I was chatting to my husband today about the ferries. (Yes, for once he actually read my blog.) And he pointed out I missed a few. The ferry between Paihia and Russell in the Bay of Islands was an absolute favourite. I’ve only been to the Bay of Islands (the far north of New Zealand) once, and I fell in love with it. (Almost 18 years ago – it was a shock to calculate that!) Being out on the water with all those islands at the end of summer (in what is often called the winterless north), was spectacular. Russell was New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement, and was our first capital. Now it is a small settlement (under 1000 people) and popular holiday spot. There is a car ferry – more of a barge – that we have taken too. The ten minute journey from the bush-covered coast across blue water to historic Russell was a treat, though we only needed the car to visit some relatives who lived out of the town. This reminds me that if overseas travel is out of the question for the moment, then we still have some wonderful options close to home.
And another major omission was the Manly ferry in Sydney. I rode this first when I was 17, only days after I had left home for the first time, on my way to Thailand. The ferries leave from Sydney’s Circular Quay, near a train station, and only a stone’s throw from the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and cross the harbour to the popular northern seaside suburb and beaches of Manly. The views from the ferry are wonderful, and after visiting the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, seeing them from the water from the Manly Ferry is a “must-do.”
Oh! And as I write this, I remembered the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. How could I forget it? Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline are best seen from the Star Ferry. The Ferry has plied its trade for 110 years. The fare is low (only about NZ$0.50c), the seating comprises simply basic planks, the wood smoothed and polished by millions of bottoms – 26 million every year, according to Wikipedia. On a hot day the wind cools through the open windows, you can hear the waves of the fragrant harbour (Xiang Gang is the Chinese name for Hong Kong) slapping the side of the ferry, and through the window you can marvel at one of the great cities of the world.
I wonder if I’ll remember any other ferries? I can’t imagine I will. But that’s what I thought a few weeks ago when I could only think of 4-5 ferry trips. Even if I do, I’ll take pity on you and refrain from writing any new posts on ferries. For a while, at least.*
* After posting this, the Husband remembered the Hong Kong to Macau ferry, and I remembered all the Bangkok river ferries. Doh!