Manly ferry services

Manly ferry services (numbered F1) operate on Sydney Harbour connecting the Sydney suburb of Manly with Circular Quay in the CBD a journey of seven nautical miles.

Collaroy in November 2008
WaterwaySydney Harbour
OperatorHarbour City Ferries
System length2 wharves, 11.3km (7mi)
No. of vessels4 Freshwater class


Services to Manly commenced in the 1850s. Prior to the construction of the first Spit Bridge in 1928, retired passenger ferries were used as cargo carriers.[1] The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company operated the service until it was sold to Brambles Industries in April 1972 and the Public Transport Commission in December 1974. In the mid 1960s hydrofoil services were introduced to complement the traditional ferries.

In July 1980 it came under the control of the Urban Transit Authority, in January 1989 the State Transit Authority and in 2004 Sydney Ferries.

The Sydney JetCats high speed service, was discontinued on 31 December 2008 and replaced with a privately owned service operated by Manly Fast Ferries.[2] In March 2010, the government announced that that Manly Fast Ferries contract had not been renewed. Instead another private operator, Sydney Fast Ferries, was awarded a five-year contract from 1 April 2010.[3] However both operators have continued to operate services between Circular Quay and Manly[4] During 2014 Transport for NSW has put out a tender for a combined service to commence during 2015 [5] with Bass & Flinders Cruises, SeaLink Travel Group, Sydney Fast Ferries and Transit Systems responding.[6][7][8] On 13 December 2014, it was announced that Manly Fast Ferries had won back the rights to operate the service, with a new contract which commencing on 1 April 2015.[9]

In 2013, the traditional Manly Ferry was given the designation F1 as part of a program to number all lines of the Sydney Ferries, Sydney Trains and light rail networks.

In 2019, Transport for NSW announced[10] they would be retiring the Freshwater class as early as 2020, and replace them with Emerald Class ferries to provide more frequent services.


The Sydney Ferries network is operated by Harbour City Ferries. Route design, timetabling and branding of the services is managed by Transport for NSW. During the Summer Holidays, the Manly Ferry runs to a "Summer Timetable" which provides additional services to cater for demand from increased tourist numbers.[11]

Freshwater class ferries

The current Harbour City Ferries fleet of four Manly ferries are known as the Freshwater class and comprise, in order of commissioning, the MV Freshwater, MV Queenscliff, MV Narrabeen, and MV Collaroy, which were commissioned between 1982 and 1988. They were built by the State Dockyard in Newcastle and Carrington Slipways in Tomago. They are 70 metres (230ft) in length, 12.5 metres (41ft) wide, draught of 3.3 metres (11ft) and they displace 1,140 tonnes (1122 Imperial tons). Their passenger capacity is 1,100 and their service speed is 16 knots.[12]

They are powered by two Daihatsu model 8DSMB-32 turbo-charged diesel engines which each develop 2238 kW at 600rpm, and have hand-controllable pitch propellers. The hull and lower cabin area are of welded steel construction and the upper cabin and two wheelhouses are aluminium.


Circular Quay

Sydney Ferries services use Wharf 3 at Circular Quay for services to Manly. Wharf 3 is specially designed to allow for double deck boarding and alighting, lowering dwell time for ferries.


This wharf serves the suburb of Manly and is located opposite the harbour end of The Corso on The Esplanade. The wharf was designed to allow for double deck boarding on the "A" side of the wharf. The "B" side is used by Manly Fast Ferries for services to Circular Quay [13] while My Fast Ferry and Captain Cook Cruises Harbour Explorer use the Manly Hotel wharf also known as the East Wharf, just south east of the main wharf, for Hop On/Hop off services around Sydney Harbour with the former also operating a loop service to Darling Harbour.[14][15][16]

Local bus services depart from stands in front of the wharf to many Northern Beaches Suburbs.[17]


The following table shows the patronage of Sydney Ferries network for the year ending 30 June 2018.

2017-18 Sydney Ferries patronage by line[n.b. 1] [18]

Patronage split post-November

Patronage split pre-November




  1. Figures based on Opal tap on and tap off data.
    = Lines were extensively revised in November 2017:
    • F4 Darling Harbour was combined with part of F7 Eastern Suburbs to form F4 Cross Harbour
    • The remaining part of F7 Eastern Suburbs became F7 Double Bay
    • F8 Cockatoo Island was split off from F3 Parramatta River

See also


  1. Andrews, Graeme (1982). A Pictorial History of Ferries: Sydney and Surrounding Waterways. Sydney: AH & AW Reed Pty Ltd. ISBN 0589503863.
  2. NSW Transport and Infrastructure
  3. Ferry Operator Dumped The Australian 24 December 2009
  4. Battle to be the last fast ferry on the harbour Sydney Morning Herald 9 April 2010
  5. Fast ferry services Transport for New South Wales 4 November 2014
  6. Fast Ferry Service Contract between Circular Quay and Manly NSW eTendering 17 July 2014
  7. Opinions of commuters wanted on four fast ferry tenderers Manly Daily 12 November 2014
  8. Terry Dodd has each way bet on Manly fast ferries tender Sydney Morning Herald 3 December 2014
  9. Cheaper fares, more services and new vessels for Manly Fast Ferry customers Transport for NSW 13 December 2014
  10. O'Sullivan, Matt (4 April 2019). "Sydney's 'beloved' Manly ferries face prospect of last sailings". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  11. F1 Manly Summer Timetable NSW Transport Info
  12. Sydney Ferries brochure
  13. "Manly Fast Ferry timetable". Transport for NSW.
  14. "Manly Darling Harbour Loop timetable". Transport for NSW.
  15. Manly Sightseeing Cruise My Fast Ferry
  16. "Harbour Explorer timetable" (PDF). Captain Cook Cruises. 15 December 2018.
  17. Northern Beaches & Lower North Shore Region Map Transport for NSW
  18. "Ferry Patronage - Monthly Comparison". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  • F1 Manly at Transport for New South Wales
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