Train to Woy Woy and ferry to Davistown for lunch

Davistown is a small, peaceful, and picturesque Central Coast village. It can be accessed by train from Sydney to Woy Woy and then by ferry to the Davistown Central Wharf which is near the village shopping centre.

There is also a bus service from Gosford. The timetable is at:

Train services from Central to Woy Woy run every half hour. This is an Opal service, no bookings are required. The timetable for the train from Sydney Central to Woy Woy is at:

The most enjoyable and quickest way to Davistown is by ferry from Woy Woy. The ferry service runs seven days a week, but since you’re heading to Davistown for lunch, may I suggest either the 10.45 a.m. or the 12.30 p.m. service from the ferry wharf at Woy Woy. Both of these services run seven days a week. The wharf is a five-minute walk north of Woy Woy station.

The ferry service is run by Central Coast Ferries. Their timetable and fares are at:

Unfortunately, they don’t accept Opal cards, but have EFTPOS facilities on board and accept cash.

You’ll arrive at Davistown Central Wharf. The village of Davistown is across the reserve – a two-minute walk from the wharf. In the centre of Davistown is a cafe named The Little Teapot specialising in tea, cake and sandwiches. They also specialise in creating cosy spaces and have a pleasant outdoor dining area. If you enjoy high tea, this is the cafe for you.

If you’re looking for something more substantial and a glass of vino or cold beer, there’s the Davistown RSL. I can vouch for this club, they have excellent dining facilities and a great selection of lunches.

The club is about a kilometre or two from the wharf, but the club provides a free shuttle bus service to and from the wharf. All you need to do is tell the ferry captain, who also sells you your ticket, that you are heading to the club for lunch. He’ll then call the club, and the shuttle bus will be waiting at the wharf when you arrive. The ferry trip from Woy Woy to Davistown takes 25 minutes.

If you have lunch at the club, try to leave yourself an hour or a half at the waterfront to have a walk and look around before the ferry arrives to take you back to Woy Woy and train back to Sydney.

Enjoy your day on the Central Coast. Don’t forget to take your camera.

Sydney Day Trip: Train to Woy Woy for fish’n’chips at Fishermen’s Wharf

Getting Woy Woy is easy. No timetables or bookings are needed. A train leaves for Woy Woy from Central every half hour, between the hours of 05:00 am and midnight, seven days a week. The same for trains from Woy Woy to Central. If you use your Gold Opal card, the return trip will only cost you $2.50. The travel time to Woy Woy from Central is a little less than one hour and fifteen minutes. Here’s the timetable.

Once you depart Central the train whizzes through the suburbs and makes a stop at Strathfield, Epping and Hornsby. The train then climbs through into Cowan and descends down into the little town of Hawkesbury River, then across the Hawkesbury River bridge and runs along the shore of Mullet Creek into Woy Woy. It’s one of those trips where you just start to enjoy the scenery and bingo, the train arrives at your destination.

If you enjoy water views, grab yourself a window seat on the right-hand side of the train.

The Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf is just a couple of minutes’ walk north of Woy Woy station. Once you alight the train at Woy Woy, you will see Brisbane Water just ahead, so head in that direction. There is only one exit from the station.

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The people at the Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf have a long history in the seafood business and are experts at cooking fish and chips. Furthermore, their prices are reasonable. Mullet or blackfish and chips start at just $9.90 in the takeaway section of the restaurant. There are usually about five or six varieties of fish available, ranging up in price. It’s a simple system, you choose your fare, order, pay and you’re given a number which is then called when it’s ready. In the meantime, find yourself a table and seats. If you want a more upmarket atmosphere, there’s a restaurant at the front of the building overlooking the water.

