rydalmere is about 12 minutes by bus which is consistent with the ferry timetable.
You can find the monthly tidal notice on Parramatta River and Circular Quay wharves, and times are updated daily on the large variable message sign located near the boarding ramp at Parramatta Wharf. Monthly tidal information is also published in the current service status.
Safe boarding passes for Parramatta River services
On busy days Sydney Ferries may issue boarding passes to ensure safe boarding on Parramatta River services. These may be handed out at Parramatta, Darling Harbour and Circular Quay approx. half an hour before the ferry's departure time. Passes are not available in advance as they are used to manage actual numbers on the wharf for each service.
The boarding passes do not reserve seats; they are designed to safely manage large passenger numbers on the pontoon area of the wharves. Boarding passes do not replace your ticket, and you will need to buy a valid ferry ticket for your service.
Ask Sydney Ferries staff and listen for announcements to see if boarding passes are currently being issued for your service.
On some Family Funday Sundays, school holidays and special event days, services can reach capacity quickly and wharves can get busy. Where possible, Sydney Ferries will provide additional vessels and/or suggest alternative transport arrangements. Please listen out for wharf announcements or ask a staff member for advice.
As with all crowd situations it is vital that everyone is considerate of each other, particularly young children, the elderly and customers with special access needs. When your ferry arrives, please board in an orderly manner and follow any instructions given to you by staff.
Manly Ferry two minute rule
Due to the coordination involved in departing such a large vessel, gates to the Manly Ferry service close two minutes before the listed departure time at both Circular Quay and Manly to prepare the ferry for an on time departure.
Capacity on Sydney Ferries’ vessels
Ferries are licensed to carry a set number of customers. This number relates to the amount of life-saving equipment on board as well as vessel survey requirements.
If a ferry reaches capacity, the law prevents Sydney Ferries from allowing additional people on board. This means vessels may not stop at your wharf or customers may be left behind. Where possible, Sydney Ferries will provide a back-up vessel to pick up customers or provide alternative transport advice.
Bikes, boards, animals and food on the ferry
Please read taking belongings on public transport for more information.
Group and school excursion travel
Travel groups are welcome on Sydney Ferries; however Sydney Ferries is part of the NSW public transport system and cannot offer reserved seating to large groups. Large groups should plan ahead and allow plenty of time to arrive at the ferry wharf before the service's scheduled departure time.
You can purchase and collect Sydney Ferries tickets in advance (for groups of 10 or more). Tickets that can be purchased in bulk in advance include: MyMulti tickets, selected single ferry tickets and selected MyFerry TravelTen tickets.
Call our Group Bookings Office on 02 8113 3011 (7.30am to 4pm Mon to Fri) for a quote for your travel needs or visit Harbour City Ferries school group bookings for information and the booking enquiry form.