The Star Ferry's ferry crossings at Victoria Harbour are acclaimed as an important part of the commuter system between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and essential journeys for visitors. The National Geographic Traveler named the ferry crossing as one of 50 places of a lifetime. The ferry ride is also well known as one of the world’s best value-for-money sightseeing trips.
The Star Ferry traces its origins to 1880 when Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, a Parsee cook, embarked on a new vocation. He began a ferry service across Victoria Harbour with his steamboat, the Morning Star. The fledgling service was known as the Kowloon Ferry Company. A local newspaper reported in 1888 that the ferry ran at all hours between Pedders Wharf and Tsimshatsui on a 40-minute to one-hour trip. On Mondays and Fridays, the service halted for the boat’s coaling. By 1890, the Kowloon Ferry boasted four single-deck Star Ferries. Later on, the ferries acquired a second deck.
During the next ten years, businessman Sir Catchick Paul Chater bought all the boats and in May 1898 the Star Ferry Company, as it is known today, became a public company. Its name derives from the ferries, which all bore the name “Star”.
The Company celebrated its centenary in 1998. Its fleet of 9 ferries is now serving two franchised ferry routes between Tsimshatsui and Central,Tsimshatsui and Wanchai. In addition to ferry services, Star Ferry launched the only licensed harbour tour (Star Ferry's Harbour Tour) in Hong Kong in July 2003. The one-hour journey starts in Tsimshatsui and goes on to Central and Wanchai before returning to Tsimshatsui, allowing visitors to take in a variety of harbour views at leisure.
Starting from 12 November 2006, due to the pier relocation for Central Reclamation Phase III, Star Ferry continues its ferry services at the Central Star Ferry Pier (Central Pier No. 7). The Central Star Ferry Pier with its elegant clock tower is the re-creation of a distinctive building reinforcing the history and character of the Star Ferry with its identity as an important landmark at the new waterfront in Central.