Lunching at the take-way section of Fishermen’s Wharf is sometimes like lunching in a restaurant inside a bird sanctuary. Seagulls, pigeons and ducks wander in looking for anything edible. Often a mother duck will waddle in with her brood in tow all in search of some hot chips. They appear unfazed by the human beings in their company and more concerned about being pecked or chased off by their competition – the pigeons and seagulls. A sign asks the patrons not to feed the birds. But you will know when someone accidentally does drop a chip to the floor as all hell breaks loose as they all rush in for the prize. Fortunately, the pelicans don’t venture in among the tables but prefer to hang out on the grassy patch near the restaurant.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, around 3 pm, local conservationist, Wendy Gillespie comes down to the Fishermen’s Wharf to feed and to give a talk about them. Wendy has been working for the last 20 years on the conservation of aquatic birds, particularly pelicans who suffer from getting tangled in and swallowing fishing lines and hooks. The pelicans know of her impending arrival and a large pod waits patiently for Wendy to arrive. The fun really starts, and all hell breaks loose, when a bucket of fish heads and bones are bought out.

More information about Wendy Gillespie and Sunday afternoon at the Fishermen’s Wharf at:

Enjoy your day at Woy Woy.

Day Trip: Sydney to Millthorpe by train for lunch

Most of the articles I write here in Card Hacks are devoted to saving money. But for a change here’s an article on how to spend some of that money you’ve saved. This is a simple article on how to catch a train to a pretty little country town in the N.S.W. Central West and have lunch in an excellent restaurant. How simple and pleasurable can life be?

The heritage-listed village of Millthorpe lies between Orange and Blayney. The town was once a major potato and pea growing area that supplied the Sydney market. Today the beautiful and historic bluestone buildings accommodate a selection of art galleries, antique, craft and gift shops, cafes and restaurants.

Our favourite restaurant in Milthorpe is Tonic on the corner of Pym and Victoria Streets. We’ve been there once for dinner and it was excellent.  I can thoroughly recommend it for dinner and lunch. A set menu of 5 courses for $80 is served. They’re open for dinner Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

We dined there on a Saturday evening. I booked a table for two at 6 pm. On arrival at Tonic, the restaurant was empty. A waitperson showed us to our sparkling white, tableclothed table with imaginative cutlery and shiny wine glasses. We sat down, studied the menu and ordered a bottle of Chardonnay Pinot Noir produced at a local Orange vineyard.

We’d taken just a few sips of our sparkling wine and the first course arrived – a delicious chicken and pork terrine. The restaurant is in a beautiful old building with high ceilings with a  quiet wooden floor – like all restaurants should be. There was soft chatter amongst our fellow diners who’d arrived after us. Time disappeared, all the tables were now taken – the restaurant was full. The waitpeople moved effortlessly between the tables. Everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves – even the culinary artists in the kitchen, who were visible from the tables. Four more courses arrived in perfect succession. It was summer and the temperature was cool and comfortable in the restaurant after a hot day. But the restaurant was still warm enough to cause our whole bottle of wine to evaporate. Before we knew it, the evening had come to an end. We headed over to the kitchen and thanked them for a fantastic dining experience.

You’ll need to book a table. Tonic is popular! Call 02 6366 3811 for bookings. Tonic has a website at 

Sydney to Millthorpe and return by train

Although it’s a long way to Millthorpe and back in a day it will be a memorable day. You’ll sleep well when you get home. If you’re like me, you’ll probably sleep all the way home on the train 🙂

There’s a daily train service from Sydney to Millthorpe and back.

The train leaves Central at 07:19 each morning and arrives at Millthorpe at 11:48. Tonic restaurant is a five-minute walk from the railway station.

The return train leaves Millthorpe for Sydney at 16:11 and arrives back at Central station at 20:48.

You’ll need to book your trip at or call 13 22 23. Have a credit or debit Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Diners Club card ready. Also if you have a Seniors card – don’t forget that for your half-fare discount.

The full timetable for the journey is at

Accommodation in Millthorpe

If you deceide to spend the night in Millthorpe here are a list of hotels on

We stayed at the Millthorpe Motel – highly recommended. The room was modern, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The owners of the motel did their very best to make our stay as comfortable as possible.

