Beyond the Wharf NYE Cruise Sydney

In 2015 for the first time in a very long time, I spent NYE out on Sydney Harbour I received two complimentary tickets from Beyond the Wharf for their inaugural New Year’s Eve cruises. I am a huge fan of spending time on Sydney ferries so was interested to see what they had planned.

What is different about Beyond the Wharf Cruises

These cruises are different from many NYE harbour cruises that are on offer in a few ways. For a start they don’t require a 5- hour time commitment, the ferries only go out for the actual shows meaning you are on the water for about 1.5 hours and they are also self-catered so substantially cheaper than the average cruise. 

To be honest, this was the main appeal for me. I don’t usually fancy the idea of being stuck on a boat for 5 or more hours just sailing round in circles eating what is often pretty average food and paying $500 and upward for the experience.

How we made a night of it

We decided to watch the midnight fireworks from the Rose Bay boarding as this wharf is easiest to reach from our home. I was working at 4 pm so rather than put together a picnic we headed to Rose Bay early for dinner and to watch the 9 pm fireworks from Lyne Park.

For dinner we ate at Club Rose Bay which is right by the wharf, the food was good, and the staff were lovely, I would certainly go back. We left the club after dinner to watch the family fireworks show at 9 pm in the park just outside but then went back for another drink before heading down to the wharf. We were lucky enough to win $200 on the poker machines after dinner which increased our celebratory mood.

A little before 10 pm we lined up with about 40 others for our 10.30 boarding time. With very little fuss we were aboard the Friendship, which was a fitting name because once onboard everyone was super friendly. There were plenty of seats as they only sell about half the capacity of the boat.

We headed to the back deck and sat next to a woman, Casey, who was visiting from the USA. We got to chatting and I asked her why she chose this cruise from all the ones on offer. She said she had read about it on the man called Sydney Expert’s site. I laughed out loud. It was the first time I had met a “reader” of my blog and it felt pretty good even if she did think I sounded like a man 😉

Paula Morgan

The cruise is BYO food and drinks but is alcohol-free so we decided not to bring anything on board. I think if I went again I would bring some non-alcoholic sparkling for a midnight toast.

So back to the review…

The highlights

  • no long lines
  • no waiting in line for hours to secure your spot
  • no badly behaved drunks
  • plenty of seating for those who wanted it
  • ideal for prams and the elderly
  • excellent view – right in the middle of the action
  • super friendly staff and a very skilled captain who got us a great viewing spot
  • 3 of the cruises leave from places outside the city so less crowd crush getting home

And the not so great

  • Alcohol-free
  • Limited public transport back to the city from some locations – the buses back to the city were all full with Watson’s Bay crowds by the time they reached Rose Bay so that was a problem for people who did not have cars. In the end, we took a bus to Watson’s Bay and joined the city buses there.

 A shot I took from the ferry

Taking quality photos from a moving ferry is challenging to say the least. I was pretty happy with this shot considering.

Beyond the wharf ferry

Would we do it again?

Yes! This is the test, would we do it again if we had to pay for it? Quite honestly if I wanted to be out on the harbour, I would choose this over a longer more expensive cruise even with the alcohol ban. The atmosphere was friendly, and they ferries were certainly not too crowded and we had a fantastic view.

Most of all I really enjoyed how easy it was, not having to spend hours lining up or waiting in huge crowds in the free vantage points for the action to start. Celebrate before you board (within reason because I doubt anyone too intoxicated will be allowed to board) and have some extra special nibbles on the boat instead. Next time I would probably bring a picnic to have in the park before as there was a great atmosphere and a good view of the fireworks.

How to book your own Beyond the Wharf NYE Cruise

This year Beyond the Wharf (Sydney Ferries) are offering cruises from four locations. The Circular Quay cruise stays in the wharf as it has a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from its berth at the Quay but the others will all be heading to different locations in the harbour.

Times: 9pm – Board at 7.30pm, Midnight show – board at 10.45pm
Prices: Early Bird tickets are only $125 for kids and pensioners and $150 for adults.
Locations: Circular Quay, Manly, Rose Bay and Kissing Point

For the record, I travelled as a guest of Beyond The Wharf but my opinions are my own, and I did not receive any payment for this review. 

Looking for something else to do this New Year’s Eve?

Not sure where to begin? Check out our Beginners Guide to NYE in Sydney for tips on how to plan your visit.

Need help planning your NYE in Sydney? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group where you can ask questions, read reviews from last year’s guests and meet a bunch of friendly locals happy to share their advice!

Sydney: Get Your Guide

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13 thoughts on “Beyond the Wharf NYE Cruise Sydney”

  1. Hi Jennifer The tickets will not go on sale until about the middle of the year if past years are anything to go by so do not worry. Sign up for their newsletter and also take a look at Manly Fast Ferry who have started offering this service too.

  2. We will be in Sydney for the first time and arrive on NYE! We are really excited about the possibility of being in the Sydney Harbor for the fireworks. What time of year have tickets gone on sale? I’ve tried their website for 2018/19 and all I can find is the 17/18 page saying “sold out.” We are hoping we didn’t miss our chance, but want to be prepared if it hasn’t come up yet.

  3. So sorry I have not responded earlier – it is probably too late now but I would choose Circular Quay for the view of the Opera House and Bridge. I have done the cruise from Rose Bay, and it was good, but the view was a little obstructed by other boats.

  4. Is this cruise same like SEA CAT 2 depart from Manly or SEAT CAT 1 depart from Darling Harbour. Both ticket for NYE 2017 is 275AUD.

  5. Hi Martin
    I am really sorry to hear about your guests experience on this cruise. I did the exact same cruise from Rose Bay last year about the Friendship and it ran really smoothly leaving the wharf on time and getting a great spot in the middle of the harbour just off Bradley’s Head. I had heard there was to be some acoustic music on board this year? Sounds like the ticket prices might have also risen too which is a shame. I hope you can take the time to share your feedback with them. Paula

  6. I had 3 x overseas guests in town for NYE this year and bought them tickets (missed the early bird so $720 for 3). I know things get a bit exxy on New Year’s Eve but this is still heading for serious money. They actually came home angry and disappointed. The Rose Bay ferry departed late after 11 and moored/drifted near shark island – that is a long way out of the harbour. Atmosphere on board was apparently one of disappointment at so much money paid for a non-catered half hour ride in a rusty ferry without alcohol and a fairly average view of the fireworks. I think they need to offer more or charge less!

  7. Hi
    I could see the Opera House from the Rose Bay departure but it was slightly obscured by a boat in front of us. From the Circular Quay option you would be able to see it. From the Manly departure you would have a similar experience to the Rose Bay one.

  8. I’m very excited I found out about this option. My DH and I will be on the Rose Bay Ferry this year. I like that it’s a shorter time on board and love that you confirmed less people, etc. Can’t wait!!

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