Your Guide To Finger Wharf (Woolloomooloo Bay Wharf)

Disabled Access – NO

Food and Drink Options – YES

Tourist Attractions – YES

Transport Links – YES

Shopping Centre – NO

Nightlife – YES

The Finger Wharf, situated on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour east of Circular Quay, is often referred to by its location, so you may be more familiar with the name Woolloomooloo Bay Wharf. Finger Wharf is notable as being the longest timber-piled wharf in the world at a whopping 410 metres (standing on 3,600 piles) and has a long history of trade, so is something of a tourist spot in itself. You will find also several tourist hotspots by the wharf, including the Botanical Gardens and, a short walk away, the Sydney Opera House.

History

The wharf has enjoyed a long and eventful life. First completed in 1915 (when it was the largest wooden structure in the world) and built during a boom time for Sydney’s wool and maritime industries, it has drawn thousands of ships during the 70 years it spent as the centre of the city’s wool trade and the time it spent as a staging point for troop deployment during both world wars. It also acted for a while as the entry point for new immigrants into Australia. The wharf fell on hard times in the 1970s as the maritime industry began to suffer and the wood began to rot, so the local Government planned to demolish the wharf and build a new luxury resort complex in its place. However, it was saved from demolition by locals who physically blocked the entrance to the site and it was instead decided that the wharf wouldn’t be demolished, but refurbished into a boutique hotel with private residences and restaurants, which is how it remains today, with residents including film star Russel Crowe, singer Delta Goodrem and billionaire property developer Lang Walker. The hotel is currently operated by the Taj Hotel Group as the Blue Hotel.

Attractions

Whilst the wharf is, of course, regarded by many as an attraction itself, it’s location is also a short walk from the Sydney Botanic Gardens, which are amongst the most popular and luscious in the world and the oldest scientific institution in the country. Access to the gardens is completely free and as it’s immediately adjacent to the CBD (Sydney’s central business district), it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon before heading into the city. A little further west, past the gardens, you’ll also find yourself at the steps of the world-famous Sydney Opera House.

Restaurants & Bars

An array of restaurants on the ground floor of the wharf have made it one of Sydney’s top dining spots. Kingsleys Woolloomooloo is a seafood restaurant that specialises in local delicacies such as mud crab and also offers succulent grilled steaks. The drink selection is also famously vast and the atmosphere is unique and sophisticated. The Manta Restaurant offers similarly delectable seafood, with a focus on thoughtfully and locally sourced fish. Italian splendour is also available at Otto Ristorante, with its fashionable, wharf-side terrace and elegant tasting menus a favourite amongst wharf residents and locals alike. Chinese food and seasonal cocktails are also an option at the China Doll, which boasts outdoor tables with stunning city views and a gigantic, eclectic menu. For something a little less showy, you’ll find Harry’s Cafe de Wheels situated on the eastern side of the harbour by the wharf. The best kind of fast food, with decadent pies and American hot dogs and burgers, this is a very popular local eatery that has also recently gained a reputation with tourists. Critini’s is also a favourite amongst locals, serving epic portions for reasonable prices and boasting some of the best views of the wharf. If you have already eaten and simply fancy a few quiet drinks, meanwhile, the Molo Wine Bar is the perfect place to unwind with a cold glass of wine as the sun sets.