Enjoy your trip.

Lampshades at Galvanised at Millthorpe

Sydney to Katoomba by ferry and train.

The train ride to Katoomba is always a guaranteed fun day out. But you can add a bit more fun by first catching the ferry to Parramatta, then the train from Parramatta to Katoomba, and finally the local bus from Katoomba to Echo Point to view the famous Three Sisters. If you’re a Gold Opal cardholder, the whole trip will only cost you $2.50.

Circular Quay to Parramatta Wharf

Here’s the timetable for the Circular Quay to Parramatta ferry service. The service is an Opal service and runs every hour from the first service in the morning at 06:47 until the last service in the evening at 18:25.

The trip takes between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes, depending on the number of stops.

Parramatta Wharf to Parramatta Railway Station

On arrival at Parramatta Wharf, you’ll find a taxi stand out front and a bus stop across the street on the corner of Phillip and Charles Streets.

The distance from the wharf to Parramatta station is 1.3 km. It would take about 10 to 15 minutes to walk to Parramatta station. Or just a few minutes in a taxi.

The bus stop sees a regular supply of buses heading to Parramatta station, as it’s a stop on seven routes. There’s a timetable at the bus stop, which should give you a good idea of when the next bus will arrive.

Parramatta Railway Station to Katoomba

Trains leave Parramatta station for Katoomba every hour, sometimes half-hourly, seven days a week. So you shouldn’t have long to wait for the next train.

If you do have time up your sleeve, there are plenty of cafes around Parramatta station for a morning cuppa.

Here’s the Blue Mountains Line timetable.

Katoomba to Echo Point and the Three Sisters

The train from Parramatta to Katoomba takes a little over an hour and a half.

On arrival at Katoomba, you’ll find a taxi rank near the station, as well as a bus stop just up the main street, out front of the Carrington Hotel. You can’t miss it as you can see it from the station. From there, Opal service buses run to Echo Point. The route number is 686. Here’s the timetable for Katoomba to Scenic World via Echo Point (Loop Service)

During the week, the service runs every half hour, but on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, it runs every ten minutes.

Happy travelling.

Featured image of the Three Sisters, Katoomba by Norma Whitfield

Katoomba bound train
train arriving at Coal Cliff station

Day Trip: Sydney to Wollongong, across to Moss Vale and back to Sydney

This day trip from Sydney has to be one of the best. It takes you by train down through the Royal National Park, then onto views of the ocean as it passes through Stanwell Park and Coalcliff on its way through to Wollongong.

From Wollongong you change for a coach which takes you up to the little town of Robertson on the Illawarra escarpment and then across to Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands. You’ll have time for a bite to eat here and then catch the train back to Sydney. All in a day.

The cost for Gold Opal Card holders is $2.50 for the whole day.

Sydney to Wollongong

Catch the Opal service with the destination Kiama that leaves Bondi Junction station daily at 09:13 Town Hall station at 09:24 and Central at 09:27. Alight at Wollongong, where the train should arrive at 11:00. If you want more time in Wollongong, catch an earlier train. There’s one that leaves Bondi Junction at 07:59. The full South Coast Line timetable is at

Wollongong to Moss Vale

You’ll find the coach waiting for you at the entrance to Wollongong station. The service number is 754 with the destination Moss Vale. The departure time is daily at 11:30. Tap on using your Opal card as you board the coach. The full Wollongong to Moss Vale timetable can be found at

The coach will take you up through the Macquarie Pass to the small town of Robertson and then on to Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands.

Arrival at Moss Vale is at 13:05. Don’t forget to tap off before you alight the coach.

Moss Vale to Sydney

There is an Opal service every hour from Moss Vale back to Sydney M-F up until 8pm in the evening. Trains leaving around the arrival of the coach from Wollongong are (M-F) 13:06, 14:02, 15:06 and 16:07. The trip back to Central on any of these services takes approximately two and a half hours.

