The Little Ferry Company – sailing up the Swan River
The Little Ferry company is to be found at Elizabeth Quay in Perth, Western Australia (WA.) Perth is a city on the up. Cranes stalk the skyline and new luxury hotels are going up everywhere. Central to this development is Elizabeth Quay, a brand new hub of leisure and tourism activity right on the Swan River.
From the ferry you can see the coastline and all the new developments from the perspective of the water. You can ride on a Little Ferry Company vessel up to the end of the river where it stops at Claisebrook Cove. These little ferry boats are quite special. They are custom built boutique solar electric ferries! They connect Elizabeth Quay, On The Point and Claisebrook Cove throughout the day. The skippers provide informative amusing commentary along the way.
Retro vessels but with solar powered engines
The boats carry only eleven passengers and cruise quietly and smoothly along in absolute comfort. There is no pollution from fuel emissions or smoke. The craft are very stylish in design, with a very retro 1920’s feel, but powered by a state-of-the-art, BMW electric motor.
There’s a brass bell overhanging the gangway and the boats are finished with smart red cedar trim. Marrying the Art Deco look together with practical convenience, is what makes these charming little boats quite unique. The boats were built by a contractor in Queensland, and then replicated by shipwrights in Western Australia.
The boats have solar panels on their roof. The panels charge up banks of lithium batteries which top up an overnight mains charge.
The Little Ferry Company – the jolly skippers
We settled in for our trip on the Jessica Lee, with our cheery skipper, Rory. Rory is a Perth local, and a mine of information about the city and the Swan River. He is also an accomplished player of that iconic Australian instrument the Didgeridoo. Playing a Didgeridoo is an near impossible task, but to even have a shot at it you must master the art of circular breathing. Circular breathing involves breathing in and out of your nose, while continuing to blow out of the mouth at the same time. Not easy to do.
Rory gave us a polished demonstration of his skills before we’d even pulled out of the harbour. He was able to create that iconic noise and even imitate some sounds of the Australian animals, like the dingo and the Kookaburra. Rory actually made this instrument himself which is pretty impressive. He told us about the river which is in fact an estuary, and not actually that deep. He also told us about the different types of birds such as Shags, Ibis and Egrets who live there.
An impressive structure at the centre of Elizabeth Quay is the Bell Tower. The Bell Tower is located on Riverside Drive, overlooking the water’s edge. It is one of Perth’s biggest tourist attractions. The Bell Tower has a very modernistic distinctive design. The design was chosen from entries to a major architectural competition and it has become an icon for Perth and Western Australia.
This historic ring of bells was given to the people of Western Australia as part of the national Bicentennial celebrations in 1988. Among its many attributes, the Bell Tower includes the original twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, made in Whitechapel London. These bells are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century and recast in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I. The historic bells are still regularly rung, and you can go up the tower and watch the bell ringers at work at regular intervals.
We set sail up the river past Kangaroo Island where a population of wild kangaroos live. All the kangaroos are female apparently, to avoid fighting! Marooned on their island home the rangers keep them well fed. Kangaroos can’t swim!
One of Perth’s brand new attractions is a purpose built enormous 60,0000 seater Optus sports stadium. This replaces the WACA (West Australian Cricket Association) stadium, which was getting rather old. The English have never beaten the Aussie’s at the WACA incidentally, so I guess now they never will. The new stadium is two and half times the size of the old one, and the cricket matches are now held there. Other major sporting fixtures are held there too. It also serves as a concert venue. Perth’s new Optus stadium
The Little Ferry Company – showing off the city
As a city, Perth is less than 200 years old. The amount of infrastructure built in that time is impressive. The mining boom brought wealth and prosperity to this part of Australia. It has some of the most expensive real estate to be found in the country in the swish waterside apartments here. This is home to such luminary occupants as Hank Marvin. From The Shadows.
We alighted at the end of the line at Claisebrook Cove, where we had some delicious lunch at a restaurant on the waterside. We explored this Eastern area of the city a little, and then got the free CAT bus back to Elizabeth Quay. You could go straight back on the ferry though if you wanted to do the round trip.
See Perth from the river with the Little Ferry Company
The Little Ferry Company operates two daily services; the Ferry Service and the Shuttle Service.The Ferry Service includes all three stops in its journey; Elizabeth Quay, On The Point and Claisebrook Cove. The Shuttle Service is a shorter route running directly between Elizabeth Quay and On The Point. Each journey takes approximately 30 minutes to its destination, equating to a total round trip of 2 hours.
The Shuttle Service also runs at different intervals giving you more options to travel throughout the day. We had a lovely trip with little ferries – a definitely recommended ‘thing to do’ in Perth and thanks to Rory our super skipper!
Find out routes and prices for the Little Ferry company here https://www.littleferryco.com.au/