Well, the next day of my self-guided tour of Sydney was going to take me to Cockatoo Island and Balmain, however for some strange reason I decided that I would go and visit the suburbs of Woolwich and Drummoyne before I wandered around Cockatoo Island. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake because it landed up that I really didn’t have all that much time to take in all Cockatoo Island had to offer. However, I will leave that for my other post because this is about the detour that I decided to take beforehand.
Anyway there are a couple of ferries that head out towards the western harbour. There is the River Cat, which is basically express to Cockatoo Island and then every stop to Parramatta, and then there is the Cockatoo Island Ferry, which stops at every wharf. Now, since I wanted to go to Woolwich first, I decided to take the slow ferry.
Well, when I say slow ferry, I do actually mean ‘slow’ ferry because I reckon it took about an hour to stop at every wharf (with the exception of Darling Harbour) between Circular Quay and Cockatoo Island. However the thing is that most tourists don’t seem to head down to this part of the harbour, which I have to say is a real shame because the western side of the bridge brings up just as much wonderful scenery as does everything on the East. Actually, it seems that the tour operators only go as far as Darling Harbour and that is it.
So, my first stop was Woolwich, which is a small suburb on a peninsula jutting out of the Sydney’s North Shore, opposite Cockatoo Island. Anyway, before I continue, it would probably be a good idea to show you, on Google Maps, where I happened to be at the time:
One thing you will notice about Sydney is that it is a city of waterways. Okay, the waterways tend to occur closer to the coast, but due to it not being all that flat you will find a number of large waterways protruding into the city, the largest of them being Port Jackson, otherwise known as Sydney Harbour. This makes getting from one side of the city to the other a little difficult, and as such the ferry is a legitimate (albeit slow) way to travel. Thus it is not surprising to find that people who live close to the harbour will actually commute to the city daily by ferry. Obviously that makes things a little difficult when there is rough weather, but having spoken to a Sydney-sider about this I was informed that that rarely happens – Sydney harbour, even in the stormiest of weather, is actually pretty calm. If there is one ferry that would get shut down and that is the Manly Ferry, but that is because it passes the heads.
So, I got off at Woolwich and decided to have a look around – not that there is all that much to see – namely really expensive houses with harbour views. Sure, living in one of those houses might be nice, but I guess this meme sums everything up perfectly:
Okay, there are some houses in Sydney that I would like to own, but that would be those small terrace houses in the inner city. However they would not be houses like these:
Okay, I’m sure that there are people out there that would, it’s just that I wouldn’t be one of them.
Anyway, I made my way to the top of the bluff to discover that the pub was closed, so instead I went for a walk around the park, and found this old boat dock.
It used to be a dock for much larger ships, particularly since Cockatoo Island used to be a shipyard, but as you can see with the decline of ship building activity on Sydney Harbour, this place has been transformed into a place for rich people to park their boats. Mind you there are a lot of boats anchored out in the harbour, so I suspect that those boats are for people that can’t afford to park their boats in a dock.
Well, it was still some time before the slow ferry arrived back at the dock, so I went and walked around the park (particularly since the pub was still closed) and had a chat with my friend on the phone about our new Prime Minister. While I was talking to him I did manage to take a few more photos.
There was also a cafe up here, but for some reason I didn’t go and check it out – probably because I suspected that it was also closed. Anyway, I made my way back down to the ferry wharf, but the ferry was still a little way off, so I continued to explore. Well, not really because I ended up sitting down in the little park next to the wharf to read my book. I did go and check out the water, namely because I am always interested if a body of water is salty or not – it is, but I did discover something else; hidden in the trees was this old dingy. I suspect it is actually owned by one of the people that have their boats anchored out in the harbour, meaning that they don’t have to go for a swim to get to their boats.
Well, the ferry finally arrived, so I jumped on board and jumped off again at Cockatoo Island – namely because it was the end of the line. I didn’t have to wait all that long though because shortly after the ferry left the river cat arrived to take me across the harbour to Drummoyne. I’m still not sure why I actually went to Drummoyne – it probably had somebody to do with because I could.
So I got off of the ferry and one of the first things that I noticed were a couple of people sitting on the wharf dangling fishing lines into the harbour. It seems that where ever there is a large body of water there will be people with fishing lines. Okay, it’s not exactly illegal to fish from the ferry wharves, just not in the path of the ferries (though some of them outright ban it). Sometimes I wonder about fishing though because people just seem to sit there for hours on end, doing absolutely nothing but watching a line and waiting for it to jiggle – I’m way too impatient to fish alone. I would compare it to playing pokies, but unlike pokies it is a lot cheaper, and can be a lot more rewarding.
Anyway, as I am prone to do, I noticed that the river cat heading in the opposite direction was waiting to dock at the wharf, so I made a video of it.
So, after saving another video that I eventually uploaded to Youtube (though for a bit I thought that I may have lost it – it turned out that I moved it before uploading it), I decided to head off into the suburb that happens to be Drummoyne. Well, it was a little different to Woolwich (and technically it is on the southern shore) namely because there are a lot more apartments. I remember when I was younger, having run away to Sydney for two weeks, doing some charity collecting. While I have no trouble picturing the place I was working, I still have a lot of difficulty remembering the location – though come to think of it I believe it was Drummoyne.
Well, I made my way up to the main road, and having noticed that the credit in my Opal Card was running low, decided to top it up. Big mistake. As it turns out if you take a certain number of trips, or spend a certain amount of money, in the week the rest of the time it is free. As such I ended up with $50.00 on this Opal Card that I wasn’t going to use. Mind you they make it incredibly difficult to actually get the money back (unlike Brisbane where you can cash the card in before you leave). I’ve got to post it back sooner or later, but I suspect they work on the ‘I can’t be bothered’ principle (namely it is too much of a headache to get the money back, so you don’t bother making the request and end up writing it off).
Once I was on the main road I decided to walk along it for a bit, and fortuitously I managed to find a pub that was open. It was pretty quiet, but also had a really nice beer garden out the back (as well as a pool room which was called The Library – and it even had books on shelves). However what did catch my attention was the old post office across the road.
So much for Drummoyne. Anyway, the ferry back to Cockatoo Island was arriving shortly so I decided to turn around and make my way back to the wharf. At least I could spend a little time exploring that place.
A Drummoyne Detour by David Alfred Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.