This gives you plenty of time for lunch in Moss Vale. Here’s a map of cafes close to Moss Vale station.

Since you don’t have to drive home, for those who enjoy a glass of vino or beer with their lunch, the Moss Vale Hotel is a short walk from the station. I’ve not eaten there (yet) but from the pictures on their website, it looks like a great place to be on a wintery afternoon in the beautiful Southern Highlands.

Porterhouse Bistro – Moss Vale Hotel

Coles is also close by.

Here’s the timetable for Opal services to get you back to Sydney

Enjoy your day out.

Photo by Dana Cetojevic from Pexels. Image of coastline near Stanwell Park and Coal Cliff NSW
Photo by Dana Cetojevic from Pexels of the Illawarra coastline between Coalcliff and Stanwell Park
Catherine Hill Bay wharf

Sydney to Catherine Hill Bay by train and bus

The history of Catherine Hill Bay revolves around coal, shipping and engineering. For anyone with even the slightest interest in the history of New South Wales, a visit to Catherine Hill Bay is a must.

I could start a ten-page rave about the history of Catherine Hill Bay and why the old jetty should be saved, but I leave that to Wikipedia on Catherine Hill Bay – I’ll just stay with what I came here for – how to get there by public transport.

If you possess a Seniors Card the return trip is just the regular day Opal fare of just $2.50. If you’re on an Opal (full fare) adult cardholder the fare is a few more dollars.

Unfortunately, there is no bus service to Catherine Hill Bay on Sundays or public holidays, and a limited service on Saturdays.

The trip starts out from Sydney Central aboard the regular (M-F) Opal service from Central to Newcastle Interchange, departing Central at 05:45.

Alight at Wyong where the train arrives at 07:34. When you tap off with your Opal card and exit the station you’re at the bus stop – right out front of the station.

The bus to catch from here is bus number 80 to the Lake Haven Shopping Centre, Lake Haven.  The timetable for Wyong station to Lake Haven

On arrival at the Lake Haven Shopping Centre change here for bus number 99 with the destination, Swansea. The timetable for Lake Haven to Charlestown and Swansea

After a 30-minute bus ride, you’ll arrive at Catherine Hill Bay. The first bus stop in Catherine Hill Bay is out the front of what is known by the locals as the “Catho Pub” or The Wallarah Hotel. Alight here.

The pub serves meals 7 days a week. It’s the closest and most convenient establishment to have lunch if you’re traveling by public transport. So if you’re looking forward to lunch, I’d suggest you alight here and check out their menu. After that, it’s an easy walk down the hill to the beach past all the old workers’ cottages.

On arrival at the beach, you’ll see the famous Catherine Hill Bay Wharf to your right. You’ll also almost certainly find the lifeguards of the Catherine Hill Bay Surf Club on duty.  The beach is beautiful, so if it’s summer, pack a swimsuit for a dip.

At the front of the Surf Club, there’s a large board with the history of Catherine Hill Bay. There is a road behind the club that once lead to the jetty. But now the jetty is blocked off from the public. You can now only walk as far as the barrier.

The barricade to the Catherine Hill Bay jetty

The entrance to the Catherine Hill Bay jetty is now blocked to the public.

Once you’ve visited the beach, walk back up to the pub for lunch. For your departure from Catherine Hill Bay, you can use the same bus stop out front of the pub to catch bus 99 departing at 13:28, north, through to Charlestown Square where you’ll arrive at 14:11. Be careful not to miss the bus as if you view the timetable you’ll see there are only a few services a day.

A miners’ cottage in Catherine Hill Bay. This cottage (named Catho Cottage) is available for rent for holiday accommodation. Click on the image for more details.

Charlestown Square is the largest shopping mall in the Newcastle area so there are numerous buses heading through to the Newcastle Interchange where you find trains departing back to Sydney every half hour.

Enjoy the round trip to the historic location. Be sure to check all your departure times from the timetables in case of any changes before setting out.


