The Classic and Wooden Boat Festival is a biennial event that pays tribute to Australia’s maritime heritage. Showcasing vessels from Sydney and around the country, the free event takes place at the Australian National Maritime Museum in the Darling Harbour.
The festival’s educational and informative displays allow patrons to immerse in the world of heritage vessels, while learning about the stories, custodians, and crafts people behind them. No other festival beats the sheer range of boats on display during the event, including skiffs, yachts, Halvorsen cruisers, steam launches, classic speedboats, and workboats from all parts of Australia. Over 100 boats are moored in the museum, and the displays may extend to other venues nearby.
Aside from boat displays, patrons are treated to other activities during the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival. Go on cruises on various Sydney Heritage Fleet boats, shop at the maritime markets, or admire the art. The museum also houses a collection of cossies from years back. The festival offers a great opportunity to learn about traditional maritime skills such as sculling, caulking, and line throwing demonstrations. Talks centred on historic and contemporary vessels are conducted by established speakers in the sailing and maritime industry of Australia as well.
There will be exciting competitions to watch or join, including boat building. Kids and young patrons will have several arts and crafts activities waiting for them at the kids’ boat shed. Children will be able to learn how to make smaller boats and even race them for a chance to win a trophy. Throughout the festival weekend, there will be live entertainment, magicians, and a jumping castle. Food, drinks, and libations will be served throughout the day, which is best enjoyed as the sun goes down over the Darling Harbour.
The Australian National Maritime Museum is located at the Darling Harbour just next to the Pyrmont Bridge. Getting here by foot is easy from the Sydney CBD; just take a leisurely stroll through the bridge or walk 10 minutes from the Sydney Fish Market. Visitors may also choose to take a car; parking is available at the Harbourside Car Park and the Star Casino Car Park. The museum is a 20-minute walk from the Town Hall Station for those coming by train. Alternatively, you can take the L1 Light Rail at the Central Station which drops you off across the museum. Patrons who want to take the scenic route via ferry can take the F4 from the Circular Quay to the Pyrmont Bay Wharf, or the F3 to Barangaroo Wharf.