Sculpture by the Sea 2018: Getting there and back using train, buses and ferry

The coastal walk from Bondi Beach south along the coast to Tamarama, not only is a popular fun scenic walk by itself but add a sculpture exhibition along the way and you have yourself a Sydney “must do” not just once, but every year. As each year it gets better. I’ve done it since it started and wouldn’t miss it each year, it’s such a fantastic event. Add lunch in a Bondi Beach restaurant at the end of the walk, then a bus/ferry ride back to the city and you’ve got yourself a perfect day away from the office – if you live in an office, that is.

Unless you’re driving, the normal way to the event is to catch the train to Bondi Junction and then change for a bus to Bondi Beach. Back in 2017, everyone had the same idea to get to Bondi Beach causing a massive queue waiting for the bus at Bondi Junction. Fortunately, in 2018 extra buses were rostered throughout the event, which solved the problem.

This year (2018) we also caught the train to Bondi Junction and changed there for bus number 381 to Tamarama. Here’s the timetable for the Bondi Junction to Tamarama bus service.

We picked midweek, a Wednesday for our visit. Overnight a fresh southerly had blown up. The morning was grey and Sydneys temperature for the day was forecast to be a little cooler than Hobarts. Plus a 90% chance of rain. Ah, we’ll be the only ones there, we thought. We’ll have the whole walk to ourselves, so we thought…

On arrival at Bondi Junction we boarded the 10am bus to Tamarama. It was full. Everyone (including us) got off at Tamarama Beach about 20 steps from the first exhibit. We weren’t the only ones there!  School kids made a big impact on the numbers. Enjoy the video below. It’s a quick look at the walk starting from Tamarama through to Bondi Beach and finishes up with lunch at the Bondi Trattoria. Lunch included a nice bottle of wine provided by Citibank. All you need is an EPTPOS debt or credit account with Citibank and use it to pay your bill and the wine is FREE! There are numerous restaurants all over Australia that are a part of the Citibank Dining program.

After leaving the “Tratt” we put our trusty Citibank Visa card away and pulled out the trusty Opal card and caught bus number 380 to Watsons Bay. The bus stop is just a few minutes walk down from the restaurant on Campbell Parade. The video below shows the bus stop and the trip through to Watsons Bay and ferry to Circular Quay

Here’s the Bondi Beach to Watsons Bay bus timetable.  But don’t be too concerned as the buses run regularly weekends and weekdays. On arrival at Watsons Bay we caught the ferry back to Circular Quay. Here’s the timetable from Watson Bay to Circular Quay ferry service (Opal).


Bundanoon railway station by night

How disappointing, when you pass by a country railway station, one you’ve known as a child, only to find the old weatherboard building has been demolished and in its place, a modern glass and steel shelter. Gone are the ticket office, the waiting room, and even the toilets. Some stations even had a signal box, you could stand there while you waited for your train and watch the signalman pull the levers back and forth. Those days have gone. Now signalmen and signalwomen sit in front of computer screens, in air-conditioned offices in the city, and control the whole rail system from a keyboard. They call it CTC or Centralised Traffic Control.

At Bundanoon on the NSW, Southern Highlands, the station master, station assistant, and signalman have long gone. But the beautiful old weatherboard station is still there. So is the signal box, which is a part of the station. Just near the station, the goods shed still stands. The station still has a waiting room, toilets, and a picture gallery of yesteryear.

A local told me that the people of Bundanoon fought hard to save their station from demolition. Not only did they save it, but the station has also been beautifully restored back to its original splendor. At night it’s a sight to see. My guess is that a lighting designer was called in to work alongside the electricians. The station is the centerpiece of the town.

Recently we were on our way to Queanbeyan for the National Morris Minor Rally, to celebrate the 70th year since the first Morrie rolled off the production line. We caught the 16:01 Opal service train (M-F) from Central to Bundanoon, arriving there at 18:29 for dinner in the local Chinese restaurant. After dinner, we explored the station, then continued our journey to Queanbeyan aboard the Sydney to Canberra service that departed at 20:17.

Bundanoon Chinese Restaurant

If you plan to catch the train and stay overnight in Bundanoon the closest accommodation to the railway station is the Bundanoon Hotel. There’s also a selection of Airbnbs and BnBs. All accommodation is popular, as Bundanoon lies about halfway between two major cities – Sydney and Canberra. So book early.

Image by Hannah Chen from Pixabay

City to Bondi Beach by ferry and bus

The usual way to travel from the city to Bondi Beach is a train to Bondi Junction, then bus to Bondi Beach.

Here’s a fun way of getting to Bondi I discovered when I visited Bondi Beach for the annual Sculpture by the Sea. There were so many people trying to board the buses for Bondi Beach from the Bondi Junction Bus/Train Interchange for Bondi Beach, the queue was a mile long. We found a bus heading out to towards North Bondi, jumped on that and walked back to the sculptures. Problem solved.

The best way to get to Bondi Beach is to take the Circular Quay to Watsons Bay ferry. The ferry trip takes 23 minutes across the harbour. Here’s the timetable:

On arrival at Watsons Bay, walk up past the Watsons Bay Hotel to the Military Rd Terminus (bus stop), which is a two minutes’ walk. From here take bus number 380 to Bondi Beach, the trip takes about 21 minutes. Here’s the complete timetable for the 380 bus route. The service runs around every 20 minutes, even on the weekends.

As a comparison, the train from Town Hall station to Bondi Junction takes 10 minutes and the bus from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach takes 12 minutes. So, overall the ferry/bus option only takes another 22 minutes and is certainly a LOT more scenic. Best Sellers | Lonely Planet Sydney | The Sydney Ferry Book

Explore Sydney: Day Trip to Ettalong via Manly, Palm Beach and Woy Woy

This trip takes you to Manly from Circular Quay, then bus to Palm Beach. From Palm Beach it’s a ferry across to Ettalong, then bus to Woy Woy and train back to Sydney.

Apart from the ferry from Palm Beach to Ettalong the rest of the trip can be done using your Opal card. The fare from Palm Beach to Ettalong aboard the FantaSea ferry is $5.90 for seniors and concession card holders and $11.80 for the rest of us. These fares are one way. Here’s the link to the fare page

Circular Quay to Manly

This trip can be done almost any time of the day. The only limiting factor is the last ferry leaves Palm Beach for Ettalong at 5:00pm and 6:15pm DLST.

May I suggest departing Circular Quay on the 10:00 am service from Circular Quay to Manly. Here’s the full Manly ferry timetable.

Manly to Palm Beach

Once you arrive at Manly the buses to Palm Beach depart from near Gordon Park just a two-minute walk from the Manly Wharf. Here’s a map.

The bus you’ll need to catch is bus number 199, Manly to Palm Beach. The service runs every 15 minutes (M-F). Here’s the full timetable.

Palm Beach to Ettalong

Alight from the bus at the Palm Beach Wharf, 1151-1153 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach. There are restaurants opposite the wharf and also a fish and chip shop if you’re feeling peckish. Here’s a map of the local area.

Fantasea Palm Beach Ferries has an office just across the road from the bus stop where you can buy your ferry tickets. Here’s the timetable for the Palm Beach to Ettalong ferry service.

Here’s a video that starts at the bus stop nearest the Palm Beach wharf, includes the trip over, a quick look around Ettalong, bus to Woy Woy and train back to Sydney.

Ettalong to Woy Woy

There is a half hourly service from Ettalong to Woy Woy (M-F) during the day. Here’s the timetable for the Ettalong to Gosford via Woy Woy bus service.

Woy Woy to Sydney

There’s a half hourly service from Woy Woy to Central.

Finally, before departure from your home or hotel, call and check with Fantasea that the ferries are running.

Have a fun day!